How to Answer ‘Why Are You Leaving Your Current Job?’ in an Interview

Two women having a serious conversation across a table, with one woman holding a paper and the other listening attentively. A laptop is open on the table all to represent how to answer why do you want to leave your current job in an interview.

Did you know that 51% of employees are actively considering changing jobs at any given time?

As a result, transitioning to a new job is a common scenario, and one of the most common questions interviewers ask is “Why are you leaving your current job?”

Knowing how to answer this question is crucial because it provides insight into your motivations, work ethic, and compatibility with the prospective role.

Learn the most common reasons for leaving a job and how to answer why you’re looking to leave your current job with confidence.

Why do employers ask “Why are you leaving your current job?”

Employers ask “Why do you want to leave your current job?” to assess candidates’ motivation, to understand potential red flags, and to gauge compatibility with the new role.

To assess candidates’ motivations

Employers want to understand your underlying motivations for seeking a new job. Are you looking for career growth opportunities, better job description, or a different work environment? Your answer reveals what drives you professionally.

To understand potential red flags

Interviewers are also on the lookout for any potential red flags. If your reasons for leaving can be considered negative, ie: frequent job changes, toxic workplace, or conflicts at work, it might raise concerns about your stability and suitability.

To gauge compatibility with the new role

This question also helps employers determine if you’re a good fit for the new role, by understanding your reasons for leaving. Gaining this insight can help them gauge if their position aligns with your career path and expectations.

6 Steps to answer “Why are you leaving your current job?” in an interview

Steps to answer “Why are you leaving your current job?” in an interview include being honest, positive framing, and practicing your answer.

  1. Be honest
  2. Stay professional
  3. Use positive framing
  4. Align yourself with the job
  5. State your connection to the role
  6. Practice your answer

1. Be honest when answering “Why are you leaving your current job?”

Authenticity is key when answering this question. While it’s important to be truthful, make sure to frame your answers positively.

For example, instead of saying you’re leaving because you dislike your boss due to poor management, you could say you’re looking for new challenges that your current role doesn’t offer.

2. Stay professional when answering “Why are you leaving your current job?”

Always maintain a professional tone and avoid badmouthing previous employers or colleagues.

Speaking negatively about your current position can reflect poorly on you and may suggest that you could do the same in the future.

3. Use positive framing when answering “Why are you leaving your current job?”

Keeping your response positive is crucial. Focus on what you’re seeking in a new role rather than what you’re leaving behind.

Highlight the opportunities and growth you hope to achieve.

4. Align yourself with the job when answering “Why are you leaving your current job?”

Tailor your answers to align with the job and company you are applying to. Research the company’s values and culture, and explain how your goals and aspirations match what they offer.

For instance, if you’re aiming for a leadership role, mention how the prospective employer offers growth in that area.

5. State your connection to the role when answering “Why are you leaving your current job?”

Emphasize how the move aligns with your career goals. Show how the new role is a step forward for you professionally and how it fits into your long-term career plan.

If you’re seeking a healthier work-life balance, highlight how the new company supports this.

6. Practice your answer to “Why are you leaving your current job?”

This step often goes overlooked but is crucial to being able to answer in a clear and effective way. Rehearse your answer to ensure it sounds natural and confident.

Practicing helps you articulate your reasons clearly and succinctly, making a strong impression during the interview.

Top reasons for leaving a job

Top reasons for leaving a job include career advancement, better compensation, work-life balance, company culture fit, seeking new challenges, relocation, and personal reasons.

Career advancement

Lack of growth opportunities: When you perceive a lack of growth opportunities in your current role, it’s natural to seek new positions where you can advance your career. Stagnation can lead to dissatisfaction and disengagement, prompting you to look for jobs that offer upward mobility and professional development.

Upward mobility and professional development: Upward mobility and professional development are essential for career satisfaction. You want to see a clear path to advance within an organization, including opportunities for promotions, additional responsibilities, and skill enhancement. Without these prospects, you may feel your potential is being wasted, leading to a job change.

Better compensation

Financial incentives: Financial incentives are a significant driver of job transitions. Seeking positions that offer better compensation, including higher salaries and performance bonuses, can provide improved financial stability and rewards, making a job change compelling.

Salary and benefits as common motivators: While salary is a primary consideration, benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and other perks are also crucial. Comparing your current compensation package with those offered by other employers can help you decide to move if you find a more attractive offer.

Work-life balance

Need for a healthier work-life balance: The quest for a healthier work-life balance is a popular motivator that’s influencing countless job changes. When workers need a balance that allows them to fulfill both their professional and personal responsibilities effectively, finding a job that respects this balance can significantly enhance overall job satisfaction.

Long hours or inflexible schedules: Long working hours and inflexible schedules can lead to burnout and stress. When you find yourself constantly struggling to manage your work and personal life, you may consider changing jobs to find a position that offers more flexibility and respects your personal time.

Company culture fit

Impact of company culture on job satisfaction: Company culture plays a vital role in job satisfaction and retention. A positive and supportive work environment can boost morale and productivity, while a toxic culture can have the opposite effect, leading you to consider leaving.

Mismatched values or toxic environments: When your values do not align with the company’s or you experience a toxic work environment, you are more likely to leave. Mismatched values can lead to feelings of disconnection and frustration, prompting you to seek workplaces that better align with your personal and professional values.

Seeking new challenges

Desire for new challenges and responsibilities: The desire for new challenges and increased responsibilities is common among countless job seekers. Feeling underutilized or bored with your current role may motivate you to look for positions that offer more stimulating and rewarding work.

Role of boredom and stagnation: Boredom and stagnation in a job can lead to disengagement and dissatisfaction. If you’re looking for continuous learning and development, you may seek new opportunities that provide a dynamic and challenging work environment.

Relocation

Personal circumstances: Relocation due to personal circumstances, such as moving to a new city or country, can necessitate a job change. This can be voluntary — relocating for a partner’s job, or involuntary — being required to move due to organizational restructuring.

Voluntary and involuntary relocations: Both voluntary and involuntary relocations can impact your job decisions. While you may actively seek new locations to advance your career, external factors might also necessitate finding new employment in a different location.

Personal reasons

Personal life changes: Personal life changes, such as family needs, health issues, or other personal reasons, can significantly impact your job decisions. You may need to adjust your career to accommodate new family responsibilities or health considerations.

Aligning personal and professional goals: Aligning your personal and professional goals is essential for long-term job satisfaction. When your job supports your personal life and future aspirations, you are more likely to remain committed and engaged.

Sample answers for “Why are you leaving your current job?”

Sample answer 1: career advancement

I have enjoyed my time at [Current Company], but I am looking for a role that offers more opportunities for advancement and professional development. I believe that [New Company] provides the environment and challenges to help me grow my career.

Sample answer 2: skill utilization

I have developed strong [specific skills] at [Current Company], and I am eager to apply these skills in a new context. The position at [New Company] allows me to leverage my expertise in [specific area] and contribute to innovative projects.

Sample answer 3: company culture fit

While I have learned a lot at [Current Company], I am seeking an organization with a culture that aligns more closely with my values and work style. I am impressed with [New Company]’s commitment to [specific cultural aspect], and I am excited about the prospect of joining such a forward-thinking team.

Answer template for “Why are you leaving your current job?”

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time at [Current Company], where I’ve gained experience in [mention specific skills or experiences]. However, I am looking for new challenges that align with my career goals, specifically in [mention area of interest or role]. I am particularly drawn to [New Company] because of [mention specific aspects of the company or role], which I believe will provide the ideal environment for me to [mention how it will help in your career growth or personal development].

Video – “Why are you leaving your current job?” example answers

Check out this video from interview training platform, René Big Interview for examples on how to answer, “Why are you leaving your current job?”

This video breaks down answers into 4 parts:

  1. Be honest but diplomatic
  2. Focus on the positive
  3. Highlight growth opportunities
  4. Keep it concise

Answering “Why are you leaving your current job?” in an interview

When preparing to answer “Why are you leaving your current job?”, remember to be honest but maintain a positive tone, stay professional throughout, and align your reasons with the new role you are aiming for.

Reflecting on your motivations for leaving and practicing your answers will help ensure they are clear, concise, and impactful.

Take the time to prepare thoughtfully, and you’ll increase your chances of making a strong impression in your interview.

Looking for your next gig? Let us help. 

Every year, Mondo helps over 2,000 candidates find jobs they love.

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