How to answer the interview question: “Why are you leaving your current job?”

If you are looking for a new job, at some point you will be asked why you are leaving your current position. This question could take other forms, such as, “Why did you leave your last position?” or “Why are you looking for a new job?”. It is important to be prepared with a positive response.

Why an employer would ask this question

In addition to being genuinely curious about who you are and why you are in the job market, employers use this question to gain deeper insight into your character. Knowing whether or not you are on good terms with your previous manager, if you left your previous position voluntarily, and if you have a solid reason for moving on are topics that can help an employer uncover your values and motives. Your answer could indicate your level of company loyalty, your relationship building skills, and your decision making abilities. 

How to approach your answer

It is important to answer interview questions truthfully while remaining positive. Often our reasons for making decisions are multi-faceted. It is possible that you dislike your current boss, you don’t have opportunities for advancement, and you want a more generous PTO policy. Rather than explaining all three reasons in detail, you could focus only on the positive, future-oriented reason - that you are looking for opportunities for advancement. Explain what you have accomplished in your current role and why you don’t have an opportunity for advancement with your current company. 

Let's talk about what not to say

It is important to remain positive throughout your entire interview, especially when addressing interview questions that show your character. Don’t focus on negative reasons for leaving such as conflict with your boss. In addition, most employers want to feel like they are attracting talented employees, not frustrated employees who are running away from a negative situation. Your focus should remain on your future employer and your future opportunities, rather than your frustrations with your present situation.


Read our article on preparing for an interview.