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Answering the Quitting Question

There could be many different reasons for why you left your last job, or employed, but currently looking for a new opportunity. In an interview, you need to be able to articulate those reasons well without digging yourself into a hole.

All About Perspective

Whether you were fired, laid off or chose to quit your job, don’t let the negatives become the focus. Explain the benefits of what happened. If you felt like you couldn’t grow any more in the job you’re in, emphasize how you feel the job you’re applying for would give you those growth opportunities. If you were laid off, hopefully it wasn’t because of any fault of your own. Talk about how you and your boss still have a good relationship (maybe they’re even one of your references!). But only do this if you actually do have a good relationship still. There are plenty of negative reasons for quitting a job, but you don’t necessarily want to air all of those. Instead, find the positives and draw their focus there.

Be Honest, Not Comprehensive

They don’t need to know every frustration. Be tactful and succinct. Express why you left, but again, don’t be very negative about it. Industries can be interconnected, so you’ll never know if the interviewer knows your previous boss in some capacity. Plus, if you indulge in complaining about your other workplace to the interviewer of this new job, they’ll probably wonder how long it will be until you’re complaining at your new job.

Practice giving a to-the-point answer as to why you’re making this change. Don’t give in to the temptation to complain or point fingers at your workplace.

Consider Your Response

What are some responses for why you’re quitting/have already quit your job? A few could be: you got burnt out, you had to take care of a sick family member or just needed to spend more time with family, the job you’re currently applying for was just such a good opportunity, or you needed room to grow. All of these are acceptable answers and are much better than just saying, “I hated my job and wanted to leave”. Your next employer wants you to be honest with them, but how you phrase your responses will help them to see the validity of your choice.

How you present yourself and your position can be a huge factor in getting a job in today’s competitive market. Being able to articulate why you left/are leaving a job in a way that shows respect for your previous employer. But always show excitement for the opportunity and challenge ahead. With some practice and forethought, you can effectively answer the quitting question.


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