The reason you’re seeking a new job is typically covered in job interviews.
When applying for a new job or quitting your existing one, you may be asked to justify valid reasons for leaving the job.
So better to prepare ahead as time allows you to provide a clear and succinct response while also assisting your employer in understanding your future goals.
This article discusses different approaches to answering this awkward question on job change, as well as a few sample reasons for leaving job to help you grasp an interviewer’s perspective on job change.
Reasons for Leaving a Job During an Interview
- You Have Been Fired
This one is a little more difficult than the others.
Let me begin by noting that being fired is OK. A lot of folks have been fired out there.
In other circumstances, you’re dismissed through no fault of your own: the management didn’t like you, or the expectations for your position were unrealistic.
Even if that’s not the case, you can still make a convincing argument for why your next employer should hire you if you learn from your mistakes and from your experience at the firm that dismissed you.
What is not acceptable is lying about why you were dismissed (or about being fired in the first place).
In the case that you are dismissed, here is how you should respond to the job interview question:
I was dismissed because there was a misalignment between the work and my understanding of it. I anticipated the post to be more focused on graphics (which I excel at), but instead I ended up doing a lot of UX/UI work, which isn’t necessarily my strong point, nor is it what I want to pursue with my career. As a result, I underperformed in the position, and management just did not like my work.
- You Were Laid Off
Yes, it is OK to be forthright about this.
Layoffs happen, and in many circumstances, you have little influence over them.
Perhaps your company was purchased and the buyer wanted to downsize. Or perhaps the company’s income dropped drastically due to external circumstances, forcing them to decrease expenditures.
In any event, it’s OK to inform the interviewer.
Here’s how you should respond to the interviewer:
The project I was working on was cancelled, and because the firm had no openings in other projects, they had to let me go. Having said that, I’m still extremely tight with the executive team at Company X, and if you need references, I can provide them.
- The Company’s Dynamics Have Changed (In a Bad Way)
Companies, like individuals, evolve throughout time.
Perhaps you were working at your ideal firm, but once it combined with another, things were no longer the same.
Perhaps a new management team took over and entirely altered the corporate culture.
Whatever the case, it’s a completely reasonable cause to quit your employment.
So, if that’s why you changed employment, respond to the interview question as follows:
After the new management took over, the firm became very autocratic, which I personally didn’t like.
You do not need to memorise your interview response word for word. Just make sure you seem confident and easygoing, and that you cover all of the important topics when you explain why you left your prior position.
These are the dos and don’ts of answering the question “why did you quit your previous job?” in any interview.
Choose one of the appropriate responses above for why you left your previous job, avoid the pitfalls we just discussed, and you’ll wow the interviewer in a good way.