Leaving a job can often be a very difficult decision to make. While it opens up new possibilities, it also causes uncertainty that may be daunting to many. As such, it is key to understand exactly why you want to leave your current job and how to articulate it properly.
While the reasons can vary greatly, having a clear understanding of your specific reasons will benefit you in interviews. Your reasons may be anything from lack of appreciation to bad relationships with managers. However, you need to be able to present these reasons with tact and without overt hostility. The objective is to share your point of view clearly without shifting blame or sharing irrelevant details as to why you’ve decided to change jobs.
So what exactly is a good reason for leaving your job and how do you explain it to recruiters and hiring managers during interviews? Through this blog, I want to share insights to help you tackle this question and structure your answer.
Reasons for Leaving a Job
There are many reasons why you may be looking for a new role, at the current time during the pandemic you may; like a lot of other people, have been made redundant. Other reasons for leaving a job may be
- Moving to a new city
- Looking for promotion
- Wanting to learn new skills
- Changing careers
- Your current salary is not competitive and you’re looking for better pay
- The company that you work for is restructuring and your role is at risk
- Family reasons / health reasons
- Moving home
- Your partner has relocated
- Your current company does not offer sufficient flexibility
It’s widely recognized that the most common reason employees leave is because of a poor relationship with their direct line manager. We’ve all heard the saying – People don’t leave companies, they leave managers.
While talking to your current employer about your intentions to leave, having the right reasons will help make the process simple. It is best to not burn any bridges while giving your reasons. If you are talking to your boss about this, be direct and honest. It will also help if you show appreciation for something that your boss has done for you in the past, irrespective of the present state of your relationship or their competence.
Being clear about the reasons that you want to leave your current job, are perhaps more important while interviewing for a new position than while talking to your current employer. Your reasons and how you present them can have a direct impact on your chances of gaining employment at a new firm.
How to explain your reasons for leaving a job
An interviewer is very likely to ask about reasons for leaving your current job. It is one of the common interview questions you must always be prepared for. It is akin to the question of ‘tell me about yourself’ from an interview, in that it helps gauge your professional journey and how it may help their company. Your answer to this question may be used by the interviewer to understand your intentions and career goals and how they align with their company.
Honesty is the best strategy in this scenario as well – dishonesty being a trait that hiring managers would not want to be associated with any candidate. The results of this study supports this notion that honesty, rather than perfectionism, is more effective in an interview. While giving your reasons, combine honesty with respect, and the aforementioned abstinence from blaming others – and you’ve got a winning formula.
While these tips would be useful while presenting your reasons for leaving your job, it would also be helpful to understand some examples of reasons for leaving a job. Good and bad examples will help you understand which reasons to focus on while talking to an interviewer.
Top 3 Reasons for leaving a job – Good examples
1 You are looking for career growth
Interviewers will respond positively to see ambition in a candidate’s career plan. Therefore, if you find a lack of opportunities to grow with your current employer, you have a positive, professional reason to leave.
Present this reason without blaming any individual or the company – simply state that your ambitions are greater than or different from what they can offer. Looking for career growth shows you have a plan for your career and that you are willing to work for it – both positive traits that hiring managers will be attracted to.
2 You want a career change
You may have read the signs that it’s time to change your career or you may have planned it for a long time. Either way, wanting to change careers is a valid and an acceptable reason for leaving a job. This reason is especially valid if your current employer cannot offer you a position that aligns with the new direction you are taking with your career. This communicates to the interviewer that you are decisive and focused on where you want your career to go. It presents you in a positive light as a motivated professional who does not lack direction in their career.
3 You want to switch to another industry sector
You may be unhappy working in the industry you are presently employed in. There are many reasons that may cause this – anything from the business practices prevalent in the industry to the hours you may be required to work because of its nature. Irrespective of what the reason may be, it is best not to go into too much detail here.
For example, A common transition that is happening today for example, is from the fossil fuel industry to renewables. If you are presenting this reason, make sure it helps your case in the interview. Your skills from the present industry you are working in must be transferable to what you are interviewing for. Understanding how to create a transferable-skills based CV will also be useful in this case.
The covid pandemic has decimated many industries, for example retail, hospitality, and the airline sectors have been particularly hard hit and are unlikely to recover quickly. Explaining your decision to change career in this context is perfectly understandable.
Top 3 Reasons for leaving a job – Bad examples
1 You are bored at your current job
While boredom is an actual reason why many employees leave their positions, it is not a good reason to present to your current or future employers. It makes you seem unprofessional and a higher risk due to potentially being high maintenance.
You also run the risk of being viewed as unprofessional or unmotivated by the interviewer. These are not traits you would want to be associated with during an interview. Even if boredom is one of your reasons for leaving, it is best to gloss over it and discuss others that are less likely to harm your chances in an interview.
2 You are performing poorly
It is possible that you are performing poorly in your current position. This may have put your job security at risk and that may be why you are looking to leave your current job. There may even be other reasons that are causing your poor performance.
Regardless of what the reasons may be, it is inadvisable to present this reason to your present employer or an interviewer. Using this reason may adversely impact your chances of landing a position or make you seem incompetent. While employers will value honesty, your chances can be hurt by giving away too many details, which is what presenting this reason would be.
3 You don’t like working with your coworkers
You may have had to learn how to work with coworkers you don’t particularly like. And this may even be a strong reason for you wanting to leave your current job. However, this is one reason you should absolutely not use in an interview.
Presenting this reason runs the risk of making you seem unsociable and difficult to work with, regardless of what the reality may be. Interviewers will value your ability to work with people in the organisation and using this reason will hurt your chances. It may also seem like you are blaming others for your struggle, which is not what you want to do in an interview.
How to identify a good or bad reason
So how do you tell what is a good or bad reason to leave a job? A good reason to leave a job has the following characteristics :
- It is honest and based only on the truth – Dishonesty in an interview is a massive red flag that will cause interviewers to want to stay away from you.
- It doesn’t contain any unnecessary details – While honesty is important, it is best not to go into too much detail. Keep the reasons short and clear, unless more information is requested.
- It does not make you seem unprofessional – Professionalism will be valued by your interviewer and you must communicate it while presenting your reasons for leaving the current job.
- It does not disrespect your former/current employer(s) – Respect in the workplace will be valued by interviewers. You may be telling the truth, but make sure you don’t present your reasons in a way that will indicate a lack of respect to your former/current employer
- It does not blame anyone else – Blaming others may seem like an easy option to take. However, it may be viewed as a lack of willingness to take responsibility.
With these tips you can make sure the reasons for leaving that you present in your next interview will have a positive impact on your career.
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