A common interview question you’re likely to encounter is why you’re looking for a new position. Hiring managers ask this question because they want to see how you’ll answer this question and if there are any reg flags they should be aware of. The best approach to answering this question is to be honest but also diplomatic and professional. You shouldn’t use this as a time to speak negatively about your past role/company but to instead use this as an opportunity to show why the role you’re interviewing for is a perfect fit for you. Here are some suggestions for answering this question in a positive way.
Speak of Your Skills
While you may be wanting the new role in large part because of the higher salary or potential of a better work-life balance, that isn’t the recommended answer you should give. Instead, you should speak of your skill set and how you’re looking for a role that would allow you to better use your skills and abilities. In an article on Indeed, they say, “This can be a good opportunity to talk about what differentiates you from other candidates. This includes any extra work you’ve done, projects you’re proud of or even extra education you’ve completed that shows the value you’ll bring to their team.” The hiring manager is interested in how you’ll add value to the company, so you’ll want to use this as an opportunity to further explain your skills and knowledge.
Tie Your Answer to the Company
You’ll also want this answer to be specific to the job/company. Instead of just having a stock answer, tie it to how this role at this company means something to you. This is where researching the company ahead of time comes in. On most company websites you’ll be able to find their goals, vision, and mission; use that knowledge to your advantage. Include in your answer what excites you about this role and why, out of all the companies you could be interviewing with, this one is meaningful to you.
Talk About Your Long-Term Goals
Speak about how you see yourself growing with the company and how your career growth goals would align with the position. In an article on The Muse, they say, “Hiring people means investing in them, and no one likes to see his or her investment walk out the door. If it works with the flow of your answer, it might be good to mention how you see growing or building your career at a company that’s the right fit.” You want to give the impression that you’re planning on staying at the company for a while so the hiring manager feels it would be a good investment hiring you.
Perhaps, most importantly, when answering this question, you want to stay positive. As mentioned above, one of the reasons hiring managers ask this question is to look for red flags such as if you’re leaving your last position on good terms, what kind of team player you are, and generally how you speak of your former employer. Speak of your skills, goals, and excitement for the new role, vs. why your last role didn’t work.