Part 4: “Why did you leave your last job?”


As we continue through this blog series, our focus is to reveal even more helpful tips in getting you well prepared for your next job interview. This week that focus rests upon our fourth question: “Why did you leave your last job?”


This question can definitely be one that catches you off guard, potentially tripping you up if you haven’t rehearsed properly. If you have left your former job on any bad terms or with a bad taste in your mouth, it is human nature to be tempted to vent about such frustrations. Take heed…your job interview is not the place for that!


If the hiring manager asks you this difficult question, it is important that you answer honestly. However, you must do so with tact, finding a way to explain yourself without ripping your former employer. If you choose to answer this question by spending the bulk of the time harping about your old boss or company, you will be doing yourself no favors. You are likely to leave the hiring manager thinking of you as bitter or petty, when instead you want to be showcasing other attractive qualities.


So, how do you go about doing your homework on this question? As with every other question we have discussed in this series, it is important to spend time brainstorming. Consider your former job and develop some solid thoughts on the reasons surrounding your choice to leave. Maybe it was out of your hands. Maybe you couldn’t wait to get out of the door and burn some serious bridges, or maybe you left reluctantly and still hold onto special relationships with former coworkers. Whatever your case may be, there is a story involved, and you will bring this story with you into your new job.


The ability to nail your next interview is yours if you want it. Even though you might not already know exactly what the employer is going to ask, you have gained a very good idea of the probable questions. Do not set yourself up for failure by oversharing or just trying to “wing it”. Even if it seems odd at first to rehearse and recite your answers, you will thank yourself later! Stick with it and get ready to wow your potential employer with your cool and collected confidence.