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Why Are You Looking for a New Job? How to Answer This Question

popular job interview question

While this can be a nerve-wracking question, employers ask it for a few good reasons. They want to understand your career goals and objectives. Your answer will also reveal how much thought you’ve truly put into your job search. Finally, they want to see how you handle leaving a position where there may be conflict or negativity. So there’s a lot to pack into a short reply, eh? 

The following four tips will help you answer the “why are you looking for a new job?” without hesitation or giving out the wrong impression. 

How to Answer “Why Are You Looking For a New Job?” Interview Questions 

In your answer, you have to do several things. First, provide an adequate and honest reason for changing jobs. Then emphasize what attracted you to the offered positions and why you believe to be a good fit. 

Below are four extra tips to help you formulate your answer. 

1. Use the Answer to Showcase Your Skills 

Your best answer to this question will focus on skills you have developed and your desire to put them to work in a new role. Think of any recent certifications or licenses you’ve earned, courses you’ve completed, or in-demand skills that you have developed in the current role. Then, frame your answer in a way that emphasizes those.

Here is a brief example.

“I recently earned my Associate’s degree in graphic design. While I love marketing as a whole, I really want to focus on the visual side of marketing where I can put my design skills to use.”

2. Make it Relevant to the Position You Want

Remember that while your personal goals and passions are important, the interviewer ultimately wants to see that your career objectives align with their needs. When you give your reason for looking for a job, make your answer connect with the new position.

For example, if the new position involves supervising other employees, you might say:

“I’ve learned that I have a real talent for mentoring new employees. I enjoy helping people set career goals, then work to achieve them. When I learned that supervisors at your company were allowed to participate in a mentorship program, I was truly motivated to apply.”

3. Turn Negatives into a Positive

Sometimes, your reason for leaving a job isn’t completely positive. You can still provide a sincere answer with a positive spin. Think in terms of taking responsibility for your career goals and desires, while avoiding assigning blame or speaking negatively of your past employer. 

answering job interview question

Imagine that you worked at a job that gave little time off, and expected work to be the center of each employee’s life. You may have quit because the pay didn’t warrant the toxic, competitiveness of the environment. However, you don’t have to say that. Instead, you could focus on how you learned that you thrive in a place where collaboration is the focus, even though you appreciate the fact that your current work environment always challenges you to work at your best.

4. If You are Unemployed Put a Positive Spin on Things

This question can become particularly awkward if you are currently unemployed. That’s especially true if you were terminated or laid off. If that’s the position you are in, focus on skills you have been working on in the interim, and show how you are focused on finding a position that matches your work style and capabilities.

For example, if you are unemployed because your position was eliminated, you can briefly acknowledge that. Then, focus on how you have been working to obtain your project management certification, and are looking for opportunities where you can use that new skill set.

Why Are You Looking for a New Job? Best Answer Examples

Here are two examples of great answers to these common interview questions. Both emphasize different reasons for pursuing new employment while also keeping things moving in a positive direction.

Why are You Looking for a New Job? Best Answer When Leaving Under Positive Conditions

“I’ve spent the past three years working with an amazing team at Delta Software. The company truly hires some of the best and brightest. I truly feel like I developed my skills in ways that I wouldn’t have at any other organization. I definitely wouldn’t have the customer experience expertise I have without this experience. However, I’ve decided that this is the perfect time to take on new challenges. Particularly, I am interested in the opportunity to move into UX research. That’s why this opportunity really caught my attention.”

Why Are You Looking for a New Job? Best Answer When Leaving Under Negative Conditions

“Unfortunately, when Delta Software was recently purchased by Mega-soft, my position became redundant. I was disappointed in that outcome but also grateful for the experience I gained over five years. My coworkers were amazing, and the management team truly helped me focus on developing my product management skills. They gave me the resources and support I needed to successfully oversee the rollout of two multi-million dollar product launches. Now, I hope to bring my extensive knowledge of manufacturing software to the table here at Production Software, Inc.”

Conclusions 

Remember to focus primarily on your abilities, and what your potential employer needs from you. Avoid negativity and blame, instead, emphasize your core competencies and accumulated experiences!

Need more interview practice? Check other helpful guides on our blog:

Author

  • Elena runs content operations at Freesumes since 2017. She works closely with copywriters, designers, and invited career experts to ensure that all content meets our highest editorial standards. Up to date, she wrote over 200 career-related pieces around resume writing, career advice... more

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