The Inevitable Job Interview Question: “Why Did You Leave (Are Planning To Leave) Your Last Position?” and How to Deal With It.
This is a question that you can almost count on being asked at your next interview. What the interviewer wants to know is, “Why are you available?”
The answer you give could set the tone for the rest of the interview.
For instance, if you were to indicate that you were bored or burned out at your last job, the interviewer would quickly become concerned about your performance at this company.
The question can be especially tricky if you've had less than favorable conditions regarding your departure from a company.
Regardless of the circumstances that have caused you to move, or are causing you to think about moving, you should be prepared to answer this question.
Below are examples of possible answers to this critical question. After reading them try to determine which is the strongest answer.
Have you selected the strongest answer? See if you agree with the advice below.
The Strongest Answer
1. This is the strongest answer, not because of the lay off, but because it has an upbeat tone to it. You liked what you did and were hoping it wouldn't happen.
In other words, if it hadn't been for something out of your control you would still be there. The answer indicates a good attitude about an unfortunate incident.
The Mediocre Answer
3. This is an ok answer. It is natural to want to take on more responsibility. It is also acceptable to quit a job.
A skilled interviewer would follow up with a question about your career goals and why you think you can achieve them at this company. Would you have an answer prepared for that follow-up question?
The Weakest Answer
2. This is the weaker answer because it is trite. One of the most common answers to this question is that you are “looking for a challenge.”
An interviewer might be concerned that if you were bored at your last job, you might find this job boring as well, or at least not “challenging” enough.
There are no “right” or “wrong” answers to this type of question, but there are ways of saying the same thing in a way that will make a stronger impression.
Before you head out to your next interview consider preparing for this and other difficult questions.
A little time spent preparing and scripting of your answers before the interview will make a huge difference in the way you answer the question during the interview. (Excerpts taken from “Boost Your Interview IQ” – Carole Martin – McGraw-Hill 2004)
Carole Martin is a celebrated author, trainer, and an interview coach. Her books, "Interview Fitness Training Workbook" and "Boost Your Interview IQ" (McGraw Hill) have sold thousands of copies world-wide.
Receive Carole's FREE 9-week job interview e-course by visiting her web site at: www.interviewcoach.com or www.interviewfitnesstraining.com.