Why do you want to leave your current job? is one of the most common questions that I come across from job seekers while coaching them for interview success.
Generally speaking, the response to the question offered by most job seekers falls broadly into the following two categories:
1] Standard canned kind of answers like for a better career and growth prospects or wanting to work for a bigger/ better organization brand or for a better compensation.
2] Reflecting discontentment like not being happy with the current role or the organisation. Sometimes, the work culture mismatch is an issue. On other occasions, it is also mentioned that one cannot get along with the boss. And at other times, it could be downsizing or restructuring in the organisation.
There is nothing wrong with any of the above reasons because they might be your genuine reasons. But because you as a job seeker tend to forget that you are worthy and do bring a lot of value to the job, the emphasis of your response shifts towards the dissatisfaction aspect. That is where the disconnect takes place.
On the basis of my experience of over 15 years mentoring job seekers, let me share few tips which will help you establish a rapport with the interviewer. And even at the cost of sounding repetitive, I would emphasise that for devising a convincing response, it is absolutely mandatory that you do an in-depth research on the requirements of the job and the organisation and accordingly customise your response. Only then can you present a ‘value proposition ’.
You may use the following guidelines and devise reasons that come closest to your situation.
1] Reason: Excited about the job profile.
Assuming you are dissatisfied with your current job profile and feel that the career prospects it currently offers are limited. The focus of your response needs to be on your skill sets and the huge opportunity the prospective job offers to make use of your talent . Your emotional excitement should be reflected. Here it reminds me of a saying “The only thing which is more contagious than enthusiasm is the lack of it” ( I do get this very common feedback from employers that the candidate was not at all enthusiastic and hence rejected). Importantly, you need to demonstrate how you have successfully used your skills in your current job.
Advantage: The emphasis is not on your dissatisfaction with the current job but on the excitement of the potential job reflecting interest level and that is valued by any prospective employer.
2] Reason: Better learning opportunity
It is possible that the opportunity to learn new things is getting limited at your current job. You must present your success stories of how you have always kept learning and applying new skills to your job. Then, focus on the new learning avenues the potential job offers.
Advantage: Shows the interviewer that you are an evolving kind of a person who will constantly contribute.
3] Reason: Better career and growth prospects
Present the information you have gathered in terms of the better career prospects that the potential organisation has in store in terms of growth. Share live examples of how you have always made use of opportunities to contribute and now you are seeking a different platform to grow ( keeping the emphasis on your contribution). Mention an aspect like mentoring or the investments in training that the potential organisation offers and you are keen to be a part of such a work culture.
Advantage: You show that you are attracted to the organisation’s values reflecting a better suitability for both, you and the prospective employer.
So you will notice that the underlying emphasis across all three responses is to demonstrate a connection with the potential job applied for. It is critical to respond in a holistic manner which includes the context for your reason along with your value proposition. Or else, it would fail to strike a chord the interviewer as he/she would have heard these same reasons from numerous candidates.
And, when there are reasons which are hovering around a huge discontentment (falling under the category 2 responses mentioned above), there is a different way to handle them. To know how to tackle those, you may want to read my article 4 Tricky Reasons For A Job Change And Simple Ways To Handle Them In An Interview.