Why Did You Leave Your Last Job?

Interviewers love the question, “Why did you leave your last job” In some cases, it might be obvious. Either the company shut down or you were hired on a short-term contract. However, other situations require more explanation. Hiring managers really want to know if you left voluntarily or for a good reason. If you left on good terms, this paints you in a favorable light. Your reasons for moving on can say a lot about your values as an employee. For this reason, this question is a staple in the professional interview. If you are prepared, you can make moving on to new opportunities a positive decision.

Points to Emphasize

Even if you were laid off, moving on to a new position should not be a negative choice. Talk about moving on as if it is the next logical step in your career.

  • Focus on your positive experiences at your last place of employment.

  • Demonstrate enthusiasm for new projects and challenges.

  • Wherever possible, mention past coworkers and supervisors in an optimistic tone.

  • Highlight your experience in the industry and past achievements.

    If you managed to secure a job for a length of time, mention it. This gives the impression that you are a loyal employee who is in it for the long haul.

    Mistakes You Should Avoid

    You may have left on bad terms from your most recent position, but don’t bring that into the interview room. Follow these tips to evade detrimental mistakes:

  • If you were fired, avoid putting blame on others.

  • Do not share information that makes you look unprofessional, unmotivated or dishonest.

  • Do not allow your tone to become negative or bitter.

  • Do not focus heavily on monetary motivations.

    Focus more on the positive forces that influenced you to apply for the post.

    Sample Answer

    Here are some examples of good answers as to why you left your last job:

    Unfortunately, my last company’s largest client shut down so management had to eliminate some positions. I was among the more recently hired in my department. However, I’m proud of what I accomplished while there and my last supervisor is my strongest reference.

    While I enjoyed my 5 years with my last company, I have been thinking about moving to a bigger company with more career advancement opportunities for a while. I had a string of very successful projects with my past coworkers and now, I am searching for new challenges.

    Be honest, but put a positive spin on your response. Wherever possible, show off your enthusiasm as an employee.

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