Interview Insider is an educational series produced by neteffects dedicated to sharing the “inside scoop” on effective interviewing tips that land jobs.
Why are you leaving your current job?
If you’re seeking career opportunities elsewhere, or just testing the waters to see what’s available in your field, potential employers will want to know why you are leaving your current job. In order to answer this question and not raise any concerns in the minds of the employer there are some things you’ll want to follow.
Keep it positive
Even if your boss is a tyrant or the pay is lousy, don’t be tempted to share your tale of woe to a potential future employer. You have nothing to gain by speaking negatively about your current place of employment.
Make it as a selling opportunity
Frame your answer in such a way that tells the employer what they stand to gain from taking a chance on you. A majority of people offer up a generic answer that speaks to a “better opportunity” or being a “better fit,” but even those answers can put doubt in an employer’s mind regarding your ability to be loyal. Employers invest a lot of resources in a single new hire and want to know that their investment will stick around for a while. Here’s some examples of framing your answer in order to make it into an opportunity the sell you:
“During my time at XYZ company I’ve grown as a project manager; going from leading smaller initiatives to larger scale enterprise deliveries using the waterfall development methodology. After I received my agile practitioner’s certification, I worked with management to test the agile development delivery model in our offices. Although my efforts were well received, they’ve decided to stick with their current method. When I learned of the need within your organization for an ACP PM to help transition your team to agile, I knew I could make an immediate impact; as this is something I’ve done before and would like the opportunity to do more work in. Maybe you can tell me more about why you’ve decided to transition your development teams to agile?”
It’s clear to see what they candidate is offering the employer in the above paragraph while still answering the question at hand – why the candidate is looking elsewhere. Asking a question at the end of your answer also provides you an opportunity to understand the business pain (the problem they are trying to solve through hiring.) You could also frame your answer this way:
“As an adaptable and flexible PM, I’ve used a few different delivery models – ultimately, it’s whatever works best for the team and the business’ needs. After I became an ACP at my current employer, I worked with management to test the agile delivery model within our own offices. Although my work was well received, management decided to stick with their current model. I’ve seen the advantages of both, but am eager to bring my agile PM skills to an organization that I can make an impact with. It’s exciting work and I’m looking forward to doing more of it and growing as a practitioner. Perhaps you can tell me why your team is moving away from your current development method? ”
When providing an employer with an answer as to why you are leaving your current job, it’s important to provide a positive response that tells the employer what’s in it for them. Employers hear time and again from candidates what they as the employer could offer the candidate, but few job seekers differentiate themselves by using this as an opportunity to really sell themselves and understand the employer’s business pain.