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4 Tips to Answer Why Did You Leave Your Last Job

The reason for leaving previous employers is a recurring topic in job interviews. Not surprising, because the answer and the way you answer can say a lot about you... perhaps more than you think.

4 Tips to Answer Why Did You Leave Your Last Job

For example, an attentive listener can deduce from your answer what your ambitions are, whether you've a good work ethic, what your motives are, what your vision is, what personal characteristics you've and what your personal preferences are (for example, with regard to the organizational structure or way of communicating).

The answer gives the employer an immediate idea about your fit with the organization and your potential colleagues.

It's therefore important during the preparation for the job interview to grab your resume and answer all your former employers to the question "Why did I leave?".

A good answer to the question contains some basic elements, the answer depends on your personal situation and the job you're applying for.

So there's no general answer that meets the various scenarios that may arise. For example, the duration of the previous employment or the reason for departure (dismissal, stress, conflict, illness or lack of challenge) can lead to dozens of different scenarios.

And then we have not even discussed the wishes of your potential employer. Are they looking for someone for the long term or is it a temporary job? Are they looking for an ambitious candidate who wants to grow quickly or someone who stays in place for a longer period of time?

Such factors play an important role in shaping a good answer.

4 Tips for a good answer:

1. Avoid negativity

Never be negative about former employers and colleagues. Past behavior is a predictor of future behavior. Your potential employer doesn't need an ex-employee who will gossip about the organization.

In addition, positivity contributes to a good atmosphere during the job interview and a good feeling with the recruiter or employer.

So focus on the positive and look to the future. Compare the situation at your previous employer with the future situation at your new employer and identify the positive differences: more responsibilities, flexible times, a corresponding vision, an appropriate corporate culture, attractive products and services, better career opportunities and so on.

2. Reply in line with the function

Your answer must be in line with the position and vision of the company. You can say that you're looking for more challenges or growth opportunities, but if the company you're applying for can't offer that, you are completely missing out.

If you feel that you've to deviate too much from your own wishes and ambitions, it may be wise to continue looking for another employer.

3. Don't lie

Former employers are also your references. If you lie about your reason for leaving to cover up the situation, for example, you run the risk of being caught. Once you fall through the basket, you naturally lose confidence and you can write the job on your stomach.

Sometimes it'll be difficult to speak the truth. Consider, for example, a departure caused by a conflict. We will return to this in an example.

4. Emphasize intrinsic motivation

When answering the question, emphasize your intrinsic motivation (passion and personal motivations).

For the satisfaction and retention of employees, it's important for an employer that people are involved in the company and intrinsically motivated to work there.

So you make a better impression when you leave in connection with following your passion than when you base the choice on the salary you'll receive.

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