One interview question that you are almost certain to be asked if you are applying for jobs when you currently have a job is, “Why do you want to leave your job?”
On the surface this question may not seem difficult, but if you haven’t appropriately prepared for it, it could trip you up. This seemingly innocuous question is meant to ferret out any potential problems. If you haven’t thought through your response to this question, you could inadvertently blurt out something that will damage your candidacy.
Here are a few examples:
The organization is really behind the times. They aren’t up on technology.
Read: I don’t respect my company, and I am not loyal. I will tell another company, even a competitor, that my company is not current.
Even if the company that you are interviewing with is current with technology, they will probably view the above statement as an indictment against you more than against your current employer. It doesn’t show that you are a team player if you speak against your company.
That company is penny pinching. They’re not paying me what I’m worth.
Read: I have a chip on my shoulder. I think I’m being underpaid, and my attitude reflects that.
It may well be true that your company is not paying you what you are worth, but that is not a compelling reason for another employer to hire you. Also, by saying that you are ready to jump ship because of pay, you are again indicating a lack of loyalty which could be perceived negatively by the employer that you are interviewing with.
Your company has tuition reimbursement, and I want to further my education.
Read: I’ll only stay long enough to take advantage of the tuition benefit, and then I’m gone.
Even though the tuition benefit is a good reason for you to take the job, it’s not a strong reason for the employer to bring you on board. Employers want to know that you will be a good hire and that you want the job for its own sake.
All of the responses above to the question about why you want to leave your current position will sound very negative to potential employers. You want to give the interviewer a positive reason for wanting to leave your current organization, not a negative one. And you want to make sure that what you say doesn’t sound totally self-serving.
Here are some positive responses to the question about leaving your current company:
- I mastered the position that I was in, and now I am ready to move on to a new challenge.
- This new position will give me the opportunity to build on my current skill set and learn some new skills as well.
- I’m really excited about working for your organization because I read your mission statement, and I feel that it is a great match between what your organization is focused on and what I see as my personal mission.
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