How To Answer The Interview Question: “Why Do You Want To Leave Your Current Job?”

How to answer the interview question: “Why do you want to leave your current job?”

By: Jaime Petkanics, The Prepary

How to answer the interview question, "Why do you want to leave your job?"

There are several common interview questions that are designed by recruiters to learn more about candidates quickly and effectively. Our focus this week is answering the common interview question, “Why do you want to leave your current job?” This question can be asked in several ways, including: “Why are you looking for a new opportunity?” or “Why did you leave your last job?” (if currently unemployed). Recruiters are asking this question because they want to make sure the reasons behind why you’re leaving (or have left) your most recent job, won’t reappear in the new job.

Although it may seem like a simple question, it is also a tricky one because generally the honest reason can be really negative (not what you’re going for during an interview).

How to answer this common question:

Give the honest reason (in the least negative way possible)

So if we’re being real, the true reason you are looking to leave your current or last job is probably because you think it’s terrible, hate your boss, or can’t stand making 20 more copies (am I close?) but you can’t say that in an interview, ever. However, every negative reason for wanting to leave a job can be spun in a way that is positive (but still honest). Click here for a sample response.

Refocus the answer on what the future employer can give to you (vs. what you’re not getting)

Another way to stop the negativity from coming through is to refocus your answer on what the future employer can give you (versus talking about what you’re not getting). Do your research beforehand about the company’s mission and values and speak to them. Click here for a sample response.

Stay diplomatic!

The number one rule to always keep in the back on your mind when you are answering this question is that you need to stay diplomatic. Never badmouth your former employer. If you do one can only assume that you’ll do that to the next company too. Above all, it’s just not professional and not interview-appropriate. Even though it may be tempting to vent, save that for your friends and fam! The PG version of the story should show up at the interview.

Sample response:

I’m currently looking for new opportunities because I don’t feel that I am able to continue to grow at my current company. In speaking to other employees at your company and reading the website, I realize that growth and mobility is something that is a big focus and priority at [company you’re interviewing at]. That is the type of place I want to spend the next years in my career. I’ve had an amazing experience overall at [past company] but I think now is the right time to move on.

Jaime Petkanics

Jaime Petkanics is the writer behind, an online resource which provides advice on all aspects of the job search. A former recruiter, Jaime answers questions ranging from how to write a great resume, to how to answer interview questions, and everything in between.