Interview Questions About Why You Want to Change Jobs

Tips for Answering Job Interview Questions About Changing Jobs

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Hiring managers are often curious about why you want to change jobs. They want to hear that you're leaving for the right reasons - a better opportunity, more challenges, and career growth. 

Your interviewer will want to be sure that you aren't leaving your job because of poor performance, difficult working relationships, or because you hate your job or your boss. When responding to questions about why you are switching jobs, it's important to provide reassurance that you are moving on for career reasons, not just to get out of a bad work situation.

Here are some approaches you can use to reassure the interviewer that you are leaving your job for the right reasons.

How to Respond: Why Do You Want to Change Jobs?

Emphasize the positive reasons why you are targeting a job with their organization. Refer to specific aspects of the work, company culture and employer which correspond well with your interests and skills. Placing the focus upon your potential employer subtly redirects the conversation from your previous work experience to your strong potential as their next employee. It is also a great way to show that you’ve done your homework in researching their company before your interview.

Frame your move as a path to advancing your career without disparaging your current job. One way to do that is to reference the aspects of the new job which appear to carry more responsibility. Even if the new job doesn't have a higher status, you could mention that you believe it would provide a springboard for future career advancement down the road (after you have spent appropriate time in your initial new job with the employer and have mastered it).

 You might also comment that you feel that the job you’re applying for seems more aligned with your long-term career goals.

Integrate positive references about your current job in your response, so that it is clear that you are not fleeing a bad situation. You are just seeking to improve upon an already good situation.

Of course, you should avoid any negative references to management, to salary, or to the number of hours worked.

Incorporate some positive reflections upon rewarding relationships with supervisors, co-workers and clients, whenever feasible. You might describe opportunities they gave you for career development, or discuss a particularly rewarding experience you had with a client.

Consider giving an external reason for leaving. You might refer to factors such as relocating to a more urban area or looking for a job that is closer to home. But be sure that it is clear that this is not the primary reason that you are applying for a job at the organization. The primary emphasis should always be placed on the fit of the job itself. Perhaps you can explain that you are looking to take your career in a different direction or use your skills in a new way, and this position offers opportunities your old company was unable to provide.

If it is a well-known (public) fact that your current employer has a shrinking market share or other financial problems, you might refer to this issue after making a strong case for why the new job is suitable. Be sure to avoid sharing any proprietary information or painting an overly negative picture of your current employer's situation, though.

A vague reference to your employer's difficulties will usually be sufficient.

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