Why do you want to leave your current job? How to answer 💬

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There are many reasons for leaving a job.

You may be dissatisfied with the career progression opportunities, looking for a better work-life balance or leaving a job for personal reasons.

Learning how to answer the question “why do you want to change jobs” positively is crucial to proving you are a strong candidate.

It’s important to be prepared when an interviewer asks you “why do you want to leave your current job?”, as your answer could accidentally give them the wrong first impression of you.

No matter the reason why you leave your job, it is important that you form an answer that will convince the interviewer that you are the right fit for their company.

By answering the question confidently and concisely, you are more likely to win the interviewer’s trust, and potentially secure the job.

In this blog, we’ll discuss why employers ask “why do you want to leave your job?”, what to avoid when answering this question and the best way to answer interview questions that ask  “why do you want to change your current job”.

We also provide responses to ‘why do you want to leave your current job’ examples and ‘why do you want to leave your job’ answers to help you determine how best to reply to potential employers.

 

Why do employers ask “why do you want to leave your current job?”

 

  1. To find out your reasons for wanting to leave
  2. To determine what you are looking for in a new job
  3. To find out whether you’re serious about your job search
  4. To see whether you left voluntarily

  • Of course, employers will want to know why you want to leave your current job – especially if you’ve been at a company for less than a year.

    Employers want to make sure that you have good reasons to give for leaving a job, and that you aren’t a ‘job hopper’ who’s likely to leave their company in a matter of months.

    Don’t let this scare you – there are several good reasons to leave a job.

    Whether it’s the nature of the work you didn’t enjoy, the environment you weren’t suited to, or simply that you feel you’ve learnt all you can in the role, there’s nothing wrong about quitting a job.

    You should never lie about your reasons – so make sure you’ve got your answer to why you want to leave your current job prepared beforehand.

     

  • Given that you are interviewing for a job at their company, a potential employer will also want to find out the things you are looking for in your next venture.

    This will help them to better understand who you are as an employee and whether your values align with their company and what the role offers.

    You may be thinking of many reasons why you should leave your job, but it’s important to give the interviewer one that shows your interest in their company.

    If your reason for wanting to move is that you don’t enjoy the role or you’re not interested in the industry, the employer will want to know what it is that you weren’t suited to.

    When you’re leaving a job. reasons for why you want to quit will vary but you should tell the employer honestly so they can see where you want to progress in a new role.

    This will also help them decipher whether you’re the right fit for their company.

  • Interview questions about your career move are also intended to suss out whether you are really looking to change jobs or are just casually seeing what’s out there.

    It’s hard to know if and when you should leave your job, and browsing other options is all part of the process of deciding on this.

    But if you’re actually trying to figure out how to leave a job and start a new career then you should demonstrate this to the interviewer.

    Give solid reasons as to why you want to leave your current job, as avoiding this might indicate to an employer that you aren’t serious about looking for a new job.

    The best reasons to leave a company are often ones that focus on your future career, rather than ones that reflect on the problems in your current job.

    So, if you haven’t already left the job, you need to have a clear idea of why you want to leave.

  • Finally, a potential employer will ask “why are you leaving your current job” to know whether you left of your own accord or were asked to leave.

    This is especially important if your answer involves leaving a job without notice, as an employer will most likely ask what caused you to do this.

    Always be honest about this. If you were let go from your previous job make sure you’ve prepared a strong answer to the question “Why were you fired?”

    Your ‘why are you leaving your current role’ answer needs to tell the employer that you understand the reasons behind why you were fired, have resolved any issues and worked on yourself.

    It’s also worth learning how to leave a job on good terms if you struggle with this, so you are able to give a positive answer in future interviews.

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Reason for leaving current job best answers

The best answers in interviews are ones that inform and impress the interviewer.

When discussing the reasons why you left a job or why you want to leave your current job, remember to be positive about the role.

No employer wants to hear you badmouthing another employer so try to be as tactful in your response as possible.

We will explore the common interview question “why do you want to leave your current job?” example answers and other “what is your reason for leaving a job” answers.

There are many different ways to approach this tricky interview question; we answer this question in detail, helping you to prepare your ‘why did you leave your last job’ best answer and give solid reasons for leaving your job.

Example answer 1:

Why are you looking for a new position?

“I’ve had a fantastic time working at x over the last two years, but I think I’ve learnt all I can in this particular company.

Having joined as a graduate in 2017, I’ve worked my way up from Business Development Executive, to leading my own team of 3 as a Sales Manager.

I’m now looking to leave my job, take on a new challenge and join a bigger team; that’s why this particular role appeals to me so much.”

Example answer 2:

Why do you want to leave your present job?

“I’ve been working at x as an Office Manager for 18 months.

Throughout this time, I’ve learnt a lot about my skill set and the things I enjoy most.

I’ve always been naturally organised, and am definitely a people person; that’s why I’m now looking to utilise the skills I’ve learnt, leaving my current job and taking on a new challenge.

I believe that this Project Manager role is the perfect next step in my career.”

Example answer 3:

Why are you looking to leave your current role?

“I want to leave my current job because I live in West London with my fiancé, and the commute to my current work in North London has become tiresome.

I love my company and really enjoy my role as an Accountant for x, but the daily commute of 1hr 45 minutes means that I barely make it home before 9pm some evenings.

I’m looking to take the next step in my career at a job that is based nearer to my home.”

Example answer 4:

Why do you want to leave your current job?

“I’ve loved my time at x, a business consultancy firm, where I’ve progressed from Marketing Assistant to Digital Marketing Executive in just under 2 years.

However, I think the time has come for me to take on a new challenge and utilise the skills I have learnt in an industry that I’m more passionate about.”

List of reasons for leaving a job

    • I am looking for a new challenge
    • I would like more flexibility
    • The company values don’t align with my own
    • Would like a shorter commute to work
    • Would like to relocate
    • I want to work in an industry I’m more passionate about
    • I don’t think I’m paid my market value
    • I think I’ve learned all I can in this role
    • Desire to learn more or grow a current skill
    • My career progression has stalled
    • I would like the ability to work independently more often
    • My company is / was restructuring
    • The duties of my role have changed or been reduced
    • Would like more/ less responsibility
    • I need to be closer to home
    • Looking for better career prospects
    • I want to work for a bigger company
    • I’ve been working at my company for a long time and now ready for a change
    • I would like to work better hours
    • Desire to have a better work/life balance
    • I was made redundant

What to avoid when answering “Why do you want to leave your current job?”

Being negative

It’s hard to figure out the best way to answer questions in an interview, especially if the top reasons to leave a job  reflecting on a bad experience at a previous job.

Whatever you do; don’t bad mouth your current or previous employer. Overall, you should try to communicate a leaving a job message that is positive.

You never know who knows who – plus, negativity reflects badly on your personality.

Even if an employer was in the wrong about a situation, or you really didn’t get on with the team, being negative about your current company will suggest to an employer that you might be a problematic employee.

If you’re planning how to leave your job, try to make it as amicable as possible so it’s easier to speak positively about why you leave your last job in an interview.

Talking about your current job too much

Although this is the basis of the question, there is no need to speak for a long time about your previous or current company when you could be showing the employer why you want to move to their company.

The best reasons for leaving a job will be one or two that explain that you want to move to a new job, then focus on the reasons why this opportunity is a great next step in your career.

Lying to the interviewer

Employers will usually be able to tell if you’re lying.

If you’re going to quit a job, for whatever reason, it’s important to be truthful in interviews about why you are doing it.

Whether you try to cover up the fact that you’re leaving a job early or were fired, or give what you think is a better reason for leaving a job, it’s always best to give an honest answer to “why did you leave your current job”.

If you lie about how you left your last company and fail to mention that you didn’t give any notice for leaving a job, an employer will be able to figure this out quite quickly.

Remember that this question isn’t designed to trip you up; it’s intended to find out where you see your career going and the reasons why you’re now looking for graduate jobs.

Employers aren’t looking for the best reason to leave a job, they’re looking for your reason.

Variations of this interview question

It is a good idea to consider the different question variations you might be asked, to ensure you’re not caught off guard on the day!

Here are a few different ways an employer might ask the common interview question “why do you want to leave your current job?”

 

  • Can you list your reasons for leaving your current job?
  • Why did you leave your last job?
  • Why are you looking for a new job?
  • Please give 3 reasons why you are leaving your job?
  • Why do you want to change your job?
  • Why are you looking for a job?
  • What do you dislike about your previous or current job?
  • Why are you looking for a job change?
  • Why do you want to change jobs?
  • What is the worst part of your current job role?
  • Why are you looking for a new position?
  • Why are you looking for a new role?
  • Why do you want to leave your job?
  • What are your reasons for leaving your current job?
  • Why did you leave your previous job?
  • Why did you leave your job?
  • Why are you searching for a new job?
  • Why are you seeking new employment?
  • Why are you seeking a new job at this time?
  • Why did you leave your current job?
  • Why do you want to leave your current job?
  • Why leave your current job?
  • Why do you want to leave your current role?
  • Why do you want to leave your current position?
  • Why do you want to leave your work?
  • Why would you leave your current job?
  • Is there a reason why you want to leave your job?

For more tips on how to answer interview questions confidently, read our complete guide to interview questions!  Find more career advice on our careers advice blog, or check out the latest graduate jobs!

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