This Week in Career Advice: “Tell Me Why You’re Leaving Your Current Job”

For such a commonly asked interview question, answering why you’re leaving your current role can be one of the most difficult and uncomfortable questions to address. Perhaps there’s bad blood at your office, or you were recently fired. How exactly can you address those scenarios without disqualifying yourself as an attractive candidate? 

Being honest about your reasons for switching jobs and never bad-mouthing your former employer is key, according to Monster’s career advice expert, Mary Ellen Slayter. She suggests remaining calm and unemotional while recounting your professional history in an interview and keeping things cordial to avoid the impression that you’ll speak negatively of them when the time comes. 

What to Say When You Hate Your Current Job

While leaving your job on good terms is the absolute best case scenario for anyone to have to explain, it’s not always the case. Oftentimes you’re leaving your job because you loathe your current company or direct manager. In this case, Slayter suggests: 

In this situation, the advice to “be honest” and “don’t bad-mouth” in your answer can seem contradictory, and pulling it off requires some soul-searching ahead of time. First, try to muster up a kind, true statement about your employer. Then, consider what you’ve learned from this disappointing work situation. Bonus points if you can loop in why the position at hand will be a better match.

What to Say When You Were Terminated

Perhaps the most difficult scenario to address is a recent firing. In this case, Slayter believes you shouldn’t shy away from the answer, but change gears and focus on the learning experience.

Again, reflect on what you learned from the experience, and plan to work those lessons into your answer. “I don’t need you to sugarcoat it for me,” Slayter says. “I want to hear what you learned and why you are going to be a better employee now than before you got fired.”

How to Answer ‘Why Are You Leaving Your Current Employer?’ in an Interview | U.S. News and World Report

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