Why did you leave your job? – how to answer and what not to say when answering this question


When you’re just sitting at your very first interview, you may not be asked this question because you haven’t yet had a job. But after you’ve already gained work experience, at all subsequent interviews you’ll receive this question. The reply to it will have a direct impact on your future work in your chosen place of work, so before you say anything, think carefully about everything you need to say and what you should leave out. So the question of what not to say when answering such a question remains very relevant. It should be said right away that employers, along with recruiters, absolutely do not like negativity, and everything is bad. So that will already put you on the right path. Speaking of job interviews and jobs, if you’re interested in finding yourself a nice job, you can try visiting the Layboard website, which has a lot of job postings from many countries around the world, giving you a high chance of finding something interesting for yourself, and applying all their acquired knowledge through experience. But even if you go to work in your own country, knowing what not to say in response to similar questions will be very useful.

The reason why HR professionals don’t like the negativity about the past job so much

As you already understood, if the candidate’s answer becomes a detailed and rather long speech on the topic, “I was an ideal employee, and was treated badly because I was envied.” This sounds absolutely unconvincing, and even somewhat dishonest. Your interlocutor may suspect that you’re manipulating the situation, since he cannot hear the other party’s version of events. In addition to the fact that such a person immediately becomes clear that they talk a lot about literally everything. Also, such behavior and such words can give the impression of a notorious person with inadequate self-esteem, who, moreover, cannot take responsibility for some of his actions. Well, in the end, each interlocutor will subconsciously expect the same words from you and addressed to him after your departure, which may adversely affect his reputation. Therefore, recruiters listen carefully to all complaints, and send such workers to look for work further. Even if your last place of work was with a terrible team and bosses, you’re interested in the new HR as an employee doing the job. And vice versa, he’s absolutely not interested in all the gossip and the underhand from the past place of work of his interlocutor, and who spoiled his life the way he did. Remember that you’re an employee and look for a new job. Therefore, the main topic of your conversation at the interview should be exactly work, and not sucky bosses.

Why can’t I just somehow avoid answering something like this?

Specialists who’re engaged in such studies about this topic think that if a person is really not prone to conflict situations and is generally a good person, then it’ll be enough for them to simply explain well all the reasons why they leave for a new job. Just the fact that the candidate has something to hide can give the idea that either this is a very closed person with whom it’s difficult to find contact and work, or this person has done something that’s now hiding and doesn’t want to talk about. That’s it, you cannot speak negatively and remain silent or avoid the question. But let’s take a closer look at what phrases can become an unacceptable answer that can cause you to fail in this job.

“At previous place of work, there were conflicts with people and employees”

If this has happened to you before, then obviously something similar will happen to you at a new job. And what employer in their right mind would want a person who’s constantly surrounded by conflicts and troubles to appear in his team. It’s easier to find a person whose conflicts won’t be on the list of reasons why you now need to change workplace.

“I never got a raise and I didn’t get promoted in my career.”

There’s a possibility that the person worked in a not very honest place, yes. But there’s also a good chance that the person didn’t perform and work well enough to get a promotion. Usually, if a person does a job well, they get what they deserve.

“I was given too much work.”

Again, a double entendre. Either the employer gave too much work to one person and was too stingy to hire another worker, or the worker was so incompetent that he couldn’t do the job properly and suffered because of it.

“My last job was boring.”

With such an answer, it’s likely that HR will be interested in what, in your understanding, an interesting job means. And you’ll have to be quite persuasive in what you say. No one wants to hire a worker for whom all jobs are boring. And besides, since your job was so boring, why did you work there?

“I quit my job because I wanted to.”

This may be the article you quit for, but it’s unlikely to be the real reason for leaving. Also, such an answer looks like avoiding a direct answer and hiding something.

This is an example of what can disappoint the employer in you, and alienate you from your candidacy. But at the opposite end of all bad things, there’s something good. And there’s something that can be said in answering this question.

“Working for this company is no longer suitable for me.”

This is a good argument, as it shows that you’re growing as a person, developing, have your own goals and directions for development, and you want your life to correspond to this. But you need to think very carefully about your answer to this question, as well as all the arguments that you’ll use in your favor. Also, in confirmation that you left your last job on a good note, you can leave their contacts so that new bosses can clarify the reasons for your departure.

“I would like to earn more than now”

This reply is considered good, since the desire to develop is never superfluous. But there’s also a risk that the recruiter will misunderstand you and think that for a couple of tens of dollars you’ll run to work in another place, which isn’t a good impression.

This is of course only a small number of examples of what could be said. In general terms, your response should be as positive and neutral as possible. It’s important to use words and phrases that will say more about the fact that you’re developing or changing something in your life, and your job change is more of a necessary measure than something that happened because of your negative qualities. It’s also highly recommended when answering to avoid unnecessary emotionality and unnecessary words. You have to talk about what you lacked in your last job as a professional who wants his career to grow and develop, and not stand still. This is a perfectly sound reason to change jobs.

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