Leaving a Job? A Guide to Explaining the Change

Posted July 10, 2019

If you are employed and heading into an interview, you will likely have to talk about what brought you into the job market.

There are a variety of reasons for wanting a new job, some good and some not so good. When asked to explain why you are leaving a job, it is not necessarily what you say but how you say it.

Interviewers may ask why you are leaving a job to find out what is important to you in the workplace, and look for any warnings that you may not be the best candidate. No matter what your reason for leaving, if you plan ahead and communicate your reasoning in a positive and constructive way, you should be fine. Consider a few of the following tips.

Be prepared

Prepare to answer this question by writing out why you made the decision to look for a new job. Ask yourself:

What do I value in a job?

What are my career and personal goals?

What do I look for a work environment?

What am I passionate about?

What industry do I see myself most happy in?

What skills do I want to use in a job?

After you have done that, compare what you want versus what you are getting, or not getting, out of your current position. By doing this, you can develop thoughtful answers to the question based on your values.

It is important to shape your responses with a positive tone. For instance, instead of saying, "I don't get along with management," you could say, "My values did not align with the company culture."

Always word your responses in a way that gets the point across without putting your previous employer or yourself in a negative light. Be sure to highlight positives from this job experience and focus on your goals moving forward. Try to have your answer focus more on the future than the past.

Keep It Short and Sweet

Ideally, your response should be the equivalent of two short paragraphs. Just long enough to provide some detail and explain your job experience in a positive way.

By spending too much time trying to explain yourself, it may seem like you are trying to hide something. Rambling also produces a higher chance you are going to get off track, possibly adding details that may not be pertinent to the conversation.

Once you have your answer, be sure to include it as a part of your practice interview routine. You should rehearse your answer to the point it flows naturally and almost automatically. Getting extremely comfortable with your response helps significantly when interview nerves kick in.

Let Us Help You With Your Interview Prep

At Ambassador Personnel, we regularly connect people to amazing job opportunities and help them with their application process. Please contact us today to work with a full-service staffing firm to let us help you find your next job.