• By Check-a-Salary
  • Posted Sunday 08 th March 2020

Why do you want to leave your current job?

Many people in an interview will be unsure how to answer this common question, “Why do you want to leave your current job?” 

It can be an awkward question to answer - in fact, it can be one of the trickiest questions to answer. This, and other questions with negative connotations, should be handled with care. 

It’s, of course, crucial that you convey the truth, but you must also be careful in how you position your response.

Firstly, make sure you don’t undermine your bargaining position. Changing jobs can provide the opportunity to secure a higher salary and you are in a stronger position to do this if you are currently in employment.

Make sure you are clear about what you want to say regarding your position in the job market and how pro-active you are about seeking a new role. 

The point is, don’t suggest that you are desperately looking to change jobs and are searching day and night for a new role, but equally, don’t be too cool! Many candidates have ruined their chances of receiving job offers by not showing enough interest in the company and appearing to be arrogant. So be positive about their company, the role on offer and be clear about your credentials, your suitability and why you are a good candidate.

Another mistake that people frequently make when asked the question “why do you want to leave your current job” is to speak poorly and negatively about their current employer. This is a dreadful mistake as it shows a lack of respect, a lack of integrity and a lack of loyalty - all of which are traits that employers will take a dim view of.

But don’t dodge the question…

Acknowledge the positive aspects of your time with your current company. For example, share with the interviewer that it is been a great place to work and that you have been able to learn new skills. Give examples of how you applied your skills and provide insight into the success it brought the company and how it has helped you to develop, thus making you a more compelling potential candidate now.

It will give you the chance to explain how you strive for more and how you have developed in your current job. This may give you the opportunity to talk about promotions that you have received and will also give you the chance to talk about the confidence, knowledge and career progression you have had, showing the interviewer how you have evolved.

A good reason why you might be looking to move to a new company might be that you seek more responsibility, or that you wish to work on specific projects or work in a certain industry or that you are keen to improve your skills further.

By focusing on the positive aspects of leaving you will come across as the type of person that an employer would like to recruit. 

Hopefully, you will have extensively researched the company and from this research, you can take the question back to your suitability for the position and use this as the platform to build your story.

You should now be on the way to talking about things that excite you like, career progression, winning clients, technology, managing people, employee wellbeing and so on. 

Reasons why you leave a job

There are many reasons why you may leave a job, and putting thought to the specific reason/s which apply to you could help you in an interview.

Below are some examples of why you may leave a job:

  • You’d like to earn more money
  • You haven’t received a pay increase
  • You haven’t hit your target
  • You haven’t been promoted
  • You have been demoted
  • Your company aren’t investing in training
  • Your company have been acquired
  • There is new management
  • The company went out of business
  • You feel undervalued 
  • You want to work in a different industry
  • You don’t agree with the company’s values
  • You would like a new challenge
  • You want a job with better career growth opportunities
  • You had to leave due to family or personal reasons
  • You work too many hours
  • You are relocating
  • You want to work in a new industry
  • Culturally, the company isn’t right for your personality
  • You want a better opportunity. 
  • You had to leave for health reasons that have since been resolved.
  • You were made redundant


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