Job interviews are stressful enough without worrying about how to explain why you left your last job. Reduce your stress levels by preparing your answer ahead of time. Remember to frame your situation in positive terms. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
1. No Room to Grow
Let the interviewer know that the job was wonderful, but that you were ready to move on to new challenges.
2. Taking Up Too Much Time
Explain that you were ready to move on, and knew that you wouldn't be able to do your best at work and job-hunt simultaneously.
3. Shift in Company Focus
Sometimes companies change positions. Whether the change was due to a buyout, a slight change in emphasis or a whole new mission statement, explain at the job interview that your priorities were no longer in line with the company's.
4. Just Finished a Big Project
Start by telling the hiring manager about a big project that you recently completed. Then explain that after the project, you realized that you were ready for new things and that you were unlikely to find those opportunities with your previous employer.
5. Looking for a Particular Position
Share that you had recently decided you wanted a specific position and that position was not available at your previous company. Remember to be honest. If the position you are currently applying for was available or likely to open up at your old company, the hiring manager may find out.
6. Fast-Growth Period Ended
If you're a person who loves a fast pace, then you don't want to stay at a company that has moved into a maintenance mode. At your job interview, explain that your interest had waned in your old position when things slowed down, but that you are excited to have the opportunity to help another company prosper.
7. New Interests
If you are applying for positions that are quite different from your previous job, tell the interviewers that you wanted to pursue new interests and move in a different direction.
8. Wanted a Different Work Environment
The job interview is a perfect time to explain that you love the work environment and company culture at the new organization. Without badmouthing your old employer, share that you were looking for a place that was bigger or smaller or more relaxed or offered specific benefits depending on your situation.
9. Realized Your Strengths Weren't a Good Fit
This is a great answer if you left your previous position on less-than-perfect terms. Share at the job interview that you realized you had strengths that weren't suited to the position. Then elaborate on those strengths to move you closer to getting hired.
10. Position No Longer Meshed With Life Goals
This is usually an honest answer and doesn't require much explanation. A brief, confident statement that your previous position was not in line with your current life goals should be enough to move the interview along.
Most importantly, remember that a job interview should be a collaboration. Don't be on your guard expecting the worst. Instead, take a cooperative attitude, working to help the interviewers understand who you are. When you let them see your value, you move a step closer to getting hired.
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