How to Answer the Interview Question, ‘Why Are You Leaving Your Current Job?’

How to Answer the Interview Question, ‘Why Are You Leaving Your Current Job?’

Source: This article was originally published on CNBC.
Written by: Marguerite Ward, CNBC Make It

If you’re on the hunt for your next job, you’d better be prepared to talk about why you’re trying to leave your current one.

When a hiring manager asks, “Why are you leaving your current job?,” you might be tempted to respond honestly with something like, “I don’t like my boss,” or, “I’m not getting paid enough.”

But that type of negative response will almost certainly ruin your chances of landing the new opportunity.

So how do you respond positively without being dishonest?

“Look, this question can be awkward. I get it, but the antidote is to avoid ruminating on your unmet wants or needs, and to focus instead on the opportunity ahead.”

Here’s how to strike the best possible tone:

1. Don’t give a fake response

Hiring managers are generally pretty good at sensing when an applicant is being dishonest.

“Don’t make up a story,” Welch says. “I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Lying is never good.”

Don’t avoid answering the question, either—that will make you look untrustworthy. 


2. Avoid looking like a boss-hater

You may have legitimate reasons to be dissatisfied with your current manager, role or compensation, but in order to move forward in your career, you need to move on personally, too.

“If you’re hurt or bitter, let it go,” Welch says, “before the interview.”

“Your interviewer is trying to assess if you’re the problem, not the job,” Welch says. “They’re looking for signs you’re a boss-hater, or a job hopper, or in my house, what we call a ‘whining, moaning complainer.'”

You want to come across as a mature and positive person, not someone who holds onto grudges or creates problems. 

3. Show you’re forward thinking

Instead of lying or speaking negatively about your current situation, give a response that shows you’re forward-looking.

“Make your answer about the future,” Welch says.


“Turn the conversation towards why you want to join the new company,” she adds. “Explain why this job is so right for your skills, your values, and your career goals.”

You should acknowledge that you’re currently dissatisfied, but in a way, that’s broad and succinct.

Highlighting “slow growth” or “lack of opportunity” at your current company is a good way to summarize what you’re feeling, Welch says. And after you explain why you’re currently unhappy, move on.

“After your quick and courteous explanation, quickly pivot to what excites you about the new company’s values, mission and culture,” Welch says. “Talk about its people and its products.”

This type of response will show the hiring manager that you’re both honest and positive.

“Let them know you aren’t only about ‘you’ and ‘your,'” Welch says. “You’re about ‘them’ and ‘us.'”

Suzy Welch is the co-founder of the Jack Welch Management Institute and a noted business journalist, TV commentator, and public speaker. Through its online MBA program, the Jack Welch Management Institute transforms the lives of its students by providing them with the tools to become better leaders, build great teams, and help their organizations win. 

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