How to Answer: Why Did You Leave Your Last Job?

Why Did You Leave Your Last Job
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Before appearing at a job interview, it is essential that you be prepared for a variety of questions, some of which may not be very comfortable to answer. Such is the interview question “Why did you leave your last job”. Interviewers ask this question in order to find out more about your profile as a worker, as well as a part of your personal characteristics which are relevant to the company you are applying to work with. Your answer to the question “Why did you leave your last job” can set the tone for the rest of the interview.

Of course, there may be various reasons why you left your last job, and not all of them might be pleasant: your job might have been boring, your boss might have been toxic, your coworkers might have been disagreeable, and so on. Therefore, you should have a well prepared answer to this uncomfortable question before showing up for the actual interview.

So if you want to know how to answer “Why did you leave your last job” next time you get face to face with an interviewer who asks you this question, you should bear in mind some things which your answer should contain. The following interview tips regarding the “Why did you leave your last job” best answer can help you prepare for your next interview.

1. Highlight Your Accomplishments

When you are hit with the difficult interview question “Why did you leave your last job”, a smart thing to do is focus on the accomplishments and positive results you achieved at your previous workplace. You can make a list of all your accomplishments beforehand, so that you can answer your question clearly and concisely. After having pointed out your past work accomplishments, you can end your answer with the statement that you are ready to take on a new challenge. This will give out the impression that you are a hard-worker, as well as a result achiever.

Make sure to avoid answers such as: “The salary was too low”, or “The work became boring”. These answers suggest that you might quit your job if everything is not to your liking. All in all, be sure not to talk much about your previous employer, but to emphasize your accomplishments at your previous workplace.

2. Be Polite

When asked to discuss why you left your last job, make sure not to badmouth your previous company, boss, or coworkers. This way you will be giving out a bad impression of yourself as an employee. Such statements can also suggest that you do not handle work-relationships very well, which would be a big red flag for your interviewer.

Instead, keep in mind the importance of every employer and make it clear that you applied to work with another company for the reason that you would be able to perform at a higher level in that particular organization. You can also say that you deem the company you are applying to work with feels a better fit for you than the previous company you worked with.

3. Accentuate Your Strengths

The question “Why did you leave your last job” may feel unpleasant to you as an interviewee, however, bear in mind that the interviewer is looking to hire the best candidate for the position, and he/she has to see whether you are a suitable candidate for the particular job position. Knowing this, you can turn the question to your advantage by accentuating your strengths while answering this question.

If you have a strong resume with plenty of achievements, you can shift the focus to your strengths. That way you will be able to talk about your skills, and you will be able to make a good first impression, as well.

4. Script and Practice

Another thing which you can do in order to prepare for your interview, and, in particular, for the interview question “Why did you leave your last job” is to write a script beforehand. In the script, you can highlight all the significant information about yourself which would be relevant to the position you are interviewing for.

Your script can contain information about your overall experience, your career success, your most recent experiences and achievements which pertinent to the position you are applying for, as well as some challenges you have overcome successfully. Writing a script is a very useful measure that you can take before your interview, for you will know exactly which strengths and abilities to emphasize at the actual interview.

After writing the script, a smart thing to do would be to practice in front of a mirror. Practicing your script in front of a mirror will help you to gain more self-confidence, as well as to minimize the stage fright when you go to your interview. Bear in mind not to recite from the script while practicing – you need to sound natural in front of your interviewer. Practice makes perfect, so practice and revise your script until you are confident enough that you will nail the question.

5. Why Did You Leave Your Last Job Sample Answer

Finally, we present you a list of excellent Forbes sample answers to the interview question “Why did you leave your last job”.

  • I learned a tremendous amount at that job but there was no additional learning for me to get there. I was interested in pursuing my love of [whatever you’re looking to do in your next job] and that’s why I contacted your company.
  • I worked way too hard at my job to have time available to job-hunt alongside my work, so when I decided I needed a new challenge I left my job to focus on my job search full-time.
  • The direction of my last company shifted away from [the topic I’m most interested in] so it was the perfect time for me to leave.
  • I left that job in the reorganization after their acquisition, and since then I’ve been focusing on learning more about organizations whose missions particularly speak to me, like yours.
  • I finished a huge project at my last job and was very proud of our team. I realized it was the perfect stopping point for me in that organization and a great time to try something new. That’s when I learned about your firm.
  • I was in Inside Sales in that job and I loved it but I was ready to move into Outside Sales and the company didn’t have any job openings, so I looked further afield.
  • I was one of the first people hired into my last company and I was happy to help them grow. When they switched from a fast-growth mode to maintenance mode that was my cue to move on.
  • That was a great job until I realized that I need to get more involved in [dental-floss farming, e.g.], started to look around and found your company.

The interview tips listed above should help you be prepared in case the question “Why did you leave your last job” is asked. Make sure not to wing your answer, for your interview can take a wrong turn, which could result in you not getting the job you applied for. Keep your answer concise and relevant. This way, your chances of getting the job you applied for may increase significantly.

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