“Why are you leaving your current job?”

by | 24.03.22

“Why are you leaving your current job?” is one of the most common job interview questions. If you are leaving or have left your job without a solid reason, chances are you might do the same in the job you’re applying for. Replacing an employee takes time, effort and money so it makes sense for the prospective employer to be sure that you are not going to be leaving them without a valid reason shortly after joining. So, what is a good reason to give for leaving? Well, I’m about to answer that question…

The job did not align with your career goals

Even though you love the job you are in you’ve discovered that it just doesn’t align with your career goals. You have a career target, and you know that in order to achieve it you need to move on. Maybe you have learned everything you can from your current role and have stopped growing as a professional. Whichever the case is it is perfectly acceptable to tell a potential employer this. At the same time make sure you stress that the job you are applying for meets all your career objectives.

You are looking for an opportunity to progress you career

You may feel you have outgrown your current role and employers will like the fact you are proactive enough to look for a new opportunity as long as you have applied for a job which is a step up. The role you are attending an interview for should have more responsibility. Do not imply that you didn’t progress in your last job because you didn’t chase opportunities. Also never imply that your current employer is holding you back. Just stress the fact that you are ambitious and want to move your career forward.

Your employer has restructed, and things have changed

Companies grow and evolve, and internal dynamics change as a result. If you are leaving because there have been radical changes within your current organisation focus on the positive of the situation. Try not to appear resentful or suggest that you are unwilling to try to adapt. It could also be that because of covid your employer has had to let a large number of staff go and your role has changed completely and perhaps is not going in the direction you want it to go therefore you feel the need to move on.

You aren’t enjoying the job anymore

A new employer will be impressed by your motivation to find a job you enjoy, and which fulfils you. After all satisfied employee is a productive one. Just make sure you don’t blame your lack of enjoyment on your employer. Explain that you have gone as far as you can in the role and it’s not giving you the buzz and the satisfaction that it once did. Stress that you feel that the role you have applied for will be something that you feel you will be happy in, and it will provide you with the job satisfaction you need.

You wanted to pursue other goals

This is a good reason to give if you had a break from the workplace. It could be you decided to return to education in order to obtain further qualifications, or maybe you took time out of the workplace in order to go travelling. These reasons are acceptable but make sure when you give them you always focus on your professional development. For example, if you left your last job to travel the world focus on your discovery of different cultures and the life lessons you  learned on the way. Don’t mention the nightly beach parties you attended in Thailand.

Your current role is part time, and you want a full-time role

Whatever your reason for working on a part time basis going full time will definitely interest a prospective employer. To satisfy an employer they want a positive reason for you wanting a full-time job so be honest about this. It could be that you have been working whilst studying, it could be you had family commitments, try not to mention childcare as this is telling a prospective employer to much about yourself. Wanting a full-time job however is a really good reason for leaving your current one.

You want more flexibility

Perhaps you work odd hours and are looking for a more traditional nine to five job, or maybe you have family responsibilities that mean you need a flexible employer who offers either flexible working hours or a hybrid role offering a mixture of office work and working from home. Be careful how you explain your reason for wanting flexibility because you don’t want a prospective employer to think you won’t be a dedicated employee. Emphasize your ability to manage your time well and how committed you are.

You want a local job

Currently you are working in central London and want to stop commuting and now would like to work more local to home. This is a very good reason for changing jobs. Any potential employer will understand this, they will appreciate that a good work/life balance is essential to maintain happy, productive employees. So, shout this reason for leaving with pride, everyone will understand it.

You are being made redundant

Well, if you are being let go by current employer why wouldn’t you be looking for a job? Being made redundant is not nice for anyone and looking for a new job is the natural thing to do. Any employer you approach will understand that you need to get a new job. The only danger in being made redundant is that you may be tempted to jump at the first job you are offered, there are lots of job opportunities out there so you can afford to take your time and be as selective as you like.

Dynamics have changed in your current company

Like people companies tend to change overtime. Maybe you were working in your dream company but after it merged with another company things weren’t the same or maybe there is a new management team, and the company culture has changed. Whatever the reason is that dynamics have changed in your current place of work it’s a very valid reason for leaving a job.

The job is not as explained at interview

You find what you believe is the PERFECT job, its challenging, interesting, has a competitive salary and amazing benefits. But the job does not live up to expectations, things are not as you imagined or as you were told. The tasks you’re doing are boring, interesting and unrelated to where you want your career to go: The supervisor is micromanaging you and the company culture is not good. This is a valid reason for leaving a job, just explain it carefully.

So, there you go, these are good and acceptable reasons for leaving your current job. Saying you hate your boss, your colleagues stink or you’re paid peanuts are not good reasons. You will be asked “why are you leaving” may times during your job search. Firstly you will be asked it if you have to complete a job application form , you  will also be asked during the interview and of course you will be asked it when you hand in your notice by your current employer, therefore it is important that you have thought things through and know exactly how to answer this question.

Good Luck

Angela Burton