Why Do You Want To Change Jobs?
While the answer to this question may be simple, it may not be something you want to share truthfully at your next interview. That all depends on what the reason is. This is a tough question to answer because it’s frequently an awkward one. One thing nobody likes is a quitter. So how do you explain why you’re one? And that’s assuming it was your choice, of course. What if the reason is that you’ve been fired or laid off?
Let’s say that you’re quitting your old job. There are some safe answers to give and some that you should avoid. One answer you should avoid is anything involving past workplace drama or negativity. Never, ever say anything negative about your previous boss, co-workers, workplace, or company. Why not? Because then you may be perceived as someone who has unreliable loyalties. The hiring manager may think, “Well, this person is hard to satisfy, and might turn on us next. We’d rather get someone more positive and optimistic for this role who is going to get along easily with others.”
Plus, this damages your chances of getting good referrals in the future. Even when you leave a workplace in a bad situation, you’d be surprised how many bosses are willing to say something nice about you if you are willing to be equally kind when you present them to others.
One easy situation is relocation. If your next job will be located far away from your previous job (even across town), you can always just say “relocation,” and neglect to explain further. The hiring manager will usually interpret this as a major life change, but if you don’t elaborate, he or she will generally assume the new job will be more compatible with your life change. It doesn’t make you sound like a quitter, since you can’t avoid major life changes.
If relocation isn’t going to work as an answer, you might try something like this: “I went as far as possible in my previous job role. There were no opportunities for advancement, and I had learned all I could in that position. I am seeking more challenge and a way to expand my skills and do more meaningful work, like the work which I’d be doing with your company.” And then press on from there if the hiring manager is willing to. You can even try to push the interview forward by then saying something like, “Please tell me more about the position.”
What do you say if you were fired or laid off? If you were laid off as part of mass job cuts, you can just say so. In the recession, that’s not as big a deal as it once was. If you were actually fired, focus on the positive (what you learned from the experience, and how you can now move on to a profession which suits you better, like the one you’re interviewing for), and don’t talk about past drama.
Whenever an interviewer asks you an awkward question like this one, answer it succinctly and positively, and push the interview forward.