Why Are You Leaving Your Current Job? How to Answer

Interviewing for your next job is the first step for further career advancement. Part of that mountain to climb is one of the most common job interview questions: “Why are you leaving your current job?” The answers for this can vary. For example, maybe you’re looking for a better job opportunity, or your current work environment just doesn’t align with your expectations.

Answering this kind of interview question holds just as much importance as being able to answer “why you would be a good fit for this role,” It’s key to be honest in a professional manner in your answers but, the goal is not to bad mouth anyone or the previous company. Even if leaving is emotionally charged, stick to the key facts that drove your career into a different direction. Stay positive and if possible, highlight some new skills that have been learned while in your current role.

Why Hiring Managers Ask About Your Reasons for Leaving

The purposes of this interview question may be:

  • To better understand career goals and how they may or may not have been met previously.
  • The last job may not have been challenging enough to keep up with.
  • Determining if there were characteristics that made a “bad boss” the reason for leaving.
  • To get a better understanding of how, as a candidate, you will align with their company values.

The hiring manager will use the previous job experience coupled with the reason for leaving your current job as an assessment of how much of a good fit you will be in the future.

Example Answers to Avoid

Even if there is some truth to them, try to avoid or rephrase answers like:

  • “I hate my boss.”
  • “I want more money in my new position.”
  • “Being on a team didn’t work with my skills.”
  • “I got bored with my old job.”

Even though honesty is the best policy, to answer with the above abruptness can kill what could have been a potentially great response that showed insight and passion. In every instance, there is more at play and context is needed to deliver these answers with tact and professionalism. Knowing how to frame those reasons in a positive light that can show off development and career growth a potential new employer is looking for.

Positive Sample Answers

Consider answers like:

  • “I’ve been looking for an opportunity in a new industry that will give me a fresh challenge.”
  • “My skill set has outgrown my current role and I think I can excel in this new environment.”
  • “I am looking for more responsibility and career advancement.”
  • “I want more remote work access that offers a better work life balance.”
  • “There has been a company restructuring that has affected my current position.”
  • “The environment at my current company is not motivating for me, so I’m looking for a business that better aligns with my values and needs.”

Leaving a job in search of something new can be a hard thing to justify in simple terms. Answering a tricky interview question that dives into the reasons behind the career change, though, gives insight to the new employer as to what they can expect from you as a candidate. This can also expand the dialogue to help you better gauge your fit with a potential employer, thus creating an advantageous conversation for both parties.

Check out our advice page for more career and job search insights. You can also submit your resume or browse our job listings.

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