Answering: Why Did You Leave Your Last Job?

David writes:
I am aware that I should not say anything negative about a former employer.
However I quit my job because of procedural disagreements with my boss
that we had discussed several times. He agreed he was partly to blame for
our difficulties. He and my former company are great otherwise. I have taken
some time away and am now ready to job-hunt again.
The questions I want to be very careful with are “Why did you leave
your former job?” “Why did you leave before you found another one?”



The Career Doctor responds:
Kudos to you for knowing some of the rules of interviewing — never say
anything negative about your former bosses/employers and always anticipate
questions so that you can prepare answers ahead of time.
Are you staying in the same career field or switching careers?
If you are stating in the same field… My standard answer for the why did
you leave your last job is to focus on your accomplishments and make
some sort of statement that you had reached your maximum contribution
level to the company and there was no room for you to move within the
company so you were forced to seek opportunities elsewhere where you
could make a significant contribution.
And if they ask why you left before you had a new job there are any
number of responses from not wanting to distract from your job… but
the bigger issue may be the gap in time from the end of your last job
to now — and you need to be prepared to discuss what you have been
doing and a good answer does not involve any comments about burn-out
or the need for an extended vacation. Always put a spin on the positive;
you needed time to research the next best career step — and the best
employers.
If you are switching careers… then your answer to why you left your
previous job becomes moot because you can simply state you left it to
pursue a career change into your new career field. And as for the gap
you have hopefully been consulting volunteering or otherwise getting
your foot in the door of your new career field and perhaps gotten more
training or education…
As I always say never lie in an interview but always remember that the
interview is a sales call where you are selling the prospective employer
on why you should be hired.
Get lots more tips tools and resources in this section of Quintessential Careers: Guide to Job Interviewing Resources.

;

David writes:
I am aware that I should not say anything negative about a former employer.
However I quit my job because of procedural disagreements with my boss
that we had discussed several times. He agreed he was partly to blame for
our difficulties. He and my former company are great otherwise. I have taken
some time away and am now ready to job-hunt again.
The questions I want to be very careful with are “Why did you leave
your former job?” “Why did you leave before you found another one?”



The Career Doctor responds:
Kudos to you for knowing some of the rules of interviewing — never say
anything negative about your former bosses/employers and always anticipate
questions so that you can prepare answers ahead of time.
Are you staying in the same career field or switching careers?
If you are stating in the same field… My standard answer for the why did
you leave your last job is to focus on your accomplishments and make
some sort of statement that you had reached your maximum contribution
level to the company and there was no room for you to move within the
company so you were forced to seek opportunities elsewhere where you
could make a significant contribution.
And if they ask why you left before you had a new job there are any
number of responses from not wanting to distract from your job… but
the bigger issue may be the gap in time from the end of your last job
to now — and you need to be prepared to discuss what you have been
doing and a good answer does not involve any comments about burn-out
or the need for an extended vacation. Always put a spin on the positive;
you needed time to research the next best career step — and the best
employers.
If you are switching careers… then your answer to why you left your
previous job becomes moot because you can simply state you left it to
pursue a career change into your new career field. And as for the gap
you have hopefully been consulting volunteering or otherwise getting
your foot in the door of your new career field and perhaps gotten more
training or education…
As I always say never lie in an interview but always remember that the
interview is a sales call where you are selling the prospective employer
on why you should be hired.
Get lots more tips tools and resources in this section of Quintessential Careers: Guide to Job Interviewing Resources.

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