Answering the quitting question

  28th May 2019       Philippa Samuel
 Employment, Accounting & Finance, Engineering, Science & Space, Executive Search, Human Resources, IT & Software Solutions, Office & Commercial, Recruitment

There could be many different reasons for why you left your last job or employer and when looking for a new opportunity, you need to be prepared when it comes to answering the quitting questions. In an interview, you need to be able to articulate those reasons well without digging yourself into a hole, sounding bitter or disloyal.

All about perspective

Whether you were fired, made redundant or are planning on quitting your job, don’t let the negatives become the focus. Explain the benefits of what happened or why you want to leave. If you felt like you couldn’t grow any more in the job you were or are in, emphasise how you feel the job you’re applying for would give you those growth opportunities. If you were made redundant, hopefully it wasn’t because of any fault of your own. Talk about how you and your boss still have a good relationship (maybe they’re even one of your references!) if that is the case. There are plenty of negative reasons for quitting a job, but you don’t necessarily want to air all of those. Instead, find the positives and draw their focus there.

Be honest, not comprehensive

They don’t need to know every frustration. Be tactful and succinct. Express why you left, but again, don’t be very negative about it. Industries can be interconnected, so you never know if the interviewer knows your previous boss in some capacity. Plus, if you indulge in complaining about your other workplace to the interviewer of this new job, they’ll probably wonder how long it will be until you’re complaining at your new job.

Practice giving a to-the-point answer as to why you’re making this change. Don’t give in to the temptation to complain or point fingers at your workplace.

Consider your response

Think ahead about the reasons why you’re quitting/have already quit your job? A few could be: you got burnt out, you had to take care of a sick family member or just needed to spend more time with family, the job you’re currently applying for was just such a good opportunity, or you needed room to grow/a change. All of these are acceptable answers and are much better than just saying, “I hated my job and wanted to leave”. Your next employer wants you to be honest with them, but how you phrase your responses will help them to see the validity of your choice.

How you present yourself and your position can be a huge factor in getting a job in today’s competitive market. Being able to articulate why you left/are leaving a job in a way that shows respect for your previous employer is a positive trait. But always show excitement for the opportunity and challenge ahead. With some practice and forethought, you can effectively answer the quitting question.

Philippa Samuel

Senior Recruitment Consultant

Philippa has many years recruitment experience in both “Permanent” and “Temp/Interim” recruitment consultant roles across a range of sectors. With a fantastic reputation for excellent customer service, her current role is focussed on identifying, and working with, top quality Temporary and Interim finance staff for our clients throughout the Dorset …

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