Easy answers to one of the interview's most difficult questions: "Why are you leaving your current position?"
At some point during the interview, you’re going to get the question: “So, why are you leaving your current job?” Of course, you need to be honest, and, of course, you’re leaving for a reason… so what should you say? No matter what the reason, you must find a way to translate the truth into a tactful and positive response.
Why are interviewers asking you this question? Because they can learn a lot about you from your response. For instance, are you leaving for a good reason? Were you let go, or did you leave voluntarily? And did you leave on good terms? You’ll also be tipping them off about your personal work ethic.
If you left on a whim, they might be wondering if you’re dependable and if you’ll be a loyal employee. If you were let go, was it a performance issue, or was it a question of your integrity? If you’re using your former boss as a reference, that says volumes about the fact that you were a great employee and have stayed in touch you’re your former colleagues. And, does your answer make them wonder if you’re a hard worker who felt underappreciated, or if you’re difficult to work with.
So, here are some ways to state the truth and still get your point across in the interview, depnding on why you're leaving your current job:
1. If your boss is crazy and you can’t take it anymore: Bear in mind that the interviewer may relate more closely to your boss than to you – so don’t make the mistake of bad-mouthing him/her. Instead, explain how your current job has been a great learning experience and you feel you’ve reached the point where you are looking for new opportunities.
2. If you want to make more money: Everyone wants to make more money, but maybe you don’t want to be that blunt. You might need to say that you’ve developed a strong set of skills at your current job and have enjoyed working with your team. However, you’re now ready to join a company that values those skills and where you can develop them more fully.
3. If you feel like it’s time to get promoted and you’ve been overlooked: Here’s where you can explain that you’re ready for the next challenge in your career. You can mention that you’re very comfortable in your current position, but you want to continue to grow and not just sit back and coast.
4. If you simply don't like your current job: Maybe it’s just a crappy job and you’ve tried everything you can think of to make it better and nothing has worked. Turn this into a positive by sharing that you were initially excited to take on this job, but after being there a while, you realized that you were not a good fit with the culture there. Now, you are more aware of that aspect and are looking for a position in a company where you can really make an impact.
All of these sample responses have something in common: they offer a positive view on what you’re hoping to “move toward” and not “run away from.” Also, they show that you’re looking forward to improving your skills, challenging yourself and contributing to the company. In other words, it’s not all about you, but it’s about “us.” That makes you a much more attractive candidate to the interviewer and will go a long way toward making a strong, confident impression.