Why Do You Want to Leave Your Current Job? - How to Answer

Many of us have heard a job interviewer ask, "Why do you want to leave your current job?" This can be a tricky question to answer, but with some preparation, you can formulate a good response.

Why Do Interviewers Ask This Question?

It's understandable that employers will be curious about why an employed person is looking to leave a current role and take on a new one with their firm. They want to be certain you're pursuing a new role for the right reasons and that you won't bring drama or tension to their organization. They may also want to determine whether you're serious about changing jobs or whether you're simply exploring the market.

How to Respond to This Question

You should be honest but tactful in your response. If you want to leave your current job because of personality clashes and company mismanagement, it's best to omit these details from your response.

Some good sample answers to this question include:

  • It's been a fantastic experience, but I feel that I've learned everything I can in my current position. I can't see any place to advance within the organization, and I love to be challenged, so I think it's a good time to move on.
  • I'm very interested in the ground-breaking work in geospatial intelligence/social media strategy/3D animation you're doing at this company, which I wouldn't get the chance to learn about with my current employer.
  • I love my job but I haven't had the opportunity to use my programming/rendering/analytical skills there as much as I'd like to, so I think working here could be a better fit for me.

Make sure your response is rooted in truth, or it will seem disingenuous. It's also important to keep your response positive in tone. You shouldn't give the impression that working for your current employer has been a bad experience because this will make you seem like a negative person. Instead, you should stress that you're aiming to leave because you're looking toward the future and all that it might hold.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

One of the most common mistakes candidates make is badmouthing their current employer, colleagues, or job. This will only make you appear like a gossip and troublemaker. If you mention personality clashes with people in your current workplace, a potential new employer will wonder whether you may have similar problems in a new firm. You may feel your current employer is financially unstable, but mentioning this in a job interview, especially if you're interviewing with a competitor, will make the interviewer question your aptitude for discretion and company loyalty.

It's also important to be specific in your answer. All too often candidates say they want to leave their current job for "personal reasons," believing this is a discreet way to answer the question. However, this is typically interpreted as stemming from the problems mentioned above and often generates the same result.

The common question "Why do you want to leave your current company?" has left many interview candidates stammering and squirming. However, if you keep cool, you can deliver an appropriate answer to this popular interview question.