How to Answer Why Did You Leave Your Last Job

Even as you’re reading this article, people around the world are leaving their jobs for various reasons. At the same time, some are appearing for an interview while others are seeking new employment opportunities. Maybe you’re one among them.

Regardless which above categories you fit in, be prepared to respond properly to the question: “Why did you leave your last job?” at an interview, during your job search.

Personally, I’ve observed this question pops up at most interviews unless you’re applying for an extremely senior position.

Why did you leave your last job

Why Interviewers Ask Reason for Leaving Your Last Job?

There’re good reasons a new employer asks why did you leave your last job.

According to a survey by LinkedIn, employees in America change their jobs at least 15 times during their career and working life.

Career growth, higher salary, seniority, and job dissatisfaction rank among some key drivers of such job changes.

Another LinkedIn survey clearly indicates different patterns about job changes, based on age, educational qualifications and locations

Therefore, leaving your job for any reason isn’t something new, unique, strange or abnormal. Instead, it is an essential part of career and professional growth as well as personal development.

However, an interviewer will ask reasons for leaving a job to gain vital insights about your career objectives, interest in the profession, and overall personality.

Hence, it’s highly essential to respond to this question in an appropriate manner, which may help you feature on the hiring shortlist.

Answering Why Did You Leave Your Last Job

Actually, there’re several ways to answer this complex yet simple question. Most of us could be tempted to read any of those set answers that are found commonly on the Internet.

But let me warn you against using these kinds of readymade answers: interviewers can tell the difference immediately.

They know whether you’re responding from your own thought and intelligence or merely reciting an answer found online.

Instead, use any of these five different ways I describe, to answer your reason for leaving your last job at an interview.

1. First Time Job Change

Should you be changing job for the first time, there’s good chance that an interviewer would ask why did you leave your last job.

If you’re applying for work at an organization that’s larger and more prestigious than the one you’re working with, the answer would be obvious.

In such cases, simply state that you left-or are leaving- your job for better prospects the new employer offers.

However, if you’re leaving for a company that isn’t all that large or almost similar to your past or present employer, such an answer would sound suspicious.

In such cases, you can respond by saying that you’re looking for growth opportunities and diversification of your experiences, which isn’t possible with the present or past employer.

2. If You’re Unemployed

Explaining good reasons for leaving your last job can be much trickier if you’re currently unemployed.

That’s because the interviewer will want to know why did you choose joblessness rather than continuing to work with the past employer? Unless you are very cautious with your answer, there’re high chances you won’t get this job too.

In such scenarios, the best response would be that you needed a sabbatical from your last job.

Point out that you were working there only to gain the skills necessary for your career and profession. And you left the job after fulfilling this purpose.

If the last job was temporary or the employer shut business or relocated, the answer to this question is much simpler.

The toughest part comes if you were terminated from the last job for any reason. In such cases, it is best to be honest and inform the interviewer that you were terminated and the exact reasons for losing the job.

This might sound absurd. But your honesty would definitely impress the interviewer and help get the new job.

3. Better Pay & Perks

Often we apply for a new job hoping to earn a higher salary and perks. This is perfectly fine. After all, everyone wants high paying jobs to improve their living standards, provide for the family, and save for the retirement.

In fact, higher pay and perks ranks as the third biggest reason why people leave last jobs.

Just for your information, the first and second reasons why people leave jobs are lack of appreciation by employers and hostile working conditions respectively.

If higher pay and perks are the reasons, remember this before you answer the question about reasons for leaving a job. Tell your interviewer that you’re looking for financial stability and growth.

Enumerate reasons such as wanting to provide and afford a better life for the family. This indicates you’re a responsible person- which is a highly desirable trait in an employee.

By highlighting your financial ambitions as the primary cause of leaving your last job, you’re also informing the employer that you’ll provide excellent services provided the price is right. It signifies confidence in your skills and abilities.

4. Relocation or Migration

A lot of people leave or are ready to leave jobs because they wish to relocate within the country or migrate temporarily or permanently to another country.

In such cases, answering why you left or wish to leave a job can prove slightly difficult to answer. You’ll require strong reasons to justify relocation and migration.

If you’re looking to relocate, explain genuine reasons why you wish to work at that place. It could be for any pressing reason.

Maybe you wish to be closer home or join relatives, study a course at some college or university there or believe that place better suits your needs.

In such instances, be very precise about why you’re looking for a job that requires relocation.

Migration is another ballgame altogether. That’s because a company has to ensure you’re capable of working in a foreign country and serving the organization’s needs.

Additionally, there’s also a financial part of migrating to another country: your pay can rise exponentially since employers have to pay salaries that suit the costs of living there and conform to their wage rules.

If the job you’re applying helps you migrate, you would have to answer the question on how you’re qualified to work in the foreign country.

5. Job Change for a Change

As the LinkedIn researches prove, a lot of people leaving their jobs simply because they find there’re no more career growth available with a specific employer.

That they’ve invariably outgrown the place and there’s not much scope for professional or financial growth.

Unfortunately, mentioning these reasons while answering why did you leave your last job can send wrong signals to the interviewer. They may misinterpret it as a denigration of the past employer.

However, the safest way to answer this question is by saying that you wish to acquire more skills by working with different companies.

Emphasize that you give a lot of importance to fine tuning your skills and getting diverse work experiences.

This would work wonders since every employer looks for candidates that are constantly looking at upgrading their own skills to help at work, which indirectly results in profits for the company.

In Conclusion

As I conclude, I’ll add that these five types of answers are sure to satisfy every interviewer for the reason for leaving a job. Therefore, adapt your answers based on the above guidelines.

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