When you’re asked why you want to leave your current job or have left your previous employer, please be aware that this is a very important question. Your potential new employer needs to understand your motivations.

This question is just as important as “Why do you want this job?”, and you must be prepared for it.

Reasons for Leaving a Job

Be honest

When faced with the inevitable question regarding your reasons for leaving a job, you must be 100% honest.

Lying is not an option, and can get you into serious trouble. Employers do check these things, and they will find out if you’re lying on your resume. Do yourself a big favor right now, and forget all about lying on this subject.

Reasons for leaving a job

There are many possible reasons for leaving a job. These reasons include:

  • Being fired – This is quite common, and it will not necessarily be a major issue for a new employer. The new employer does, however, need to know the circumstances under which you were fired. Simply state the facts of the case. Do not use negative terminology regarding your previous employer.
  • Dissatisfaction – This is actually a very common reason for leaving a job. You can say, honestly, that you wanted a better job. Employers do understand why people leave dead-end jobs.
  • Professional reasons – For professionals, leaving a job is a major step. Employers will understand that you didn’t leave a high paying job for no reason. Without denigrating your former employer, state your reasons.
  • Career moves Staying in a go-nowhere job which is blocking your career path is definitely not a good career option. It’s also a perfectly good reason for leaving a job or wanting a new job. Employers will understand that you are looking for better career opportunities.

Answering the question – tips and pointers

Express yourself clearly

As a matter of fact, the main problem most people have answering this question is that you may not make yourself clear. A garbled explanation of why you left a job is not likely to be productive, or reassuring to a potential employer. Before your interview, rehearse your answer, and listen to yourself. Does your answer make sense? Have you expressed yourself properly and clearly?

Don’t say any more than you need to say

When you’re asked why you left your previous job, keep your answer simple, straightforward and easy to understand.

Another, very avoidable, mistake is talking too much. It’s quite easy to confuse your listeners with too much additional information which blurs the issues. The extra information may be incomprehensible to your listeners.

Stick to a straight, easy to understand narrative, for example:

“I found the working environment unsanitary and unacceptable.”

This is a very polite, professional way of saying everything you actually need to say. Employers will understand what you mean without further elaboration. That’s the best, simplest way to approach describing your reasons for leaving a job without adding unnecessary detail.