leaving job


This is another of those questions that invariably crops up at interview. After all, you are looking at leaving one role to pursue another. Your answer is important. It will provide your hiring manager with information about your longer-term career plan, goals, values, interests and motivation. All that to pack into a short, succinct answer to the question!

When you prepare your response, think about the pull factors rather than the push factors. In most instances, your focus should be on what you find attractive about the new role rather than what is pushing you to leave your current job. So, forget about today’s cranky supervisor, lazy co-workers, poor pay and zero room for advancement. And draw attention to the opportunities you can see with the new organisation.

Here are five positive ways to answer the question ‘Why are you leaving your job?’

1. More responsibility and opportunities for growth

You may be moving jobs because you are ready for career advancement. In your response, you could say you believe you have the right experience, skills and motivation to take on more responsibility. If there is a specific (non-negative reason) for leaving your current organisation, you could touch on that too. Perhaps there are limited supervisory/management roles where you are now, or maybe there has been a recent merger that has impacted opportunities for growth.

2. Interest in a career change

Jobs for life are as rare as gold dust these days, so wanting a career change will come as no surprise to your hiring manager. But be prepared to explain why you are changing direction. What is drawing you towards a new role and/or industry sector? And, in short, what transferable skills and experience make you the right fit for the role?

3. Company restructure

Mergers, acquisitions, spin-offs, divestments. The shape of your current organisation may be very different now to when you started. And the new set-up may not be the right one for you. In your response, it’s ok to focus on push factors, i.e. why you are wanting to leave. But it’s important to couch these factors in positive terms. You could explain that there are limited management opportunities post-merger. Or you might tell the hiring manager that your values are no longer in alignment with organisation’s. And then highlight what the new role and organisation will offer you.

4. Work-life balance

Some roles and organisations offer greater flexibility than others. You may be at a stage in your career where you are looking to work part-time, work from home twice a week, or leave early on Wednesdays to collect your kids from school. It’s ok to tell your hiring manager that work-life balance is a draw card for you, especially if they highlight it in their job ads and company website. You could also briefly explain that this flexibility is not on offer in your current role/organisation. Just avoid placing blame on intransigent managers and rigid policies.

5. Relocation

People move for all sorts of reasons – family, cost of living, climate. Your current employer may not have roles available in your new location, and you may not be able to work remotely for them. It’s ok to mention that at interview. But you’ll also want to explain what has drawn you to interview for the new role.

When it comes down to it, you may really dislike certain aspects of your current job. But by focusing on the attraction of the role you are interviewing for, you’re doing yourself a big favour. Hiring managers are keen to take on a focused, motivated, positive individual, not someone who will badmouth a former employer for years to come.

If you’re keen to change job, contact the professional team at Optimal Recruitment team today on info@optimalrecruitment.com.au or 02 8416 4181.