How to Answer “Why did you leave your last job?”

on March 14, 2022 in ABR Blog, Career and Job Search Tips, Interview Tips


A common question asked by hiring managers is “Why did you leave your last job?” or maybe “Why are you looking to leave your current job?” For many job seekers, it can be challenging to respond to this question and determine how much information they should share. If you have an interview coming up, it is best to prepare for this question beforehand since it is very likely to be asked in your job interview. Here are common reasons people leave their job, why employers ask this question, and examples of how to answer it:

Reasons People Leave Jobs

People leave their job for many reasons, which can be voluntary or involuntary. An employee could be fired, laid off, or quit. Here are a few reasons why people choose to leave their jobs:

  • Bad manager
  • Don’t feel valued
  • Lack of training
  • Career change
  • No promotion
  • Organizational restructuring
  • Family circumstances
  • Health reasons

Why Employers Ask this Question and How to Prepare

Ultimately, you hope to get hired when you have a job interview lined up. However, you may not be the only one interviewing for the job. You can impress the interviewer by giving a clear response to “Why did you leave your last job?” Here is how you can prepare to respond to this interview question:

Assume you will be asked this question

The interview question “Why did you leave your last job” or “Why are you looking to leave your current job?” is a popular interview question among recruiters. So, when you are preparing for your interview, first assume that the interviewer will ask you this question and plan your answer ahead of time.

Think of your answer in a positive way

Answering this question can be done by leaving out any reference to bad feelings or experiences in your previous/current position. It is important to focus on the positive things the potential new job will bring you. You can do this by outlining the reasons your previous position wasn’t a good fit for you. This allows you to frame your answers in a way that makes your reason come across in a professional manner.

Practice your response

Next, practice your answers in front of a mirror to set the posture you would take when answering this question during an interview, and be sure to use your body language effectively. Practice what you will say so you won’t stumble in your response and instead give a clear answer.

Examples of How to Answer “Why did you leave your last job?”

Here are some examples of good answers to this difficult yet common interview question:

  1. “My position was eliminated, and I was laid off.”
  2. “The job no longer felt fulfilling.”
  3. “I left for family reasons and I’m now able to return to work.”
  4. “I took (or am looking for) a position closer to home.”
  5. “A former co-worker or boss recruited me to join their company.”
  6. “My company hired a new manager, and I felt it was a good time to find a new opportunity.”
  7. “My role changed over time, and I was no longer doing what I was interested in.”
  8. “I didn’t feel I had any more opportunity to grow or further my career in the role, so I decided to look for a change.”
  9. “I went back to school to continue my education.”
  10. “I’m looking for an opportunity to advance my career.”

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