Here are a few strategies to keep in mind when tackling this tough question.
There are no truly easy questions in a job interview, but some are trickier than others. Discussing why you left your last job—or why you want to leave your current position—is one of the more sensitive interview questions you will get asked for several reasons.
Unlike questions about your skillsets or why you want this new job—both of which set you up to discuss yourself in a positive light—asking about your departure requires you to address the aspects of your previous job with which you were potentially less than happy.
Hiring managers love this question because your answer tells them a lot. If you left on a whim or for a strange reason, it might lead them to question your loyalty to a company or commitment to your work. If you were let go, your answer will help determine if your previous position was a bad cultural fit or if they need to worry about performance or potential integrity issues. If you left on good terms, you have the opportunity to highlight your relationship management skills.
With so much at stake with a single question, it’s important to know how to answer it correctly. Below are a few strategies to keep in mind when tackling this tough question:
Stay positive. It doesn’t matter how awful your old job was or how unfair they might have been to you. Hiring managers don’t make job offers out of pity. It is inappropriate to speak poorly of previous managers, colleagues or the company. So don’t make it personal. Instead, speak broadly and stick to facts. If you’re unhappy with the direction your previous company was going, it is okay to say that, but use it as an opportunity to discuss how much you like this company’s business strategy and how your skillset will help the company achieve its goals. Doing so will highlight your business savvy and demonstrate your knowledge of the organization.