ASK HR: What is the best answer to this interview question?


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I am due for a job interview early next month, and though I feel that I am prepared to face the panel and convince them that I am the right person for the job, I am unsure of how to respond to the question:

“Why do you want to leave your current job?”

To answer this question better, you need to understand why it is faithfully asked in many interviews.

It is a question that seeks to know more about you, and the answer you give is just as important as any other response you will give during the interview process. Truth be told, everyone has a main reason why they seek a job change, and in asking this question, the interviewer wants to know if you have the right motivation.

If looking for better pay, relate this to seeking an opportunity that recognises the skills and experience you will bring on board. If looking for career growth, relate this to your desire to enhance your work experience. Remember to add that this is not likely to happen at your current station as the role you aspire to move to is perhaps taken.

Another reason could be around seeking a role that is a better match to your values and career aspirations where there is more role clarity and good process for nurturing and growing talent. Be careful as this could reflect badly on your employer, but if you work for an organisation that is constantly cited for cutting corners, this reason would be valid.

You may be seeking a change to work within a supportive team or manager as you feel your performance and output is not fully appreciated. Again, a double-edged sword.

The interviewer might think you are talking ill of your boss and colleagues, which could mean you run away from challenge. You might want to state how you have tried to suggest solutions and how you feel this is still not working towards creating the right enabling environment.

You could be looking to change your career or seeking different sector experience as part of your career growth plans.

Whatever you do, you are safer speaking about your real desire to seek a change and see how to present that desire in a positive way, demonstrating ambition and clear foresight.

Make it more about seeking a role or work environment that can challenge you to do better, and pay what you are worth.

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