Personal Development
13 reasons for leaving a job and how to talk about it

13 reasons for leaving a job and how to talk about it

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Explaining Reasons for Leaving a Job in an Interview

When asked why you left your last job, it is essential to provide a genuine and honest answer that paints you in a good light. To better understand the potential explanations for leaving a job, here are some of the most common:

  • Career Advancement Opportunities: Certain employees look to progress in their personal and professional lives, and may seek new, more challenging roles that enable them to expand their skillset and increase their success.
  • Better Compensation: Pay incentives are often the primary reason workers look for jobs outside their current organisation, according to a Payscale survey.
  • Career Change: According to research, 29% of adults aged 25-44 switched job roles post-college.
  • Layoffs or Being Let Go: The economic impact of Covid-19 caused millions of people to be laid off, in addition to terminations caused by company acquisitions, restructuring, or cost-cutting.
  • Bad Management: Poor leadership can have an adverse effect on employees' morale, productivity, and performance, and is often cited as a reason for leaving.
  • Lack of Fit with Company Culture: Being unable to align with a business's values, goals, and beliefs can drive employees away, even if they love their job.

When it comes to answering the 'Why did you leave your last job?' question in an interview, it is important to provide a sincere yet positive response. Here are some of the more acceptable reasons you can provide:

  • Career Advancement Opportunities: Demonstrate your ambition and proactive attitude by combining your motivation for advancement with your goal of taking on more challenging roles or developing your skill set.
  • Professional Growth: If you are looking to expand your capability and take on more responsibility, use this as an opportunity to explain your professional objectives and how the role you're applying for fits into them.

Your decisions should reflect your ambition and growth, and Shiken is committed to helping organisations and their employees reach their goals through research and on-demand events. To find out more, visit the Shiken website.

Navigating a Career Change: Answers for Common Questions

Navigating a career change on your own can be a difficult process to go through. It is important to be prepared with answers to common questions that may arise during the interview. While honesty is important, it is also important to remain professional and explain why you are a good fit for the new role that you are applying for. Additionally, job-hopping syndrome has been on the rise in recent years, so it is important to be prepared for questions regarding frequent job changes.

Reasons for Job Changes

When facing questions about a job change, it is important to remain honest but put a positive spin on the situation. There are a variety of reasons why someone may decide to leave a job. Some of these reasons may include:

  • Personal Reasons � health issues or family emergencies
  • Wanting Different Work Arrangement � becoming a parent might require a more remote role with more flexibility
  • Outgrowing Current Role � feeling that there are no longer any opportunities to advance in the current role
  • Changing Careers � re-evaluating career goals to pursue a different field

Overall Tips

When answering the interviewer's question, it is important to remain honest but also put a positive spin on the situation. Lying about your reason for leaving is never a good idea and can backfire at any point. Lead with the most professional reason that highlights your values and that you can bring to the new role. Also, try not to lead with the desire for higher salary even if that is the main reason for leaving. Instead, emphasize your desire for further career growth and how the new role fits into your new career goals.

What Not to Say

  • I was fired because of poor performance.
  • I was let go, which was a mistake on their part.


For example, if you are leaving a job due to personal reasons, it is not necessary to explain personal family matters, but keep the answer brief and demonstrate why you are a good fit for the role you are interviewing. If you were laid off due to company down-sizing, a good response could be something like: 'My company downsized, and many roles, including my own, were made redundant. I'm proud of what I was able to accomplish while I was there, and my manager would be happy to give you a reference. Meanwhile, I've used this opportunity to think about my professional goals. I believe your company is a good fit for the direction I want to grow in.'

Above all, stay positive and make sure to present your best self during the interview. It is important to keep in mind that lying about your reason for leaving can backfire and be damaging to your reputation.

How to Answer Common Questions During a Job Interview

No matter your reason for switching jobs, it's essential to highlight your commitment to development and flexibility during an interview. Knowing how to answer common questions about your professional background and experience will demonstrate to employers that you are serious about advancing your career and show why you are a great fit for the job.

Answer 1: Why Do You Want to Work Here?

When asked why you want to work at a specific company, emphasize your desire for professional growth and explain how this new company is the perfect fit for you. An effective response can be something along the lines of:

  • What to say: 'My professional growth and development is very important to me. I've acquired a wealth of knowledge in my current role, but I'm now seeking a new challenge. I'm confident that working in an innovative company like this one will push me to reach greater heights.'
  • What not to say: 'I was bored and underappreciated at my old job and my manager only assigned me mundane tasks.'

Answer 6: You Went Back to School

When your employer inquires why you decided to go back to school, this is a great chance to discuss how your education has enabled you to hone new skills and gain a broader outlook. An appropriate response could be:

  • What to say: 'I chose to take a break to obtain an MS in marketing intelligence. The knowledge I've gained during this time, alongside my experience in this field, have equipped me with the skills needed to take on a senior marketing management position.'

Answer 7: You're Unhappy at Work

Be sure to identify the source of your dissatisfaction at work and be prepared to answer this question when it comes up. Being able to turn negative experiences into positive ones to show that you understand your own choices is crucial, such as:

  • What to say: 'My talents were underused at my previous job. I tried to find ways to get more involved, but I soon realized that I needed to look for opportunities that allowed me to use my skills and that would be more stimulating. I love a challenge and am excited to take on a role where I'm encouraged to be creative.'
  • What not to say: N/A

By being equipped to answer these questions honestly and positively, you can successfully convey your enthusiasm for personal advancement and emphasize why you are the perfect candidate for the job.

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