How to Answer “Why Are You Looking for a New Job?” (With 45+ Examples)

How do you respond to someone asking you why you’re job hunting or considering looking for a new job?

Do you talk about your old boss or company, or do you focus on what you’re looking for in a new role? Do you tell them the truth, or do you spin an answer that makes it sound like everything is great?

According to experts, here are effective ways to answer “why are you looking for a new job?” along with a few examples.

Cori Caldwell

Cori Caldwell

Career Mindset Coach

Why are you looking for a new job?” is one of those seemingly innocent questions from recruiters and prospective employers that can either set you off on the wrong foot or completely derail your credibility if you’re not prepared with a well-thought-out answer.

Whether you are responding verbally or adding this detail as part of a written cover letter, it’s essential to take the time to consider how you’ll position yourself. 

A best practice is to develop and practice your go-to statement ahead of interview time.

Focus more time explaining what you want in your next job

The secret to crafting a stellar answer to this question is to focus more time explaining what you want in your next job vs. what you don’t like about your current/last one.

Related: How to Best Answer: “What Are You Looking for in Your Next Job?”

According to a recent study, the top 4 reasons why people either quit or are looking for a new job are:

  • Better salary
  • More opportunities for advancement
  • Leaving a toxic culture
  • Switching industries or careers

Check out the script examples below, categorized by these top 4 reasons that may be helpful as you work on customizing your thoughtful response.

You may identify with multiple reasons, but when it comes to giving prospective employers a bit more context into your why, it’s helpful to anchor yourself to one that feels most true.

Better salary

While it might seem obvious, your response should not include actual figures or ranges at this point. By focusing your statement on value, you turn the conversation toward what the prospective employer can expect by hiring you. 

One caution of highlighting ‘better salary‘ as your reason for looking for a new job is because the job market is hot for job seekers, and many are motivated to jump ship solely for the salary increase. 

Be sure to clarify your interest in employment long-term.

Example script:

I hope to join an organization that truly values their employees’ experience and skills long term and offers competitive salary and benefits accordingly. 

I believe my __ years of experience, along with my [certifications/specializations in ____, _____, and ____], will bring unique value to the company.

More opportunities for advancement

Whether the company priorities change or there doesn’t seem to be any room for growth in your organization, you can create a statement that highlights your goals as a primary reason you’ve joined the job search.

Example script (A) Organizational growth stalled:

My career goals involve [insert relevant goal; e.g., taking on additional management responsibility]. Although I’m ready to take on this next challenge, the org structure in my current company is not set up to allow for this in the foreseeable future. I am excited to see that [company Y] is investing in this new role…

Example script (B) Business refocus:

Since joining company X in [insert year], the focus/priority of the business has shifted from [insert business priority; __a___ to __z__; e.g., from data security to cloud security]. 

My career aspirations have always been to [insert relevant aspiration, goal; e.g., work with a leader in data security], so I’m excited to be applying for a role where I can have the biggest impact.

Toxic culture

Learning from the common mistakes, it’s best to describe the kind of culture/boss you want to be part of while avoiding the unpleasant details of the toxic situation you’re currently in. 

Employers would rather see that you are running toward them, not running away from someone else. Studying the desired company’s values to ensure they mesh with yours would be wise.

Example script:

I’m looking to join an organization that supports [insert ideal corporate culture characteristics here; e.g., a healthy work-life, values a diverse workforce, and operates with integrity]. 

As a hard-working professional, I want to feel like a valued team member who contributes to [add measurable outcome; e.g., the evolution of traditional HR practices]. I’m confident that I’ll find this opportunity with [company X].

Switching industries/careers

When it comes to explaining a shift from one industry to another, or a complete career reset, it’s critical to sell your vision of the future and connect the dots for the interviewer.

Tell the story of how your values have impacted your decisions and what drives meaning and purpose for you. 

Example script:

I am looking to better align my values with the right company. I realized that [what you did in your previous role; e.g., selling B2B software to the gatekeepers of IT departments] isn’t inspiring me anymore. 

Outside of work, I [describe where you get motivation, meaning, or experience for the new industry/career; e.g., I volunteer my skills to help promote a non-profit organization that champions women and POC-owned businesses in the environmental industry]. 

Making a conscious shift toward putting my energy full time behind [insert new industry/business] is what will get me out of bed in the morning.

Here are several pitfalls to avoid

Disparaging current/previous employer or manager

Avoid blaming or speaking ill of your current/former employer as part of your answer. 

You may think expressing frustration about your boss’s micromanaging style will gain some empathy with a recruiter/interviewer (because who hasn’t had this experience!). 

But this type of response can make you look immature, reactive, and negative

Being too literal

I once had a client who was interested in a higher-paying role at a new company. When asked during an interview why she was considering leaving her current job, she blurted out, “I deserve more money. There’s no doubt my peers at other companies are making $20K more than I am!” 

While this may have been true, the better approach, in this case, would have been to speak to her value as a high performer and desire to join an organization that recognizes and rewards top talent.

Being too vague

Brushing off this question by giving a flippant or vague answer can also be a red flag to an interviewer. 

Responding with one-liners like, “Well, who isn’t looking for a new job right now,” or “It’s just time for a change” might elicit an awkward chuckle, but it won’t help you build rapport or trust. 

Err on the side of authenticity vs. humor when answering this question.

Being specific about what matters to you invites the listener to understand your values better and, ultimately, whether you’ll be a fit for the role and company.

Beware the follow-up trap

You may have composed a brilliantly positive response, only to be caught off guard by an opportunistic follow-up question: “I’ve also heard the culture at XYZ company can be cutthroat…has that been part of your experience?” 

Even if this was true for you, the best response is to take the high road: “Luckily, I am/was focused on my career while at XYZ company and learned a lot during my time there.

Whatever your reason for seeking a fresh start with a new company, investing a few minutes in creating a brief, well-positioned response to the question “why are you looking for a new job?” could mean the difference between getting hired or leaving behind in the first round.

Anastasiia Khlopova

Anastasiia Khlopova

IT Recruiter, Jooble

Talk more about what you want to get and not what you want to get rid of

One of the simplest, but at the same time, the most intimidating questions that often drives candidates to a dead end. How is it better to answer to be understood correctly? 

Name the reason honestly and in detail, or speak in general terms? The primary rule here is one—honesty and directness

Don’t worry or panic; looking for a new job is normal.

Why do employers ask this question?

At first glance, the question gives the employer much information about you and: 

  • Your motives
  • Reveals you as a person 
  • Show what kind of employee you will be in the future

It is essential for the employer to understand the reasons that prompted you to look for a new company and whether it can give you what you lacked in the previous one. 

Remember: Companies want to hire the most relevant and motivated employee who will work for the company for a long time.

There can be many reasons why you change jobs, and they all have a place to be:

  • Staff reduction in the company
  • No possibility for growth
  • You want to change your position, but the company does not have the opportunity to provide you with it 
  • You want to change the scope
  • You had a conflict with one of your colleagues
  • Changing internal processes in the company that do not suit you
  • You want to gain experience in a new company from another field
  • Financial difficulties in the company
  • Your salary has not been reviewed for an extended time, although your level as a specialist has grown
  • A change in management that affected the processes of work, and you

There can be many options, and the main thing is to answer in detail

Instead of the dry “there was a conflict with the manager,” tell its essence, what reasons preceded it, how you tried to solve the conflict, and why you decided to leave.

Related: 30+ Workplace Conflict Examples and How to Resolve Them

What can be red flags?

  • To scold and criticize your previous employer, say how bad he or the company is. This position shows you as a person who only complains and shifts responsibility to others.
  • To say that the only reason is monetary motivation. This may lead to the idea that you will leave as soon as you are offered more money.
  • To name a beautiful office near the house is the only reason to change the employer. 

Perhaps you want an office closer to home or higher material rewards, but they can be red flags for the employer if you name only these reasons.

Example 1 (for developer):

I have been working in this company for four years. During this time, I have grown from the position of a junior specialist to middle +. I took on additional tasks such as mentoring newcomers, writing technical documentation, and supporting in running the internal service. 

I got a great experience here and upgraded my skills. I have a cool, friendly, professional team, which is quite difficult to part with. But for the last half a year, I told my manager that I would like to develop as a full-stack developer because I decided to move in this direction and even took courses to gain knowledge. 

I asked the management to give me tasks that concern the backend part and the frontend. Unfortunately, it was impossible to provide me with such tasks since they were all distributed among other developers. And over the past month, the project’s financing has been getting worse, and there were fewer and fewer new tasks. 

I realized that I had stopped developing in this company, and getting skills only from courses and books was not enough for me. Therefore, I decided to look for a new company where I could realize myself as a full-stack developer and improve my level. 

From your job description, I saw that this is precisely what you expect from the candidate. I was also delighted with the opportunity to mentor junior specialists; as I said earlier, I have such experience, and I like to share my knowledge and experience.

In this example, you reveal several critical points at once:

  • You honestly and in detail say what the reason was. It sounds much better than “I’m looking for something new” or “I didn’t have any development in this company.
  • You reveal some of your strengths and skills
  • You are directly talking about your primary motivation
  • Make it clear that you have carefully read the job description and clearly understand why you are applying for this position
  • You speak warm enough and, which is the most importantly, honestly about your former employer

Example 2 (for a marketer):

In our company, there was a staff reduction due to financial difficulties of a client, and I was retrenched. The company is good; I gained experience and learned a lot of new things, although I worked for it for only half a year. 

After the reduction, I tried to improve my skills to feel more confident as a specialist. I attended a major marketing conference (it is good to put the title of those conferences) and signed up for a course that I’m halfway through. 

I saw in your job description that you need an experienced person with setting up ad campaigns skills. Previously, I did not have such experience, but now I have gained knowledge, and I hope that I can put it into practice in your company.

Example 3 (for developer):

I have been working in this company for several years, and all this time, we have been using old technologies in our work because the implementation of new ones requires large budgets, much time, and new specialists. 

I raised this topic at our meetings several times, but there was no progress. I understand that technologies are developing every day, and if I don’t have experience with new ones, I won’t be able to find a good job in the future. 

I used different technologies to keep up with the times for my pet projects. I want to consolidate my knowledge and gain commercial experience with these technologies. 

I was very pleased with your modern stack, your useful product, and the fact that you invest in the development of your employees. Therefore, I sent my resume to you.

I advise you to talk more about what you want to get and not what you want to get rid of. 

Remember that the purpose of this question is not to embarrass you. On the contrary, it can help highlight your strengths and explain your core motivations.

Related: How to Best Answer “What Are Your Strengths?” in a Job Interview 

Answer honestly and directly; do not complain about your previous employer, and you will be one step closer to receiving an offer.

Jessica Sweet, CPCC, CEIP, LICSW

Jessica Sweet

Licensed Therapist | Certified Career Coach | Founder, Wishingwell Coaching

Lead with what you’re excited about

In a job interview, you’re likely to be asked, “why are you looking for a new job?” 

It’s vital that you answer with care because how you respond can be a landmine that could destroy your chances of landing the role, or your answer can allow you to shine and stand out as an excellent candidate. 

People are often looking for new jobs because they’re disgruntled with their current or most recent one. The inexperienced interviewee’s reaction is to talk about the negativity at work.

Yet, it’s never a good idea to talk about: 

  • How bad your boss is
  • How toxic the culture is
  • Or the lack of financial opportunity

For example, answering, “The culture has become really difficult,” or “My boss was very hard to work for,” sends up red flags for the interviewer.

Related: 50+ Warning Signs of a Bad Boss or Manager

Unfortunately, their first instinct is not to give you the benefit of the doubt and think that the work culture was bad, or the boss was difficult, but instead that you were the problem. 

And why wouldn’t they? There’s no downside for them for doing this (except for the loss of you, a great candidate). Instead, they protect themselves from any risk that you might be a bad employee. 

Instead of sending up potential red flags with anything that points to negativity, you want to focus on what you’re excited about related to the specific job you’re interviewing for and the specific company. 

Focus on the opportunities that attracted you to apply for the job

For example, you can focus on the opportunities that attracted you to apply for the job in the first place. 

  • Are there tasks and growth opportunities in this role that you can’t wait to sink your teeth into? 
  • Will you be responsible for a great team? 
  • Will you be creating something new? 

Talk about those opportunities, and make sure that your interviewers know just how excited you are and how capable you’d be. 

Focus on how the company’s values align with your own

Alternatively, you could focus on how the company’s values align with your own. If you don’t want to talk about the role itself, you can discuss how the company drew you in.

Mention: 

  • The culture
  • Values and mission the company puts forth
  • Their philanthropic efforts and more

You can discuss what they stand for and what you stand for too, and the fact that you want a job that is in alignment with those values and that gives you meaning and creates an impact. In the end, that’s as valid a reason as any for wanting a new job. 

Overall, you want a new job because you want something better. Lead with your vision of what that is, not with what you’re leaving behind and what you don’t want. 

Marlo Lyons

Marlo Lyons

Certified Career and Executive Coach | Author, “Wanted -> A New Career

Be short with one to three sentences at the most

The most authentic answer is the best answer. That said, you may look like a complainer or “the problem” if you describe a bad boss, toxic work environment, or any other negative work situation. 

Further, people who have been involuntarily terminated will want to provide an alternative perspective as to why they are unemployed. 

The answer to the question, “Why are you looking for a new job?” should be short, one to three sentences at the most. The longer the answer, the less authentic it will sound

Therefore, practice your answer and make sure you believe in it.

Here are some specific recommendations:

Wanting to learn a new skill

I have spent many years perfecting A, B, and C (skills), and I realize I cannot continue to grow in this organization because of the structure. So I wanted to explore where I can stretch these skills and also continue to demonstrate my capabilities to bring the most value.

Mission-based

I have been working in corporate America for two decades now, and I am at the point in my career where I want to work for a company with a strong mission. I want to know my work contributes to the greater good and has a social impact, even indirectly, so I applied to your company.

Taking time

I know looking for a job is a full-time job, and that was impossible working 70 hours a week. So, I took some time off to dig deep and figure out what I wanted to do. Now I am ready to apply for jobs where I know I can bring great value and feel fulfilled.

Involuntary termination

I departed my last company because I realized it was not the right culture fit for me. Now I am looking for a company with A, B, and C because that is the type of company that matches my values, and I know I will be able to thrive.” 

This shows your perspective on your departure. Another perspective could be the “taking time” example.

A recruiter found you

I actually wasn’t looking because I love my job, but once the recruiter reached out to me, I had to hear more because your company and the job seem so intriguing, and I’m looking forward to learning more.” 

This type of answer makes you a “passive” candidate who the recruiter may need to work harder to acquire; therefore, if you are truly interested, express your enthusiasm in all your follow-up emails.

Related: How to Follow up with a Recruiter

Erica McCurdy, PC (MCC, YPF, CBC, MBA)

Erica McCurdy

Certified Professional Coach

Focus on what you enjoy and want

Interviewers are not therapists. An interview is not the time to unpack all the negative baggage from your last role. Instead of talking about what didn’t work, share more about the things you enjoy and want to have more of in your new role. 

I really enjoy direct client interaction and hope to have more in whatever I do next.

Talk about yourself, not others

It’s a big-small world. As networked as people tend to be, you never know who’s connected to the people in your past. 

The best, most positive, and safest approach is to always talk about your future hopes and plans instead of calling out people you’ve worked with. 

I love being part of a team and look forward to joining a group of people I can support.

Stay on the upside of neutral in the questions and answers you give

Staying positive isn’t a “rainbows and sparkles” methodology. Simply stay on the upside of neutral in the questions you ask and the answers you give. 

On some level, remember that negativity is contagious. An employer will feel your negativity and may have concerns that you might bring that negativity with you. 

Everyone works with a different style; I’m looking forward to developing my leadership skills and taking advantage of all the opportunities ahead of me.”

Lori Cole

Lori Cole

Certified Career Coach and Co-Founder, iHire

Pinpoint what about your previous role was holding you back

These days, it’s not at all uncommon to search for a new job because you voluntarily resigned from your previous position—an all-time high 47.8 million U.S. workers quit their jobs last year amidst the ongoing “Great Resignation.” 

So, if your answer to “Why are you looking for a new job?” involves “I quit!” you’ll need to respond in a manner that doesn’t set off red flags.

When an employer asks why you resigned from your last role, they’re looking to find out if you left for a good reason and to determine your attitude toward your past position. 

Prepare to answer this question by pinpointing what about that role was holding you back, such as: 

  • A toxic work environment
  • A lack of advancement opportunities
  • A company culture that didn’t align with your values

However, be careful not to throw your former employer or coworkers under the bus in your explanation or speak ill of them in any way.

Although it’s best to keep your answer brief, anticipate follow-up questions from the interviewer about your resignation. 

  • Be straightforward
  • Stick to the facts
  • Avoid going into details that could hurt your chances of employment 

Give your answer a positive spin that focuses on the future and not the past. 

For example, if you left your previous job because you didn’t get the promotion you wanted and felt stuck on a rung on your career ladder, you might say: 

I resigned to explore opportunities to grow my career as a marketing professional. My employer did not offer any additional training or much room for advancement, and I want to be able to use and expand my skills to hold a management role one day.

Matt Collingwood

Matt Collingwood

Business Leader and Mentor | Managing Director, VIQU

Sometimes people can find themselves looking for a new job because they have fallen out of love with their existing employer. Maybe they’ve been overlooked, treated poorly, or there has been a lack of investment in their careers.

At this stage, they are clear why they “want out,” but so many people in this position don’t consider what they want; some even take the first offer as their escape. 

Sadly, many of these people jump from the frying pan into the fire. 

If you decide you must leave your current employment, pause for a moment and decide what you want—this will help when you are faced with questions like, “why are you looking for a new job?” when speaking with recruiters and prospective employers.

Don’t use a cliché response

I can always tell when a candidate is unsure of their response to this key question. Nine times out of ten, they’ll revert to the old cliché—”I’m looking for a new challenge.” 

I work with a huge variety of clients looking for IT talent, whether that’s an SME or a global conglomerate, and I can’t stress enough the number of times that this response results in the following sort of feedback from my clients: 

  • I don’t think they were being honest.” 
  • They seem unsure why they want to leave their current employer.
  • I don’t think they really know why they want to work for us.” 

That’s not to say that looking for a new role due to not being challenged in your current position is a bad thing; there are just alternative ways to phrase it. 

For instance, as an IT recruiter, I often speak with IT professionals who like their current employers but feel that their skill set is becoming stagnant

Saying something like, “I want to keep my skill set up to date with current technologies,” will give the interviewer the impression that you are a proactive individual who cares about your career progression.

Avoid badmouthing

If you are looking due to poor management, it might be really tempting to speak negatively about your former employer, but regardless of how much you dislike them, badmouthing never benefits anyone. 

It will likely give the interviewer a negative impression of you and cast concerns around whether you’d say the same things about them in the future. 

If your former management was poor, perhaps say, “I work better with supportive and strong leadership.” Focus on the future and not the past.

Related: Why Is Leadership Important in Business?

Be open and explain why

Inevitably, candidates and employers overpromise. This can lead to individuals finding themselves out of work due to not passing their probation or being let go after a period of performance management. It happens.

The key to successfully navigating this is to be open and explain why. 

For example, you might say: 

I accepted my last role knowing it was going to be a huge jump in my career, and although I gave it my all, it was a jump too far for me at present, but I learned a lot and will aim to be in that role in the future.” 

I advise disclosure because it can often come out when new employers secure references, and I’ve seen hundreds of offers retracted due to such issues.

David Haasch

David Haasch

Managing Director, Centermark Placements

When interviewing for a new career opportunity, it’s inevitable that you will be asked, “why are you looking?” Nailing your response to this question is one of the keys to a successful interview and will differentiate you from other equally qualified candidates.  

Demonstrate that you are moving towards a great opportunity

First, your response should demonstrate that you view yourself as moving towards a great opportunity instead of fleeing from a bad situation. Your mindset will greatly impact what you project. 

If your boss is a micromanager and you are looking for more independence, don’t say it that way. You might try, “I’ve reached a point in my career where I’m ready to take on a new challenge with greater responsibility.” 

One is positive, and the other is negative. One response sounds like an individual who can leverage off of prior success to hit the ground running, and the other sounds like someone who may have unreasonable expectations and is not a team player, argumentative, etc. 

Make it highly relevant

Next, your response should be highly relevant. Hiring managers get excited about qualified candidates whose personal goals align with their own. 

Make sure to tie some aspect of the company’s reputation or what you have learned about the position to a specific area of personal interest that aligns with your background and skill set.

Finally, if you are currently employed in a relevant position, you can use that fact to your advantage. Successful in your current role, not actively looking, and open to a new opportunity is a profile that always gets a hiring manager’s attention.  

Putting it all together: Why are you looking for a new position?

I actually wasn’t looking for a new position until a colleague of mine recommended your company and had great things to share. I’ve been with my organization for ten years and have built an excellent team over the years that includes a succession plan. 

So, there really isn’t anything holding me back if the right opportunity came along. I have to say, it was very interesting for me to hear that the focus of the position will be on people as opposed to projects and that you are positioning the organization to be seen as an employer of choice. 

You also mentioned the need to revamp your training programs. One of the initiatives I focused on in my current role was to assess why one of our sites had employee turnover upwards of 35 percent, 50 percent higher than the company average. 

I was able to install new processes, procedures, and a training program that turned the site with the highest turnover in the company into one that is now the leader in productivity and employee satisfaction. So, the type of work you describe is right within my wheelhouse and sounds like a role I could get excited about.

Tip: Come to the interview well researched and ready to ask great questions. 

Asking the right questions will give you more to talk about as you seek to align your objectives with those of the company and hiring manager.

Related: 50+ Good Questions to Ask in an Interview as an Interviewee

If you’ve genuinely found an opportunity that you’re excited about, this prep work will help you make an impact. “Why are you looking for a new job?” will be that underhand pitch you can easily knock out of the park.

Magda Klimkiewicz

Magda Klimkiewicz

Senior HR Business PartnerZety

Avoid negative talk about your current employer

You finally landed that job interview. You are so close to escaping the hell that you call your job that you can literally taste it. 

It might be tempting to let your built-up emotions run free and tell the recruiters how awful it is and how badly you need out (hence why you need that new job). 

That is actually a terrible idea. You have to hold it in just a little longer, as badmouthing your current employer can leave a bad impression on the recruiters and hiring managers.

In no way does it mean that you have to lie! Try thinking about things you are looking for rather than what is missing. 

For example, instead of saying how there are no promotion possibilities in your current company, say you are looking for a place where you will be able to grow to your fullest potential.

Focus on the future employer

Instead of just naming the things that led you to look for career development, focus on what attracted you to that specific job. It’s an excellent opportunity to showcase that you are the right candidate.

Maybe the company values resonate with your own, or the position you’re applying for perfectly aligns with your education and skill set? Talk about what sparked your interest when you read that job description.

Related: How to Answer “What Interests You About This Position?” in a Job Interview

Here are some examples:

I decided it was time for me to pursue new challenges and follow my passion. I am a big believer in diversity and inclusion in the workplace, so your company seemed like a natural choice for me due to its well-known practices of providing equal opportunities to everyone.

I came across your job posting and simply had to send my application. The qualifications required for this position match my skills and experience almost to the letter, and the tasks listed are something I would definitely enjoy doing on a daily basis.

Anna Berkolec

Anna Berkolec

HR Manager, ResumeLab

Show that you’re done with the past and excited about the future

There are many ways to reply to the above question; however, the most common response is often some version of the following cliche, “I’m looking for a better opportunity to grow and develop.”

It’s short, direct, and plausibly honest, though also very bland and predictable. While there is nothing wrong with it per se, it pays to be a bit more specific while not diving into too much information.

For starters, while money could be the primary reason why you’ve applied, look for the other reasons. For better or worse, it’s considered cringeworthy and in poor taste, so aim to keep it classy.

Equally important, never throw your former manager or colleagues under the bus. This question is not an invitation to air your grievances, no matter how toxic or objectively hurt you may have been.

Why? If you do, your potential future manager might think to themselves, “what’s stopping you from badmouthing me once you leave this role?” so obviously, that’s a non-starter.

Thus, instead, keep it strategically: 

  • Vague 
  • Optimistic
  • Upbeat
  • Future-oriented

Show what excites you the most in the current role and how it fits into the grand vision for your career.

You’re done with the past and excited about the future with this company. Of course, the stronger the “why,” the better your chances of landing the gig.

So, with all of that in mind, here is a sample answer you might look to use to ace this question:

For the past ____years I’ve been developing my ______(best skill) and _______skills. As you can see I also recently completed (or led) ______________(mention your biggest accomplishment). 

Now I’m looking for an opportunity where I can leverage my knowledge and skills to work for a company whose mission (or values/product/service) I’m genuinely excited about. 

So while I’ve learned a lot in my current role, I’m looking for the next step where I can continue to grow and develop while making a positive difference at a company I believe in, and this opportunity seems like an excellent fit.

Peg Newman

Peg Newman

Executive Recruiter | Founder, Sanford Rose Associates – Newman Group

Make it heartfelt and high-impact

It’s the inevitable question during an interview, and your answer may be the difference-maker with a hiring manager. What they don’t want to hear is “I hate my boss” or “I’m looking to make more money or get promoted.” 

They want an answer from the heart and one that shows motivation that they can get excited about.

There’s an old story about a common interview sales question where the hiring manager hands the sales candidate a pen and asks the candidate to sell them their own pen. 

The best response I’ve ever heard is when the candidate pulls out a Mont Blanc (a very expensive pen for those who may not know) and says, “I won’t sell you that pen because you deserve better than some old .29 cent pen. I will sell you this one.” You get the point (pun there for sure)

Rather than reply with the expected, see what else is out there. Flip your response and try one of these instead:

I’m not looking for a new job—I’ve had jobs—what I’m looking for is a career (profession) with a company that will give me the headroom to grow and develop professionally while I contribute to their growth. Your company seems to be a great place to do that. I want to explore that with you during our meeting. I feel I’m best at is ____, and how does that apply in your organization.

I’ve had an awesome experience with my current company. They’ve prepared me for the next step, and I believe I’ve contributed significantly to their growth and success; I know they’d tell you the same thing. And now, it’s time for me to find a company that can utilize what I’ve learned with my current company and apply it in a new environment.

Hiring managers want to know that you are confident of your past success, that you’ve made an impact in prior positions, and that you are intentional about your next step. 

They also need to know that you did your homework and know what they have to offer lines up nicely. Try one of the high-impact responses we’ve provided, or spend some time coming up with your own heartfelt version.

Agata Szczepanek

Agata Szczepanek

Job Search Expert and Career Advice Writer, My Perfect Resume

This is one of the trickiest questions the interviewer may ask you. Seemingly innocent, actually layered and multi-faced, revealing a lot about you and your motivations. 

Needless to say, giving an insightfulthought-out answer is crucial. 

Let me go even further, “Why are you looking for a new job?” can be your make-or-break moment—no need to be afraid, though. There are ways not to get into the trap.

Present your current employer in a good light

First things first—No matter how angry, frustrated, or tired you are of your current job, keep it to yourself. 

Stay professional and focus on its positives only. Always be diplomatic when discussing tough subjects. 

As tempting as it may be, revealing too much or in too emotional tone is a bad idea. Do not follow that path. It leads nowhere. At least not to the company you want to join.

Talk about your desire to grow

These days, more and more people are unwilling to stay in one company for their entire career. And there is nothing wrong with it. 

You might have: 

  • Outgrown the position
  • Need new professional challenges
  • Want to work where you can better utilize your skills and experience

I will always be grateful for everything I have learned in my current company. I gained valuable experience and expanded my skills. I got better at [skill], mastered [skill], and have a deeper understanding of [professional area]. 

At the same time, there are no new professional challenges I could face. I want to get a chance to work in another position and develop further.

I like what I do and appreciate the precious skills I have learned at the other company. Still, I cannot see opportunities to grow my career there. I am looking for a job that offers greater responsibility and more challenges.

Be determined, yet not desperate

Show enthusiasm and genuine interest in the company. The more determined, yet not desperate, you are, the better. 

Your positive, involved attitude indicates that you want to learn and grow, working for them, not for anyone. It is worth noting that engaged and motivated employees perform better and stay with a company longer. 

Isn’t long, successful cooperation your mutual goal?

I would like to work in your company, not any company. I believe that I am a perfect candidate for the given position. After learning more about your company’s vision, culture, and values, I am convinced that we are a professional match made in heaven. 

Although I appreciate my current employer and everything I have learned so far, I’m better suited to have an impact here, working for you.

End your answer with a powerful accent and speak to the emotions

If you feel like adding something more, end your answer with a powerful accent and speak to the emotions. It will make you more memorable for the interviewer.

Working for you could greatly broaden my professional horizons. I am eager to learn, hungry for new challenges, and passionate about [the industry]. I am ready for change, willing to overcome all my barriers, and bring all I have learned so far to your company.” 

carefully prepared and insightful answer to that question can help you impress the hiring manager and get the job.

Daniel Cook

Daniel Cook

HR Director, Mullen and Mullen

Talk about how the current company was limiting you in terms of exposure and learning

While many candidates tend to answer this question perfectly, some candidates still struggle with it. 

I believe when answering this, you should start by talking positively about your former company so the recruiter is aware that you would not badmouth their company if you end up quitting later on. 

Then you should talk about how the company was limiting you in terms of exposure and learning and that you believe you have the potential to grow more.

Lastly, you should also discuss how your personal values align with the new company and its vision. 

One way to perfectly answer this question is by saying: 

While I made a great network at my previous job, I felt like I could implement my skills to new roles and gain more exposure by working at a different place.” 

This shows the interviewer that you had a positive experience at your former job and that you are still open to learning new skills and making new connections at their company. 

Biron Clark

Biron Clark

Founder, Career Sidekick

Focus entirely on the positive aspects

Follow these key steps to give a convincing interview answer:

  1. Never badmouth your current/former employer. This question is not an invitation to badmouth.
  2. Focus entirely on the positive aspects you hope to find in your next opportunity. What do you hope to gain?
  3. Explain how this particular job fits your interests or goals

Examples of positive aspects that you can say you’re looking for in a new job:

  • I’m looking for an opportunity to lead more.”
  • I’m looking for a chance to take full ownership of larger projects.”
  • I’ve been with my current company for four years and loved it, but I’m looking for the next step forward in my career now and a new challenge.”
  • I’ve found that my true strength is in project planning and team leadership, so I’m hoping to move away from working directly with clients and into more of a managerial role.”
  • I’ve enjoyed the sales aspects of my current role and would like to find a full-time sales role next. I believe I’d enjoy that, and it would play to my strengths.”

Word-for-word example answer:

I’ve been in my current company for five years and have learned a lot, but I feel ready for a new challenge. I want to take on more leadership tasks in my next role, and my current employer doesn’t have this type of opportunity available at the moment, so I’m job hunting.

I saw your job description mentions a chance to mentor and train new employees while leading team meetings and projects, too. That’s the step I’m looking to take next in my career, so I knew I should apply.”

Jessica Ulloa

Jessica Ulloa

Community Manager, MyPerfectResume

Choose your words wisely

This question will inevitably come up during your job interview, but you need to be careful how you answer it and choose your words wisely, as your response could potentially cost you the position. 

So here are two examples of the wrong and right ways to answer this question:

Wrong answer: 

My job became boring and didn’t pay me enough. I’m forced to comply with a 9 to 5 working schedule and work from the office, which I don’t like.

In this example, it shows that you lack motivation and initiative. You want a high salary, yet you don’t want to comply with your company’s regulations. 

Correct answer:

I’ve been in my current job for a year and a half now, and though I’ve learned a lot, I believe I’m ready for a bigger challenge that, unfortunately, my current company doesn’t offer.

On top of that, flexible working hours are important to me, as they allow me to work more efficiently and be more effective, and that’s one of the reasons why I was drawn to your offer.” 

By changing the wording of your message, you come off as an employee who cares about professional development and likes to stay challenged. 

A company that offers a clear career path would be right for you. You also shared why flexible working hours work for you, which turned this sentence into something positive compared to the first example where it sounds like a complaint. 

Valerie Fontaine

Valerie Fontaine

Legal Search Consultant | Founding Member, SeltzerFontaine LLC

When answering this question, you must be careful because the interviewer might be looking for an underlying negative in your current employment—either with the employer or with you.

Couch your answer in positive terms

One of the cardinal rules of interviewing is: Never badmouth any employer or person. At the same time, you don’t want to leave the impression that there’s anything wrong with your abilities or personality. 

Therefore, it’s essential to couch your answer in positive terms—you’re not leaving a negative situation; instead, you’re moving towards a better opportunity.

Be sure, however, that whatever factors you mention as constituting a better opportunity for you are available with the potential employer and not available at your present job. 

Such factors might include: 

  • More sophisticated work
  • Broader experience
  • A chance to use your unique skills 
  • Better training
  • Opportunity for growth and advancement and the like

Other valid reasons to seek a job change are relocation or a need for a more flexible work schedule (but emphasize your willingness and ability to do what it takes to get the job done). 

Don’t say you’re seeking a lifestyle change. That translates as “I don’t want to work very hard.

Customize your answer

Tailor your answer to the particular situation. Demonstrate how the position you’re interviewing for is a better fit for you than your current job.

If you’re attempting to move to a smaller organization than your present employer, you can say that you’re seeking more hands-on experience with responsibility for a matter from start to finish or a wider variety of work than is available with your present employer. 

Conversely, if seeking to move to a larger company environment, you might be looking for broader experience or gaining a particular type of expertise. 

If interviewing with a boutique company, you can say that the potential employer is one of the best in its particular field.

Explain the circumstances

If you’re unemployed, make sure you and your previous employer give the same story for your move. 

If you lost your job due to a merger, sale, or reorganization, explain the circumstances. 

If you were laid off, or you’re company appears to be suffering economically, state the situation matter-of-factly. Be honest about it. Downsizing is a fact of life in this market and doesn’t necessarily reflect badly upon you.

The important thing is to keep it positive and demonstrate what value you can bring to the new job.

Hannah Dworkin

Hannah Dworkin

Recruiter | Leader, USScrapYard

Mention you want to acquire additional experience

As a recruiter, I ask this question to see the aspirations of a new candidate. And the best answer to this question would show me that the candidate is:

  • hoping to thrive in the workplace,
  • wants to have room for improvement, 
  • intends to acquire additional experience,
  • and it doesn’t hurt to add that this new job pays better, which is ultimately encouraging.

So a good answer would be something like this:

I have started looking for a new job because I want to have a chance at a new work environment that has bigger opportunities for me where I can evolve and grow professionally.

I always look for a job that would add to my current knowledge and provide additional experience when dealing with people or with new software. 

When I reached a point in my career where I felt that there was no more room for me to develop, I started looking for a new job. And finding one with better incentives is definitely encouraging too. This doesn’t mean that I will leave at every new opportunity or offer. 

 I would love to find a job where there is continuous room to learn and gain more experience.

As much as honesty is important for a recruiter, knowing the candidate wouldn’t leave all of a sudden is also crucial, so this must be mentioned as part of the answer.

According to a 2018 survey, the five most prevalent reasons why people leave their employment and hunt for a new one are: 

  1. The lack of advancement opportunities in the current position. 
  2. Ineffective management is a lack of trust between the employee and their supervisor. 
  3. They aren’t getting enough credit for their efforts. 
  4. Overwhelmed by one’s workload. 
  5. A toxic workplace environment. 

Negative words regarding your management or the organization are best avoided for these reasons:

  • Make it clear that you’ve already taken on all of these responsibilities in your prior position and are now searching for new challenges. 
  • Career advancement is the most common justification. Unfortunately, your current employer does not provide you with the opportunity to go on to something new at this point in your career. 
  • Losing one’s prior work location is a huge setback when seeking a new position. 
  • You’re worried about your job security because your current employer has financial difficulties. You can use this as an excuse if you’re in a lesser position at the organization. 
  • Looking for a new job may be justified if your present salary is significantly below the market average. 

As you can see from the following example, your response to this question is both concise and sensible. 

Keep your answer to a few phrases, and don’t ramble; give yourself a maximum of 30 seconds to respond. 

Claire Sofield

Claire Sofield

Managing Director and Co-Founder, Four Recruitment

Refrain from saying that you are looking to move purely based on salary

Career progression

A candidate could be looking for a new job because they’re hitting the ceiling in their current company and struggling to progress. If there is no movement above them and they want to take on a new challenge. Saying this will demonstrate ambition and intuition. 

For example, an HR Manager may aim to be HR Director in two years, but if the opportunity isn’t there or the company isn’t big enough to facilitate an HR Director, then it would benefit them to look elsewhere.

Training and development

A candidate may wish to look for a new job if they desire to do some professional training or get exposure to a different team, but their current company cannot offer this. 

For example, finance candidates might wish to explore other opportunities to further their ACA, ACCA, or CIMA qualifications (UK-based qualifications).

Work in a larger organization/team

A candidate may desire to work on larger projects and gain exposure to a higher turnover business. 

Finance and accounting roles in an industry under £2m will have a very different focus and work requirements than a company with over £50m turnover. Junior finance candidates may wish to experience both types of businesses to improve their knowledge and skills.

Other factors to consider are:

  1. Never speak negatively about your current employer. Even if your reason for leaving is bad management, you should never mention this in any communication with your potential new employer.
  2. Refrain from saying that you are looking to move purely based on salary. This can make you look fickle, and an employer doesn’t want to hear this. Salary should, of course, be spoken about, but it is advised to incorporate it into a different question or conversation.

Related: When to Ask About Salary and Benefits in an Interview

Christa Reed

Christa Reed

Head of Job Market Research, JobSearcher

Say something positive about your current organization

There are two things that should be included in such an answer—first, say something positive about your current organization. Then tell them the exclusives to the new opportunity. 

If you come from a place where you’ve been working for three or more years, it’s safe to say:

I have worked in the environment for a long time, and I feel it’s time for me to take on more responsibilities, but the growth is limited. I believe the opportunity you’re presenting sounds promising where I could live up to my potential.

If you are planning to change from an organization that you just joined a couple of months ago, you can say something along these lines: 

I am looking for a job that suits my skill set more, and although my current employer has entrusted me with tasks that helped me grow mentally and professionally, I feel that I could leverage my skills at your company better.

Related: How to Quit a Job You Just Started

Dorota Lysienia

Dorota Lysienia

Community Manager, MyPerfectResume

Growth is your primary motivation

It’s a tricky question because, on the one hand, it’s good to show that you’re excited about new career opportunities, but on the other, you don’t want to complain about your current employer. 

My advice is to focus on growth as your primary motivation for looking for a new job. The truth is that money is always necessary, but a bit more bucks in your pocket won’t make you happy if your job is not fulfilling. 

That’s why it’s reasonable to look for new development and learning opportunities to advance your career and highlight that aspect in your answer.

However, you need to be careful when answering this question, especially if you have a history of short-term stays at your previous workplaces. 

You don’t want your potential employer to think that you’re a job hopper that gets bored quickly. Companies are often afraid that they will invest in training new employees that will leave after a year. 

Thus, it would be best to show your potential employer that you’re genuinely interested in an offered position and focus on the assets you will bring to the table.

Related: How to Best Answer: What Can You Contribute to This Company?

Lattice Hudson

Lattice Hudson

Business Coach and Leadership Mentor | Founder, Lattice & Co

Talk about your long-term professional growth plan

Throughout the interview process, the recruiter will usually inquire why you’re searching for a new position. The organization’s goal is to recruit someone competent and experienced to perform the job efficiently. This much should be self-evident. 

However, the organization also wants to ensure that it recruits someone who is driven and will stay with the company for the long term

Hiring and training new personnel takes a significant amount of time and resources. As a result, most companies see it as a failure if a new worker quits full-time, permanent employment within the first year. 

Try not to get too worked up over an upcoming interview. Instead, be calm and go through as many commonly asked interview questions as you can.

Why do you want this job?” is a frequently asked question in HR interviews. It may appear to be another random question, but a solid response to this one may get you your ideal job. 

Example:

This work appeals to me because of the plethora of prospects it provides. Working for such a reputable business is one of the most appealing aspects of this career, but it is not the only one. 

This employment position, in particular, may help me prepare for a long-term professional growth plan, which is by far the most essential aspect of my life as a working individual. 

This employment also provides an appropriate work environment in which I, as an individual, may steadily develop and improve my talents for future use. The degree of competition is also strong since I’ve heard that you recruit resources that satisfy a minimal requirement, which is fairly high by industry standards. With so many excellent aspects hidden beneath this position, I just cannot resist taking it if I am fortunate enough.

Jennifer Hartman

Jennifer Hartman

HR Specialist, Fit Small Business

Don’t resort to telling the interviewer everything you don’t like about your current job

When interviewing, one of the questions you may be asked by the interviewer is why you are currently looking for a new job. This question can give the interviewer some insight into why you are not happy at your current job and seeking employment elsewhere.

Some answers you may consider:

  • I am ready for a change and want to advance my career.
  • I have extensive experience in the field I am applying for, and I am confident that I can do the job well.
  • I am looking for a challenge and know that I would be a valuable asset to the team.
  • I am looking for a position that offers competitive pay and benefits.
  • My current position does not match my skills and abilities.

One thing you don’t want to do is essentially throw your current company under the bus. Don’t resort to telling the interviewer everything you don’t like about your current job. This can make you appear unprofessional and not a team player.

Azmaira Maker, Ph.D.

Azmaira Maker

Psychologist | Founding Director, Aspiring Families

The first rule you need to apply when preparing for the answer is to find the answer yourself. 

When a question is as important as this one, and when you are sure it is bound to come up in your interview, it makes sense to do your homework and look for the correct answers beforehand. 

Only then can you work towards presenting this answer in the right manner.

Make a list of probable reasons

Begin with making a list of all the reasons why you think you are indeed on the hunt for a new opportunity. 

Don’t think of how this reason will look to a potential employer. You are making this list only for yourself, and it will pay to be extremely honest.

Moreover, when making this list, you will also be able to re-evaluate your decision to look for a new job and discover whether this is indeed the right decision.

Now that you have your list get down to striking out the reasons you think are not as important to you or your interviewer and leave them out of the equation. 

Concentrate on the reasons you are set to share and decide where you stand in this whole scenario of looking for a new job.

Share the right reasons in the right way

“Believe it or not, I have drawn a list of the most compelling reasons behind my decision to look for a new job, and I have no hesitation in sharing some of these reasons with you.”

These words tell an interviewer that the candidate believes in planning well and has the habit of making decisions based on calculated facts rather than whims. 

It also shows that you are willing to share your learning freely and have nothing to hide. Furthermore, when these reasons are convincing, they only help a candidate win more brownie points.

Aditi Paul, PhD

Aditi Paul

Tech and Relationship Expert | Organizational and Interpersonal Communications Professor, Pace University

Think about the values and expectations that were not met in your previous job

We frequently hear things like “business is all about people” and “networking is all about relationships.” I’d encourage people to sustain that same “relationship mentality” during the interview process.

Related: What Are the Benefits of Business Networking?

My advice is: do not look at job interviews as purely transactional. Instead, approach it as the stage in a relationship where you assess if you and the other party are a good fit for each other. 

In other words, think of it as your first date. So the question “why are you looking for a new job” can be replaced with “why are you looking for a new relationship?

Like your first date, this is not the time to bash your former partner. Instead:

  • Think about how you would have wanted your previous partner to treat you.
  • Think about how and why you outgrew your last relationship.
  • Think about the values and expectations you realized were vital to you that were not met in the previous relationship.
  • Align these values, expectations, and growth to the vision of the company you are currently interviewing for, and bam! You have an answer that demonstrates your character without placating the prospective employer.

Dr. Sukhwant Bal

Sukhwant Bal

Business Psychologist and Founder, Tools For Leading Change Limited

“I’m looking to test myself in a new context”

“I’m looking for my next challenge to grow and develop. I’ve grown my capabilities in problem-solving, strategic thinking, and change management in my current role. I’ve delivered several high-profile projects and undergone a massive learning curve.

I’m now ready to test and challenge myself in a new context, where I can leverage my strengths even further. In particular, I’m looking to work with a high-growth start-up where delivery, change, and strategic thinking are a necessity.”

“I’m looking for an even bigger leadership role”

I have demonstrated that I have what it takes to be a senior leader. My track record over the last five years, in particular, shows I am quick to learn and apply that learning in leading and managing people. All my recent 360-degree feedbacks show I have strong emotional intelligence. 

People describe me as being high support/high challenge. I back them to achieve ambitious goals but will coach and develop them to get there. My peers also describe me as a strong collaborator—working outside of my function and expertise – to deliver shared goals. 

I now want to be part of a leadership team where we can achieve ambitious goals, support each other as peers, and inspire the next level of leaders to take on more accountability.”

“I’m looking to have a financial stake in my new role”

I’m now ready to buy a stake in my future business, so I feel personally invested in delivering growth and success. I’m willing to shift from being a paid employee to being someone who has a stake in the company’s success. 

I work hard—that’s a given. But what I’m missing is a personal stake, which would give me more energy, commitment, and hunger to deliver for customers, employees, and shareholders.

“I’ve developed my successors”

My remit with my current employer was always to make myself dispensable after three years. In other words, to develop a strong team, all of whom were either able or willing to succeed me. I’m now in that great position, where the team is self-managing. 

I’ve now got a succession plan where X will be stepping into my current role in the next two months. That’s my trigger for starting the journey with a new team and a new organization. I am looking for ways to come in, make a difference over 2-3 years, build a high-performing team and seek my next challenge. 

I had achieved everything I had agreed with my current manager when she hired me, and we agreed on a ‘good leaver’ exit strategy.

Scott Winstead

Scott Winstead

Education Technology Expert | Founder, My eLearning World

When it comes to the job search, one question can be particularly tricky: “why are you looking for a new job?” 

On the surface, this may seem like an easy question to answer; after all, aren’t we all looking for better opportunities or a more satisfying work environment? 

But in reality, it can be difficult to fully articulate what you are looking for and why your current position just isn’t working for you. 

At the same time, clearly explaining your motivations and goals during an interview is essential to making a successful connection with potential employers.

Put yourself in the shoes of the hiring manager

What does the hiring manager want to hear?

One strategy that works particularly well when answering this question is to put yourself in the shoes of the hiring manager. By thinking about what they might be looking for and why they might want a new team member, you can craft a response that resonates with them. 

When considering where to look next, you might want to think about things like: 

  • Company size or location
  • Niche interests or needs within the industry
  • Career progression opportunities
  • Salary expectations 

The question, “why are you looking for a new position?” can seem daunting, especially if you are searching for a job because you have been laid off or fired from your previous position. 

However, with some careful reflection and preparation, it is possible to craft a compelling answer that shows that you are motivated, resourceful, and dedicated to growing in your career.

Assess why you feel ready for a new opportunity

To start, it is important to take a few moments to assess why you feel ready for a new opportunity:

  • Is another company better aligned with your long-term career goals? 
  • Did your previous employer neglect to provide opportunities for growth or learning? 
  • Are there other reasons that prompted you to seek a new job search? 

These are just some factors that can contribute to your motivation and need to move on from your previous role.

Identify the key reason behind your desire for change

After identifying the key reasons behind your desire for change, think about how this relates to the specific position at hand. 

For instance, if your motivation is rooted in professional development opportunities, emphasize the valuable skills and experience you hope to gain by taking on this new position. 

Alternatively, if financial compensation was an issue in your previous workplace, try highlighting it. 

Emphasize accomplishments and desire for growth

Another approach I used in the past is to emphasize my accomplishments in my current position and explain how I believe that expanding my skill set or taking on new challenges would be beneficial for both myself and the company.

I also try to show genuine interest in the job opening by referencing key responsibilities or requirements of the position.

Overall, by being positive, concise, and focusing on what excites me about the new role, I can give honest and compelling answers when asked, “why are you looking for a new job?” 

Ultimately, whether it’s an internal opportunity or a completely new challenge at another company, staying motivated and always working towards furthering your career goals will result in great success professionally.

AJ Silberman-Moffitt

AJ Silberman-Moffitt

Senior Editor, Tandem

Though there is no one right way to answer “why are you looking for a new job?” either in an interview or during the recruitment process, there are some do’s and don’ts that you might want to follow.

Do speak highly of a former or current job

When you speak highly of a former or current job, this lets the interviewer know that if the time comes when you are looking for a career in the future, you most likely will speak highly of them. 

Being respectful equates to being professional, which is what potential employers want to see from prospective employees.

Watch your wording

It’s easy for a message to get misconstrued, especially if you answer the question in writing on a job application. If submitting your reply in writing, read your answer a few times to ensure that the message and the tone aren’t derogatory or negative.

Find your truth and express it positively

Potential employers are excited to hear things like “I’m looking for a bigger challenge” and “I want to use my degree more directly.” These messages, however, need to be based on truth. Find your truth and express it in a positive manner.

Don’t throw an old employer or coworker under the bus

Though your potential new employer wants to know why you are looking for a new experience, they don’t want to hear dirty laundry. 

Even if your reason for leaving is the company or another employee, try to explain it in a positive light. 

Saying something like, “It wasn’t a great fit for me,” is honest without giving too much detail.

Don’t avoid the question 

Never say, “I’d rather not talk about it.” 

If an interviewer thinks you are hiding something, it might concern them that you will hide things from the company should they hire you. Find a way to answer the question in a considerate manner.

Don’t only say what they want to hear

Those mentioned above are what employers want to hear. That doesn’t mean that you should say things only because you know it’s what they want to hear. Say things that are truthful.

The most important thing to remember when answering “Why are you looking for a new job?” is that you should start thinking about this answer before beginning your next job search. It’s a popular and important question that you will want to be prepared to answer.

There are a variety of reasons why hiring managers ask this question.

One of the most important reasons is to figure out what makes you want to quit, whether: 

  • Your connection with your employer
  • Your level of pleasure at work
  • If you have outpaced your position or other factors

With that in mind, here are some ways to answer, “Why are you looking for a new job?

Inform them that this is your ideal job or company

Businesses aren’t simply seeking anybody to fill unfilled jobs; they’re seeking qualified candidates. 

They are looking for job seekers that are passionate about working for their company. Consider making your response less about your present job and more about why the hiring manager’s firm is a good match for you. 

Give an example of how you: 

  • Embrace their mission statement
  • Engage in humanitarian initiatives
  • Identify with their corporate culture

These may demonstrate to a prospective employer that you have not only researched their organization but that you will also fit in well with the organization and will not depart after six months.

It’s the next step that makes the most sense

Sometimes you’ve progressed as far as you possibly can in your present company’s profession, but you want to take your career even further. Because the firm is so small, there may be little opportunity for advancement. 

In other words, your present organization may have a restricted specialization, and you may have chosen that you want to work on bigger or larger initiatives to broaden your horizons.

Whatever it is, describe how your new position at the new firm will help you develop along your professional path while also emphasizing how your current skill set will benefit the new organization.

Mary Jurgensen

Mary Jurgensen

Community Outreach Director, Gary and Mary West PACE

Your answer should reflect your commitment to your career. This way, the potential employer knows that you are looking for a job not only because you wish to change your current one but also because you consciously view bagging the new position as a step towards a better career. 

Layout your career path

Everyone likes candidates who know what they want and are also clear on why they want it. 

While most candidates chart out their careers in line with the opportunities that come their way, there are others who choose the right options at the right times and build a conscious path towards a successful career. Prove to the interviewer that you are a part of the latter group. 

This is the perfect time for me to make this switch and find a position in your organization. This way, I will be able to bring to your company all the skills I have picked up in my experience and play a role in its growth.

These lines reflect that you are bringing to the company your own set of skills and experience and will wholeheartedly contribute to its growth and success. 

Reveal your will to learn as a strong reason

“Considering how I’m a firm believer of continuous learning, I can use all the knowledge my new peers and leaders will offer me here for personal and professional growth.” 

These lines reveal how you love learning and are looking forward to learning from your peers and leaders.

Everyone loves to have employees who believe in constant learning. This way, they know that they are hiring employees who are constantly working towards being better versions of themselves. 

Will Cannon

Will Cannon

CEO, Uplead

Articulate your response as concisely as possible without sacrificing the idea

Why do interviewers ask this question?

There are plenty of people applying for the same job. If it is a mid-level or a high position, most of the time, the applicants come from different companies and hope to land a new job. 

To trim the fat of the number of the candidates, we ask this question to know them well.

It is to know if they are job hoppers. Usually, I wouldn’t mind people for like to hop on different jobs; maybe they are just finding the right career. 

But if they apply and resign for an extremely short period, it will make us interviewers wonder if maybe you are not giving your work enough chance for you to see if it fits you.

One of my main reason for asking this is to know if our company can meet their expectations in their career growth. Most of the time, we commonly forget this important reason. 

I want to nurture talents in our company, but I am also well aware of what we can and cannot do. If the applicant is impressive, but the career objective does not align with the company’s vision, it is regrettable, but we cannot hire you.

How to answer this question?

I always say this, articulate your response as concisely as possible without sacrificing the idea. Your interviewer mostly has a lot on their plate, so saving their time and yours is a win-win approach.

Tell your employee real reasons but do not go into details. 

For example, you are now taking your chance in this new opportunity because your previous job no longer gives you new challenges and the spark that it has given you before no longer ignites your innovative mind. 

Never blame others like your previous employer because your interviewer will think that you will do the same if you are fortunate to be hired and then decide to leave their company.

James Fyfe

James Fyfe

Co-founder, Portant

You are finding a new ground to flourish

You hit a rock

One of the reasons I seek a new job is when I hit a rock that I cannot mow down. This may be because I no longer feel that I can grow more with the current designation that the company assigned to me. This is really a hard choice to make for employees.

If you are a career-oriented person, you always seek growth. If you try to negotiate to ask for a promotion and or paid training and the company can’t give it to you, it is not your fault that you are now finding new ground for you to flourish.

Unjust compensation

This is a common reason. I have plenty of peers that seek a new job for this exact reason. The word “unjust” exaggerates my experience, but it could even be an understatement for other people. 

This is a huge factor for employees that could trigger them to find new opportunities.

It is common because most people undervalue themselves, especially if they are fresh graduates or shifting careers. We tend to accept whatever is offered to us since we are desperate to have that job. 

It could be fair at first, but when you now learn how to do things in your work, they will add more load and tasks to you. That’s when you feel that the compensation is no longer parallel to the work you have been doing.

Toxic work environment

This could be a collection of several issues encountered by your employee. 

We enter a company hoping that we can have a professional work environment. But this is just an ideal scenario. 

The reality is more complicated than that:

  • It could be your workmate who has their eyes set on you, waiting for you to make a mistake. 
  • It could be your boss who has no empathy for you and your team. 
  • It could also be the office itself; you changed address, and it is no longer easily accessible to you, or the office is not conducive enough for you to focus.

Carol Gee, MA

Carol Gee

Owner, Venus Chronicles | Author, “Telling Stories, Sharing Confidences

Discuss how the new position appeared to offer more opportunities

The first time I was asked this was when I was interviewing for the second position at the campus where I already had a job. 

The first was Development Assistant, where I assisted the director with fundraising activities. These included planning fundraising lunches, and dinners for donors, including corporations and foundations, arranging meetings with potential donors, etc. I had worked in this position for over a year and enjoyed it.

Then my supervisor got a promotion and left to work at a different school. I kept the office running for a couple of months until a new director came aboard. 

A few weeks later, I saw a position on the same campus, but at a different school that would have been a promotion and seemed more managerial. 

It required skills that I had honed in my 17 years in the military (an AF Reservist, I later retired from military service). Skills such as: 

So when I was asked the above question for the new position, which required the candidate to manage the day to date office operations, supervise clerical staff and students, etc., I answered. 

I also added that this particular position appeared to offer more opportunities for me to learn and grow at the university (Emory). 

I was hired, promoted to a higher grade, worked and enjoyed this position, and liked my supervisor, who became more like family for over 13 years until the research grant’s that funded my salary ran out. (She and I are still like family to this day).

Dragos Badea

Dragos Badea

CEO, Yarooms

Be honest if you’re looking for a counteroffer

The best advice I can give is to not beat around the bush. 

  • If you want more money, make that very clear. 
  • If you think your work environment needs to be more flexible, don’t keep it a secret. 

You’re not doing yourself or your current employer any favors by being cagey—tell them the issue, and see if they will do anything to resolve it. If not, then it should be abundantly clear to everyone why you’re looking for a new job. 

If you’re not looking for a counteroffer and just want to get out of there, however, you don’t need to let people know why you’re looking for a new job unless you want to be professionally courteous. 

Be professional

If your main reason for looking for a new job is a toxic co-worker or manager, it can be a little tricker to be honest about why you’re leaving or looking for a new job. 

The temptation might be to mention that person specifically as a reason you’re leaving and mention it you should, but in a way that reflects well on you. 

Be professional—say that you don’t think your working style fits with your co-worker or with your manager, and you’d like to explore other options rather than saying something like, “Manager A has been ruining my life, etc.” 

Odds are you’ll still be very much understood, but at the same time, come off on the moral high ground. 

Jason Cordes

Jason Cordes

Founder, CocoLoan

Begin with a constructive phrase about your ongoing working environment or endeavor

It may be enticing to say that you’re searching for a new position because your ebb and flow one is excruciating, or the organization doesn’t merit you; however, it centers around the positive. 

Name two or three supportive abilities you have acquired or an aspect of your responsibilities that you appreciate and how they work has assisted you with developing.

Breeze in your proficiency

As you examine your obligations from your ongoing position, for sure you might want to achieve with another business, slip in an attachment for yourself that assists them with seeing you’re an extraordinary counterpart for the job.

Notice the humanitarian effort you’ve been making and how you need to integrate those encounters into your new position.

Or on the other hand, discuss how you cherished arranging the corporate softball competition and might want to expand on your circumstance arranging capability.

Example: 

I have been working at my ongoing organization for four years and have acquired a lot of involvement with project executives. Be that as it may, in my latest tasks, I have had the option to work straightforwardly with the marketing executive and gain copywriting and web optimization skills.

I want to integrate these abilities into another situation and turn them into a piece of the new group you are making to overhaul the organization’s computerized showcasing methodology.”

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