“Why did you leave your previous position?” or “Why are you leaving your current job?” is often asked by hiring managers, staffing professionals and recruiters in job interview. While this question may be on your resume or cover letter, there is much more behind this question then the obvious.
What are decision makers looking for?
It may be obvious that with this question the decision maker is looking to see what is motivating your career move. If you respond that you are looking for a job to grow your career that is quite different than citing a reason of more responsibility and commensurate compensation or that your need is relocation.
The reason an interviewer wants to know what is motivating your career move is because it give them a clue as to what you are looking for in your new job. This information will help the interviewer determine right fit. For example, if you are looking for developmental opportunities to grow your career the hiring manager can tell you more about their mentoring program, educational funding and in-house training programs. Likewise, if you cite the desire for flexibility and autonomy, an experienced recruiter might provide information on the flexible work options, schedules, and reporting structure._
If the reason for departure is compensation, an experienced hiring manager or recruiter should be prepared for a counter offer from your current boss and assess your openness to accepting one. A counter-offer is especially likely if you are a well thought of employee. Why? Not only because you are fantastic but quite simply it is more inconvenient for an employer to hire and train someone new than to pay you more and retain you. So in this case, an experienced recruiter should be probing to find out if there are other reasons beyond compensation that is contributing to your desire to move on.
How to Answer
Be honest when responding about why you are leaving and what you are looking for in your new job. This will help prevent wasted time for everyone involved. If you are not sure, it is worthwhile to take some time to reflect on why it is you are leaving and what you want from your next employer. While I advise you to be honest, there is a caveat to this rule and that is when the reason is negative. So even if your former boss is a tyrant and you colleagues are hard to work with it is not to your advantage to cite these reasons. It is much more advantageous for you to re-frame your answer and cite positive reasons.
Information provided by HR Difference.
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