Are you about to start looking for a new job or are you currently attending interviews? You’re probably going to get asked a range of interview questions, but there’s one interview question in particular that can seem a little difficult to answer - “why did you leave your last job?”
It can be easy for this question to steer your interview into a negative space, but the truth is, that no matter what your reason for leaving a job is, you can present it in a positive light. Want to know how? Here are some hints and tips to answer this question confidently, no matter what your reason is, to show hiring managers why you’re a great fit for the role.
Reason for job change: You were made redundant
This should be a pretty easy explanation as it shouldn’t be a reflection of your past performance. Just ensure that you give some background and explain why you were made redundant. For example, the company was downsizing and making a whole lot of people redundant across multiple departments; the company’s strategy was changing; the location of the company was changing etc.
It’s important that you explain the situation calmly and with a positive mindset. If you sound like you’ve taken this very personally, you could come across as bitter, which is a bit of a red flag for any potential employer.
Reason for leaving: you were fired
This one is a little bit tougher to answer if you were fired, but there’s no trickery that can be used here - you’ve just got to be honest and with a little bit of tact. There’s no point lying, because if you get caught out, that could make things very awkward and ruin your chances of actually getting the role.
There’s a lot to be said for people who just tell the truth - so explain the circumstances, take responsibility and make sure you can show how the experience has helped you grow into a better person. Making mistakes isn’t so bad, as long as you can show you’ve learned from it. One thing you shouldn’t do is bad mouth your old boss, company, or colleagues.
Reason for leaving: you disliked the company, your colleagues, the culture etc
Disliking the company, your colleagues or your boss are legitimate reasons for quitting your job but it can be difficult to explain this without sounding like you could be hard to work with or sound like a bit of a snowflake.
Instead of sounding negative, focus on more positive things, like how you are up for a new challenge, you want to work in a different industry, or you want to work somewhere with more career progression.
Reason for leaving: personal or life circumstances
Changes in life are often a motivator and reason for a job change. Have a child on the way? You might be looking for something more flexible. Have you moved recently? You might want to work somewhere with an easy commute. Are you looking to purchase a property? You might be looking for a bigger opportunity and better pay to help fund the kind of lifestyle you want in the future.
All of these scenarios are legitimate reasons to leave a role, but just make sure you’re careful when explaining. You don’t want any potential employers to think you’re just chasing a larger pay packet to pay off an enormous mortgage, or that you’re going to be finishing up at 3pm every day to go and pick kids up from school.
For more tips on how to better your professional self and your career, have a look at our career advice section now. If you are looking for a new position, take a look at our job postings. If you choose to apply, one of our expert recruitment consultants will be in touch with relevant opportunities. Alternatively, get in touch with us.