The circumstances behind parting ways with an employer can be multi-faceted, and often have at least some tinges of negativity. It can be hard to approach the subject diplomatically, especially if you have strong feelings about the situation; therefore, it is essential to have a response prepared prior to a job interview. Hiring managers typically use your answer for why you left your last job to determine your self-awareness, professionalism, ambition, and to detect any red flags about you as an employee. Learn how to answer the tough question of why you left your last job:
Keep it Professional
No matter how terrible your past experience was, talking negatively about your previous employer just ends up reflecting badly on you and making the hiring manager wonder if you’d talk badly about the company if you were hired and eventually left. Resist the urge to put your personal touch on the story. Remain as calm and objective as possible when forming your response to prevent looking bitter to the hiring manager.
Omit Personal Details
There’s a fine line between being honest and giving way too much information. Summarize why you left in two to three sentences. The specifics behind it aren’t necessary for the hiring manager to know. For instance, if you left your last job because you didn’t like your manager, don’t elaborate on the reasons – simply say the work environment wasn’t a good fit for you to achieve your long-term goals.
Stick to Career Objectives
Use the question to give the hiring manager a glimpse into the type of worker you are, by going into more detail about what counts: your best qualities and how they weren’t being effectively utilized. For instance, regarding a personal conflict with your previous manager, talk about your two-to-three top traits as an employee, and that they weren’t able to be used in your previous job, so it was time to move on.
Turn Around Topic
Wrap up the answer by bringing it back to the topic of the job for which you’re interviewing. Discuss why you’re interested in the position as a positive transition from your last job, and how your top skills and qualities could be applied. This ends the question on a positive note, while also sneaking in another way to show your enthusiasm for the job.
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