What to Say in an Interview About Why You Want Another Job or Environment
When you’re searching for a job, you might not want to discuss why you want to depart your current company, but you'll probably be asked. It’s standard practice for employers to ask candidates, “Why are you leaving your current position?”
Don’t lie, but do frame your answer in a way that focuses on what you’re looking for instead of why you’re dissatisfied with your current role. Reviewing what to say about your current job in an interview will help you be more proactive and positive when you answer, rather than looking negative and defensive.
Put a Positive Spin on It
No matter how unhappy you are with the job you are leaving, never disparage your current company, boss, colleagues or customers, recommends executive search firm, Robert Half. Coming across as bitter or petty puts up a red flag to potential employers that you might be difficult to deal with. In addition, they're going to wonder, "What's she going to tell the public about us when she leaves here?"
Before you explain why you want out, mention one or two things you like. For example, say “I enjoy working with the customers, but I am looking for more opportunity for advancement.” Your answer will then sound like you're looking to move forward, rather than simply looking to leave a bad situation.
Practice Diplomacy and Tact
Be selective in what you reveal. Don’t discuss anything that might compromise your current employer's confidentiality or proprietary information or that could damage its reputation. For example, don’t say that your boss is a bully or engages in unethical behavior. Instead, say that you’re seeking an employer with values more like your own.
Also, don’t single out specific employees. Word spreads fast in many industries, and the potential employer might know the person you’re talking about. If it gets out that you’re naming names, it could destroy your professional reputation and discourage employers from hiring you. At the very least, you can make people in your professional network less likely to trust you.
Tell the Truth
Don't lie about why you want another job or workplace environment. Be honest, but don’t reveal too much, advises jobs website, Indeed.com. For example, if you and your former boss didn't get along, tell the interviewer that you and your boss had different expectations regarding your role, or say that you felt the workplace environment wasn’t a good match for you professionally. At some point, you can't say, "I'm leaving my job because I love it!," so you'll have to be honest about what the problem is.
Focus on Your Goals
Instead of elaborating on why you’re unhappy in your current job, steer the discussion toward your long-term career plans. For example, instead of saying you’re stuck in a dead-end job, say that your time at the company has prepared you for greater responsibility. Mention that when you saw the ad for the job you’re applying for, you knew it was just the kind of opportunity you’d been seeking. Or, tell the interviewer that after several years focusing on one aspect of the industry, you’re looking for a position where you can branch out and explore other challenges and interests.