Office Etiquette: How to answer “why are you applying for a new job?”
Regardless of why you’re sitting in that interview chair, answering this question the right way may just land you the job.
It’s difficult to answer the question “Why are you looking?” without speaking negatively about your current (or recent) job or employer. But we also all know it’s never a good idea to trash your current job or employer in an interview.
Follow a “less is more” approach and focus specifically on what attracted you to the new company and/or role instead of focusing on why you’re leaving your current job. Still, don’t skirt the question. Answering deliberately will prove you’re capable of responding to tough questions and that you’re capable of being simultaneously honest, open, and political.
Your response should:
1. Avoid all bad-mouthing of your current company or role
2. Reiterate that you’re not a job-hopper
3. Prove you’ve researched and specifically targeted the company (e.g. you don’t just hate your current position so much you’ll take anything)
4. Answer the question directly and succinctly.
Here’s an example of this strategy in conversation:
Hiring manager: So tell me why you’re looking for a new job.
You: I’m actually really happy in my role at Company X, and I’ve really enjoyed the last six years of opportunities, challenges, and my team members. However, I’ve been really impressed by your product’s impact on mobile advertising, and creating a better user experience is something I’m constantly excited to be working on in my current role. So when I saw this job opening, I thought we were a great match, and I’d love the opportunity to contribute to another innovative company.
Now turn on some power music and go rock those interviews!