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How to Politely Explain Why You’re Looking for a New Job

One common interview question you’re likely to encounter is why you want to leave your current job. This question can sometimes trip people up and they may answer bluntly and with a negative tone, such as saying that they dislike their current boss or co-workers, that they want more money, that their schedule doesn’t support their lifestyle, etc. While that all may be true, that’s likely not the answer the hiring manager is hoping to hear. Instead, it’s important to shift your answer to be more positive. Here are some suggestions for how to go about that so you can answer this question professionally.


Avoid Dwelling on the Negatives

It’s important to shift your perspective and answer this question in a positive manner. One way to do that is by focusing on the future and less on the past. Emphasize the type of role you want to be in and what type of work environment would help you thrive vs. what you don’t like about your current role. In an article on Indeed they say, “Even if negative experiences have informed your decision to leave a job, it’s extremely important to find a positive way to explain your desire to move on. Employers want to hire problem solvers who can work through difficult situations. Focus on the skills you learned in your current role, good relationships you may have built with your coworkers or positive interactions you had with customers or stakeholders.”


Be Specific yet Brief

Interviewers are used to canned answers such as “I’m wanting more growth opportunities” so it’s important to be more specific with your answer to help you stand out. Explain the key reason for wanting a new job and tie it to the current company and role you’re interviewing for and how that would be a better fit. Additionally, keep your answer short and to the point. In an article on Forbes, they recommend “Keep your answer short and concise, and only speak about what is most relevant. Provide enough detail to paint a clear picture, but don’t overexplain. You can actually end up doing more harm than good if you go into too much detail.”


Be Honest

While you can shift the perspective and tone of your answer from negative to positive, you must remain honest. If you were let go, that’s something you need to address vs. trying to present it like you decided to leave the company. In that case, speaking to what you learned and would do differently and taking ownership of it is a much better approach than trying to sweep it under the rug.