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How To Answer: Why Did You Leave Your Last Job?

“Why did you leave/are leaving your last job?

A popular question you will need to prepare for before your interview. This is because the interviewer wants to understand your rationale for leaving your previous position and why you are pursuing a new role. Whether your real reason was a positive or negative one it is important you prepare an answer that will reflect you in a professional light.

Perfecting your response

If you are not prepared for this question it could result in you revealing a little too much information. Be careful you don’t treat this question as a chance to express any issues you had at your last job. The interviewer is not there to listen to any problems and may not look favourably upon this. For example, if you left a previous role due to a disagreement with management, when mentioning this in the interview it puts you at risk of being perceived as a problem candidate. Therefore it is important prior to the interview you are aware of why you left and how this can be used to ensure you are perceived well.

Choose to reflect in your answer the rationale for leaving your previous job and how it led to you choosing to apply for the new role. As it shows you believe you are better suited towards the potential new job and that previous employment taught you this.

What to avoid

Don’t make it personal. Badmouthing your previous employer, boss or coworkers is unacceptable and is something you must avoid at all costs. It’s unprofessional and the hiring manager will make the assumption you are someone who cannot work well with others. They may also presume you are someone who is incapable of taking direction from more senior staff members. Which will result in you being marked as a problem candidate and ultimately a person they don’t want to hire.

Examples

“Although I enjoyed my previous role I now feel I have gained all I can from it. There were no opportunities to progress and this is why I am seeking new employment.”

“I left my previous job because my responsibilities gradually transpired into something that was not my original role requirements. Therefore I felt I was not utilising my full potential and eventually the role became so different I decided to move on.”

“I am seeking a new job that requires more responsibility, with projects that I can really sink my teeth into. This is why I chose to apply for this role because I believe this is what it can offer me.”

“My previous role specifically focused on using analytical skills and was very limited to this. I applied for this role because I am looking for something that is not only analytically based but will also offer the opportunity to work on other areas within Digital Marketing. To which I think this potential role can provide me.”

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6 Comments

  1. LankaQualityJobs

    This article covers a tricky question that may be decide your career opportunity. This article will be a great help for people who looking for new job and don’t have the perfect for this question. Thanks for sharing, keep them coming. Cheers.

  2. Dennis

    Why you left your last job is one of the most stressful questions in the interview. Employers want to choose web developer that is reliable and competent. Making sure you sound like a good worker is key. Those examples are really smart too. Wanting to challenge yourself and move on is normal in work.

  3. deepika

    Great article!
    I have had an interview last week and recruiter asked me the same question but i was actually confused in what to answer exactly as it was my first interview.However, after reading this blog, I came to know as to what exactly is expected as an answer.Now, I am able to answer this question with ease.I shared this with my friends and my followers as it’s really great stuff to share! Keep up the good work

  4. Nicola newton

    what would i say if a firm went into liquidation

    1. bubble

      Hi Nicola,
      Be honest and explain what really happened. Liquidation isn’t your own personal fault so the interviewer should have no issue with this!

  5. Dave Thorn

    This article totally ignores and fails to help anyone who’s answer is going to be…”Because I was sent to prison.”

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