Hiring decisions carry a lot of weight, so interviewers want to learn as much as possible about your work history. This often involves asking why you left your last job.
If you’re not prepared for this standard interview question, it can be tricky, but it’s really not that difficult to answer. Here’s some advice to help you craft a response that fits your situation.
5 Ways to Explain Why You Left Your Last Job
“I’d been with the company for several years and wanted to experience a new culture.”
Essentially a way to say the company was a poor cultural fit, this response puts a positive spin on a situation that probably wasn’t ideal. It shows the hiring manager you’ve explored multiple work environments, and now know what you want.
“I learned everything the job had to offer and felt it was time to move on.”
Chances are, you were seriously bored in the position by the end of your tenure. This is a polite way to say you no longer found the role fulfilling. From this, the hiring manager will learn you’re an ambitious person who enjoys challenging work.
“My role changed over time and I felt it no longer aligned with my career goals.”
It’s never fun to accept a job that becomes something you didn’t sign up for. The situation probably frustrated you to no end, but this response — paired with a smile — will leave the interviewer none the wiser. Instead, they’ll just view you as a focused candidate who knows where they’re headed.
“I decided to take a step back from the workforce, because_____.”
If you left your last job and didn’t immediately move on to another, you’ll be expected to explain your resume gap. This is only a big deal if you make it one, so just be honest. Whether you took a break to care for your small children or head back to school, explain your reasoning and make it clear you’re very excited to return to work.
“I was fired.”
You might be tempted to lie about being fired, but it will catch up with you. No one wants to hire a dishonest candidate, so it’s much better to come clean to the interviewer. Briefly explain the situation, share what you learned from it and move on. There’s no need to dwell on a career hiccup from your past.
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