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JOB INTERVIEW: “WHY DO YOU WANT TO LEAVE YOUR CURRENT JOB?”
Your friends and family are not the only ones who want to know why you want to leave your current job. But while answering a friend's question may seem easy, justifying your reasons to a recruiter can be much more complex, however, if your answer is well argued and thought through, it can really help you to seize that new opportunity.
Here are our tips on how to respond to the recruiter or potential future employer and get that job, whatever your reason(s) for changing jobs.
Why does the recruiter want to know why you are looking for a new job?
In fact, the recruiter is asking you this question to get an idea of what motivates and fulfils you, what your long-term goals and ambitions are and what kind of company culture suits you best. In addition, if you answer this question (which may seem tricky) clearly and professionally, the recruiter will also be able to assess your verbal and non-verbal communication skills.
The way you answer this question can either set off alarm bells in your recruiter's mind or silence them, so it is important to prepare your argument well.
How to answer the question constructively
The key to answering this question well is not to focus on what you don't like about your current position, but rather on the opportunities you see in the position you applied for. Ultimately, you want the recruiter to see you as a forward-looking, proactive candidate who is willing to make a positive change in their career.
For example, you might start your answer with "Although I have learned a lot in my current position, I think it is now time to make a change, because..." From there, you can focus on what needs to change, not on what has happened. For example, you can go on to talk about the skills you want to develop, using what you have learned that will benefit the new employer, and then explain how your experience makes you the ideal candidate.
By framing your answers in this way, the conversation always comes back to what you have learned and achieved, the value you can bring and why you have decided to move on.
Here are some tips on how to respond to the recruiter by focusing on the new opportunity:
Reason for leaving: You're not learning anything new in your current job
From the outset, the key point you need to make here is that you want to develop and progress. In your response, you should therefore indicate that you have acquired key skills in your current job, but that you feel you can apply them more effectively (and improve them) elsewhere: “Although I have learned a lot in my current job, including X and Y, I am now looking for a new opportunity that will allow me to develop my skills and use my experiences on a more regular basis. I believe that this opportunity can help me to do this, as I have seen in my research that your company is committed to providing employees with the opportunity to train throughout their careers."
Reason for leaving: You feel undervalued in your current position
The focus here is not on the fact that you feel undervalued, but rather on what you have achieved: "In my current position, I am extremely proud of having achieved X and Y. However, I feel the time has come to take my skills to another company, in the hope of achieving new goals and bringing more value to my next employer. After reading the job description, I feel I can add real value in areas X, Y and Z."
Reason for leaving: Your prospects for development in your current position seem uncertain
As this reason applies to many candidates, the recruiter will understand. Nevertheless, it is crucial to answer well: "Although I was promoted to manager/team leader, after several years in this position, the structure of the company made it difficult to progress further. The opportunity to apply the skills I have acquired in my current position in an innovative and visionary environment such as yours is an opportunity I cannot pass up."
Reason for leaving: Your relationship with your current employer is not as positive as it should be
Here you should not focus on what is wrong with the person you are currently working for. Instead, you should focus on your new boss and impress them with the knowledge you have gained so far.
"I have learned a lot from my current employer, but I want to work in a more collaborative environment. I was particularly impressed to learn that your company operates with a unified communication system, which gives every team member the opportunity to be involved in all stages of projects."
Whatever your reasons for leaving your current position, always focus on you and your potential new employer, not on the position you want to leave. Answering this question positively and looking to the future will help you explain why you are the ideal candidate for the new position, and avoid explaining in detail why you no longer feel comfortable where you are now.
Remember, no matter how much you've come to hate your current job, badmouthing your current employer won't be enough to get you accepted by the new one. And if you think you're not being paid enough, haven't learned anything, or that the job you're doing isn't challenging, repeating that to your recruiter won't work in your favour either. Focus on the future and don't dwell on what will soon be your past.
"Why do you want to leave your current job" is an extremely common question in job interviews, and it is crucial to answer it correctly. It is also an excellent opportunity for you to show your initiative and willingness to add value to your next employer.