Interviewing 101: Answering “Why are You Leaving Your Current Company?”

Danger mines! flickr image by kyle simourd
Danger mines! flickr image by kyle simourd

Officially one of the trickiest questions in the interview, “Why are you leaving your current company?” It’s full of landmines. You don’t want to speak ill of your current employer, especially if they’re in the same industry or community but there’s probably a reason you’re leaving.  Its fair to say you’re looking for a good opportunity or a new challenge but a good interviewer will know that’s a bit of a bs answer.  Give this some thought during your interview prep.

Think of answering this question like I think of eating meat.  There are just certain things that I don’t need that much detail about.  Yes, I want to know the truth but how the animal was treated and that he/she wasn’t fed weird hormones but I don’t need to see the slaughtering.  The same is true when answering this question.  It’s fair to say that you’ve progressed as far you think you can in that company or that you don’t feel like you’re able to use all of your strengths in a way that you should.  It’s also fair to say that you have a new department manager who seems to be bringing in many of his past employees so you’re concerned.  What you want to avoid is talking about the fact that your friends call your boss and her boss “Physcho 1 and Physcho 2” or that the company is going through financial struggles and your paycheck may bounce.  While both of those things may be true, it’s inappropriate for a business discussion.  Be respectful and remember that over sharing is as bad or worse than not sharing at all.

Happy interviewing

Check out the Interviewing 101 Series for helpful tips on answering some of the most common (and often toughest) interview questions.

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