How to answer the question: “Why are you leaving your current company?”
You’re all set for your interview. Research on the prospective role done. Key talking points rehearsed. Questions prepared. Outfit planned.
And then you’re hit with the almighty: “So, why do you want to leave your current company?”
Did that question make you cringe a little? Fear not. Despite what you might think, it’s not designed to trick you. This question helps an interviewer to understand what your career goals are; what job satisfaction and employee engagement look like to you; and of course, if you’re parting with your current employer on good terms.
Robert Half offers some great tips on how to structure your answer. Here are a few of them:
MORE RESPONSIBILITY AND CAREER PROGRESSION
If you don’t have access to appropriate resources that will help you progress in your current role, it’s important to bring this to the attention of a possible new employer when sharing your reasons for leaving a job. Give examples of the kinds of skills you want to build on and tangible ways you’d like to go about doing it.
Wanting to change direction in your career doesn’t make you fickle. On the contrary, it can demonstrate determination and conviction in finding work that is interesting and meaningful to you. By outlining your career development plan and your long-term goal, your drive and commitment can shine through.
Since the pandemic hit last year, thousands of companies worldwide have had to resort to vigorous organizational restructuring. This often leads to cutbacks and a shift in team dynamics that results in employee dissatisfaction.
If this sounds like your situation, give tangible examples that illustrate why the new structure doesn’t work for you. In addition to this, it’s helpful to offer examples of what you have tried to do to improve the situation. Offering a well-informed answer like this demonstrates your problem-solving and leadership skills. It can also show that you’re a team player in the face of a challenge instead of potentially being perceived as one who jumps ship when the waters get choppy.
Of course, company restructure sometimes requires redundancies to be made. If this is the situation you have found yourself in, don’t worry. Redundancies are not usually a red flag to employers. Organizations realize that this is a normal business practice, and the past year has proven that it is often essential for the survival of the business. Make sure that you receive a reference from your line manager before you leave the organization so that this can be shared with prospective future employers. And then just be honest with your interviewer. Consider the parts of your job that you thrived in and look forward to delivering in a new role. You can also share areas where you know you would like to continue your personal development which will demonstrate your ambition to grow and learn.
For best practice, work with your career coach to create a strong, tailored response to this question if you have been made redundant so that you’re prepared for the inevitable.
WORK AND PERSONAL LIFE BOUNDARIES
This concept has come to the forefront of the corporate world in recent years. Most leaders now realize that facilitating and advocating for a balance between employees’ work and personal lives is crucial if they want an engaged and productive team. If this is your leading motivator for changing your job, focus on what you’re seeking in the long term, whether it’s remote work or flexible hours, and be prepared to explain how this benefits your way of working.
So, there you have it – some of the most common reasons why candidates change jobs and how to articulate your reason in a way that best resonates with the interviewer. Be prepared with tangible examples, no matter what your reason is. And whatever you do, avoid complaining about your current company or manager. Instead, focus on your long-term goals and the best environment for your workflow to benefit the new company.