“Why did you leave your last job?”
Write up your answer to the question above (a paragraph or two), and share it with your Cambly tutor to refine your answer.
Tips on how to answer…
Hiring managers want to know your motivation for wanting to leave your current job. Are you an opportunist just looking for more money or are you looking for a job that you hope will turn into a career? If you’re leaving because you don’t like your boss, don’t talk negatively about your boss–just say you have different work philosophies, Teach says. If the work was boring to you, just mention that you’re looking for a more challenging position. “Discuss the positives that came out of your most recent job and focus on why you think this new position is ideal for you and why you’ll be a great fit for their company.”
If you’ve already left your previous job (or you were fired), Sutton Fell suggests the following:
- If you got fired: Do not trash your last boss or company. Tell them that you were unfortunately let go, that you understand their reasoning and you’ve recognized areas that you need to improve in, and then tell them how you will be a better employee because of it.
- If you got laid off: Again, do not trash your last boss or company. Tell them that you were let go, and that you understand the circumstances behind their decision; that you are committed to your future and not dwelling on the past; and that you are ready to apply everything that you learned in your last role to a new company.
- If you quit: Do not go into details about your unhappiness or dissatisfaction. Instead, tell them that while you valued the experience and education that you received, you felt that the time had come to seek out a new opportunity, to expand your skills and knowledge, and to find a company with which you could grow.
Unfortunately, the company’s biggest client went out of business at the beginning of the year and that had a major effect on revenues.
As a result, they had to eliminate some positions and I was among the five most recently hired in our department. I am proud of the work that I did there, I got stellar performance reviews, and my former manager is one of my strongest references.
Why We Like It: This answer makes it clear that the candidate lost his job for reasons beyond his control. He explains that it was a matter of seniority and not performance. He also makes it clear that he can provide a glowing reference from the job to back up his claim. Reasons are provided, but the answer is still concise. Too much detail will just start to sound defensive or confusing.
- Be honest but don’t discuss conflicts with your manager or co-workers, complain about your work or employers.
- Focus on challenges that the new position provides in a way your last job didn’t
- It’s perfectly fine to personal preferences like a recent or planned move, financial instability at your organization or other reasons that are true.
After some management changes, it became clear that the new department director had new expectations for the role that didn’t really mesh with my strengths. Ultimately, she decided to bring in someone from her previous organization who had more sales experience.
The experience taught me that my real talent is in customer service and I know I would be a major asset in a role like this one, which focuses on improving the customer experience. Would you like me to tell you more about my experience in that area?
Why We Like It: The answer is concise and the language is neutral. The situation is described without negativity or defensiveness. The candidate then cites a lesson learned and redirects attention to her strengths.