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How to explain the reason for leaving your old job.

So you’ve decided to leave your job (for whatever reasons) and you are starting to attend interviews but there is one question that keeps cropping up “Why did you leave your last job?”. This may sound like a silence filler question but actually, it is going to play an integral part in whether you get the job or not.

Start by creating a list of all the reasons why you have chosen to move on both good and bad, list then in order of importance and start to break down the real reason you have left and what you do and don’t want in future jobs.

Positive and rational reasons for leaving

Typically people will leave their jobs for professional reasons however there may be a more personal reason for your departure, try to stay away from emotional feelings of negativity and focus more on developing your career. Below is a list of good examples to give when asked the all-important question:

  • I wanted to develop my career

  • There was little to no career progression

  • I want to pursue a career I am more passionate about

  • I didn’t feel I was a good fit for the company

  • They asked you to relocate

  • Poor workplace culture

  • You were made redundant or the company closed down

  • You have to travel on business too often

  • You need to be able to take better care of your family

  • You are employed for one project, or on a short-term contract

Reasons you should stay away from

It is important to tread carefully when explaining your reasoning for leaving, there are many things that you shouldn’t say for example:

  • Legal reasoning

  • You didn’t like your colleagues/ boss

  • Got bored

  • Office politics

  • Lack of family support

  • You were fired

  • Didn’t like working overtime

These kinds of reasoning are more personal and can make your potential future employer think of you non-dependable and non- committed.

How this will impact the interview

The way in which you respond to this question can affect how the rest of the interview will pan out, you want to make sure that you aren’t bad-mouthing your previous employer as this can look unprofessional. However, you also want to ensure that you are getting across what your expectations are for future roles. The last thing you want to do is to leave this job so it’s integral that you ensure you are the right for the company.

Ace your next job interview, take a look at our jobs board to see how we can help you.

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