Whether you leave on your own will or have been fired, you have to answer and tailor your response to meet this particular situation. Here are some tips to help you prepare face even sceptical interviewers.
Be concise: Give a 2-3 sentences brief and honest response. Rambling may seem that you are trying to justify your reasons. Always be direct and focus your answer based on the future, sounding positive and clear about your goals.
Don’t badmouth your employer: Criticizing your employer is an obvious faux pas showing a lack of maturity that reflects poorly on you. The golden rule to see you through this tough answering is – never badmouth your boss or your old organisation, even if the boss was pesky and the organisation meted you a bad deal. Regardless of the reasons, make it a personal issue and speak highly about the place. No potential employer wants to hear your gripe about a prior boss, even if the reasons for leaving are justified. Keep in mind that your interviewer is looking for a positive, motivated and hardworking candidate. Moreover, it raises concerns that you are difficult to get along with.
No clichés please: No overused phrases like “there is no room for growth”. Though it’s a positive answer as you are ready for more responsibilities, employers may read it as de-motivated. Without stating grievances, talk about opportunities you’re seeking out.
Don’t raise red flags: Steer clear of citing money or a shorter commute as your reason for seeking a new job. These answers are like alarm bells to recruiters and they might get put off thinking that you are fishing for a counteroffer to win a higher salary. Also, talking about commuting time means you are not responsible enough and non-committal
Prepare well: Any question can throw you off balance during the interview, but the most plausible one of leaving your old company is very pertinent. Experienced recruiters often probe this for a better understanding of you. You will be confident and focused if you script and practice answering this question before it is asked. If your leaving wasn’t under the best of circumstances, prepare some answers to keep the employer’s interests ahead of your own during the interview.
Be up front about a job loss: If you are laid-off as a result of the larger circumstances in the company, emphasize on the overall picture. Try to give the exact number of job cuts, if available. If you are the only one to suffer the misfortune of a job-cut, leave it at that. Don’t explain if not asked for, but never try to do a cover-up act as “You don’t want to be caught in a lie.”
Instead of trying to build reasons in the air, just say, “It’s a career move,” without going into the specifics. Always resort to the truth as it’s best to base the answer on real reasons, putting a positive spin on it. So how you deal with it depends on how you have resolved it with yourself first.