Employees have many different reasons for leaving a job. Maybe your family relocated to a new city. Maybe you just weren’t a good fit for that particular work environment. Or perhaps you were let go due to staffing cut backs.
Whatever the reason that you left your last job, it’s important to have an answer prepared to tell your next prospective employer. This is a question that comes up in practically every job interview. Since an interview is a chance for a company to assess your suitability for the position, it’s natural for them to be interested in your motivation for making a move.
So how can you prepare yourself and ensure that you have a professional answer to such a difficult question? The following dos and don’ts will help you plan your response.
Do tell the truth.
Lies – even little white lies – have a funny way of coming out. If your interviewer asks why you left your last job, save yourself the trouble and tell the truth. That doesn’t mean you have to give them every last detail. It does, however, mean that you should be forthcoming – particularly if you were let go. Explain the situation calmly. Employers are used to change in the workplace. They will appreciate your honesty.
Don’t be unclear or evasive.
If you’re asked about a past job, always answer the question directly. Don’t change the subject or give a vague response. This will make it seem as though you’re hiding something. Rehearsing your response a few times before the interview is one way to avoid giving an unclear answer that could be misinterpreted.
Do talk about what you’ve learned.
Employers want to hire workers who are eager to learn and improve. When you’re discussing past jobs, it’s very beneficial to highlight what you learned from your former work environment. By shifting the discussion toward the skills you gained from your past experience, you will move the conversation into a much more positive territory.
Don’t bad-mouth your previous employer.
This is the ultimate no-no in an interview setting. Even if things ended poorly with a past employer, keep your personal feelings to yourself. Making negative comments could give your interviewer the sense that you are emotional or difficult to work with.
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