Searching for a new job while you still have one puts you at an advantage—but interviewers will want to know why you’re looking for something new.
Ideally, you’re leaving your current job only because you found out about this one that you’re interviewing for, that will provide you with career advancement or other opportunities. You hate to leave where you are now because it’s fantastic and you love working there, but you can’t pass up this chance.
If you are interviewing for a position that is essentially a lateral move, this can be a touchier answer. In many cases, people don’t leave their jobs for positive reasons—something has happened to drive them away. If this is what’s happening for you, be very careful with how you phrase your answer.
You never want to say anything negative in a job interview, because what will come across to your interviewer is that YOU are negative, rather than your situation.
Any reason you give is best if it’s more neutral than negative. It should be a factor in your old job that won’t be a part of this new one—but also something that you aren’t angry about. Your attitude should be more like, “It is what it is,” and you aren’t taking it personally. For instance:
- If your current job requires a lot of travel but the new one doesn’t, you can say, “My current job requires a lot of travel, and I’m ready to be home in my own bed a little more often.” Of course, if the situation is reversed, you could say, “I love that this job requires a lot of travel. I’ve been ready to get out and about more.”
- If your current job is with a small company and you are interviewing with a large one, point out something that’s inherent in each of these types of companies, as in “I’ve loved being at Small Company and learned a lot, but there’s not a lot of room for growth or promotions and I’m ready to be somewhere I have the chance to move up.” If you’re moving from a large to a small company, you could say, “I loved working for Large Company and learned a lot, but I’d love the chance to really dig into helping a smaller company grow.”
- If the new job is in another city, you could say, “I’ve loved working at Other City, but I am moving to this area and so I need a job here.”
Whatever your answer is, be brief—no more than a sentence. Make sure that in your answer, you give them a reason that you are running TO this new company (because of the fit, the culture, the location, the opportunity, and son on.). That’s where your focus should be—not on the past, but on the future.
**Find 100 more great answers to tough interview questions in How to Answer Interview Questions (#1 Best Seller in Job Interviewing on Amazon), and How to Answer Interview Questions II (with 101 additional interview answers), also available on Amazon.
About the author
Career Coach – Peggy McKee is an expert resource and a dedicated advocate for job seekers. Known as the Sales Recruiter from Career Confidential, her years of experience as a nationally-known recruiter for sales and marketing jobs give her a unique perspective and advantage in developing the tools and strategies that help job seekers stand head and shoulders above the competition. Peggy has been named #1 on the list of the Top 25 Most Influential Online Recruiters by HR Examiner, and has been quoted in articles from CNN, CAP TODAY, Yahoo! HotJobs, and the Denver Examiner.
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