How to answer the question ‘Why are you looking for a job change?'

Write down the reasons for leaving

Look at your CV and think about the reasons why you left each of the jobs you have listed therein. Write down the reasons for your exit. If you do not remember the reason for any of your previous positions, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Why did you join the job?
  • What were your expectations from the job?
  • How was the actual work environment different from your expectations?
  • What did you dislike most about your job?
  • Were you passionate about achieving your assigned goals?
  • Did your next job take you nearer to your career goals? Why or why not?

Once you have some idea about the possible reasons, select one or two primary reasons for each job. Make sure that the reasons you choose are professional. For example, if you changed your job due to your marriage, it is better to avoid quoting such reasons in a job interview. Instead, if your job involved night shifts, you can say that you wanted to move to a day-shift job.

2. Get straight to the point

Instead of trying to build long stories, get straight to the point. Explain your reason for exit in a sentence or two. Then, immediately come back to what you like about the new job and why you are the right candidate for it.

3. Be honest with your answer

The interviewing company may contact your former employer to confirm the details you provided. Any discrepancy in the information has a bearing on your reliability and affects your chances of getting hired. Hence, be honest with your response. Explain the situation genuinely without being disrespectful towards your employer.

4. Display a positive attitude

Even if you left your previous job due to a negative experience, you should frame your response in a positive manner. Try to project yourself as a problem solver who can navigate through tough situations. Talk about positive experiences like the new skills you acquired, the rapport you enjoyed with your manager and the good time you spent with your team.

For example, instead of saying, ‘The manager did not value my work. It was a tedious job. I was not getting to learn anything new.’ Consider saying something like, ‘The job provided me with an opportunity to learn several new skills. I am looking for a position that can help me build on those skills on a larger scale.’

5. Be ready for follow-up questions

Based on the reasons you provided for your job change, the interviewer may ask you some follow-up questions. For example, if you expressed your desire to work in a different job role, the interviewer may ask you whether you tried for the desired position in your current company. Similarly, if your response gives a hint that you had some outstanding issues created due to miscommunication, the interviewer may ask you about the steps you took to resolve those issues or your plan about preventing such miscommunication in the future.