Why Did You Leave Your Last Job? 5 Ways To Answer This Tricky Interview Question

So you need to find yourself a new job or career because you left your last one and unfortunately there's just no way of avoiding that dreaded job interview. As I'm sure you're aware, in order to do well in a job interview, preparation is key. Understand that there are many typical job interview questions that you can expect to be asked and one of the most popular ones is: "Why did you leave your last job?"

You will almost without fail be asked this question so before you go into your interview, make sure you know how you will answer it. The question is often tricky because many people leave their jobs not always on the best of terms and for reasons that are not going to make them look good in an interview. If you want the new job, you are going to have to make a good impression.

For example, if you left your last job primarily because you hated your boss, I would not suggest talking about this in your interview. Or if you left because nobody liked you, don't mention this either. Maybe you left because you found your last job overwhelming and had no idea what you were doing - again, don't mention it. I'm certainly not suggesting here that you lie in your interview but the point is that you need to find a way to sell yourself. You don't want to alert your future employer to potential problems about yourself that he might encounter if he hires you (again, I'm not suggesting that you lie but it's all about the way you present yourself and word your answer).

Obviously everyone's real reasons for leaving their last job are going to be different but if you're having trouble coming up with how you're going to answer this question in an interview, see if one or a combination of the following 5 ways can help you. I was once in a position where I left a job because I hated my boss and there was too much stress. Since I did not want to focus on this in my answer, I used these methods instead.

1. I loved ___ in my last job and want to do more of it

Let's say that helping people was a small part of your last job but a part that you were good at and really enjoyed. In the job you're interviewing for, you know that there is a much greater involvement necessary with helping people. Tell your interviewer that helping people is something you're good at, had a little opportunity to practice in your last job and are skills that you would like to further develop.

Of course, "helping people" is just an example and you should fill in the blank with whatever makes the most sense in your situation. You could use just about anything. A few more examples are: teamwork, working independently, being creative, troubleshooting, technical skills, sales - the list goes on and on.

2. The location was not ideal

Many people commute to work daily. For some, spending an hour or more to get to their job and then back home again is just normal. However, while many people live this way out of necessity, it's really not ideal to be spending so much of your day on the road or a train, etc. In fact, studies have shown that people who have long commute times to work report higher levels of stress.

So if you're one of these people and the job you're interviewing for happens to be closer to where you live, then by all means use this as part of your answer. Employers usually prefer to hire folks who live closer to the workplace anyway because their chances of staying long-term improve.

3. I am looking for more responsibility and challenge

While this one sounds good on the surface because it shows ambition, be careful. The problem is that from the point of view of your interviewer, you can end up looking like the kind of person who gets bored easily and just keeps moving from job to job.

With that in mind, if you're going to use this answer, make sure you put your interviewer's mind at ease by somehow slipping in that while you're also looking for more responsibility and new challenges that your intentions are to stay long-term (don't say it though if it's not true).

4. I worked at my last job for a very long time and honestly just need a change

Most people go through many job and career changes throughout their lives and your interviewer knows this and has probably done it herself. If you worked at your last job for quite a while - say, 5-10 years or more, then it's perfectly acceptable to state that you just need a change of scenery but that you certainly miss your former co-workers and are looking forward to being part of a new team of people.

Again, if you can show that you have a history of staying at your previous jobs for a while, then do it. No one wants to hire someone who is going to quit a few months or even a year later.

5. I did not like _____ about my last job but there is none of that required for this job

If there is something very specific that you did not like about your last job that is not a necessary part of the job you're interviewing for, then it's okay to use it as part of your answer.

Obviously, I'm not referring to bashing your previous boss or anything like that because in your new job, there will be a boss too. Also don't talk about how you couldn't get along with your co-workers because in your new job, there will be co-workers too.

Some examples of acceptable things you might be able to talk about depending on your circumstances are: too much shiftwork, too physically or labourally intensive, etc.

Final Words

I can't stress enough that you really should not lie in your interview. If you're trying to cover up the real reason why you left your last job and you're finding that it's just too big and you can't do it, then listen to your instincts and answer this question the way you feel most comfortable doing.

If something truly went wrong in your last job such as you did not get along with your boss, tell your interview that if you feel like you have to. You will have to be very careful and diplomatic with your wording but many (not all) interviewers will at least appreciate your honesty. Make it brief and be as positive as you can. NEVER disrespect your previous employer in an interview.

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Comments 121 comments

prairieprincess profile image

prairieprincess 5 years ago from Canada

Wow, these are excellent ideas for a very difficult question. Very good!


RedElf profile image

RedElf 5 years ago from Canada

This is a great series you have going - I look forward to reading more.


samuel.mark 5 years ago

I want to ask one question if i am changing job within three months what should i answer for that?

is it ok if i say i didn't like city or i want to relocate to particular city

thanks


PurpleOne profile image

PurpleOne 5 years ago from Canada Author

Thank you for reading and commenting, prairieprincess and RedElf! I definitely appreciate it. :)

@samuel.mark, as long as you're telling the truth, it's okay to tell the interviewer that the reason you left after only three months is that you want to relocate to another city. Make sure to speak as highly as possible about your last job though and say that you didn't want to leave, but you had to because it was in the wrong location for you. Again, only if it's really the truth!


barryrutherford profile image

barryrutherford 5 years ago from Queensland Australia

Very Useful: I need to practice & use a few of your tips...


ftclick profile image

ftclick 5 years ago

Yeah, Id' like to leave for higher pay and more challenging projects


arthurchappell profile image

arthurchappell 5 years ago from Manchester, England

Many of my jobs have been temporary contracts - a few ended in redundancy so simple honesty applies when this question arises. The tricky time is for anyone fired from a previous job. The question is often on application forms too, which at least gives you time to think of an answer while hesitation in an interview could be fatal


SUSIE405 profile image

SUSIE405 5 years ago from Delray Beach, Florida

great ideas. I am always afraid to answer that question.


JodiVee profile image

JodiVee 5 years ago

Those are some good answers -- I never would've thought of them. Another one: _____ was a temporary position; my time was simply up.

http://www.jobvirtue.com


Mark Antony profile image

Mark Antony 5 years ago from London

Very useful. I'm in that position now, I'll be 'testing' your answers in the next few weeks - wish me luck!


Manna in the wild profile image

Manna in the wild 5 years ago from Australia

Nice work. It is a scary question but you put some good suggestions out there.


crystolite profile image

crystolite 5 years ago from Houston TX

oh, this your article is very nice. i will always use it. Please, if it is possible. you can create more listings.


DaNoblest profile image

DaNoblest 5 years ago from California

Wonderful advice. This has long been one of the hardest and most dreaded questions interviewers ask me. I love when I have an easy answer like seasonal work. Some of the other reasons can be very tough make them sound good. Thanks for this hub!


TheSenior profile image

TheSenior 5 years ago

There is no other way to describe why I was fired from my last job cept to say that this young punk decided to put his hands on my personal properity at work(I'm 64) and throw it across the desk - so what I did was jab him in the side with my fingers and was fired for this - this punk was only suspended for 2 days.

So in an interview setting - this question is asked and the only way that it could be answered is that I and this co-worker had an 'altercation'. There would no getting around this and just as I imanged 'the manager' is talking 'stink' about me. So what I have done is creating web sites and already have a web/blog site out there with another site just about done.


MarloByDesign profile image

MarloByDesign 5 years ago from United States

Very well written Hub! Great ideas especially "I am looking for more responsibility and challenge" - I rated this Hub 'useful'.


rembrandz profile image

rembrandz 5 years ago from Dubai Media City

Very well-written hub!

Congrats!!


speedbird profile image

speedbird 5 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

I agree with you that it is important not lie during an interview honesty pays and many interviewers can distinguish the two from a distance.


Jasmine JellyBaby 5 years ago

At my last job interview when I was asked that, I told them my boss was a wanker and I couldn't stand him. I was hired immediately!!

8 months later I asked my current boss why they hired me and she said "because you were brave & honest enough to tell me your boss was a wanker, I hate rehearsed answers!"

But great hub though. Enjoyed reading it!


Ddraigcoch profile image

Ddraigcoch 5 years ago from UK

Voted up as some great advice here.


ozcam profile image

ozcam 5 years ago

Hmm.. never had a real job, always worked for myself. Guess I'm lucky I have never had to face this question


strawberryhill profile image

strawberryhill 5 years ago

#4 for me - after 10-11 years it was getting stale! I think that working for yourself has to be the way forward and will head down that path after the next roll of the dice!


Delaney Knows profile image

Delaney Knows 5 years ago from Midwest

Great suggestions for an important thing to consider when going to an interview. But just as valuable was your advice to be prepared for the questions you are likely to be asked. Thanks!


ltfawkes profile image

ltfawkes 5 years ago from NE Ohio

Going into an interview after reading this hub gives the applicant a big advantage. Very nice job.

L.T.


Zurich11 5 years ago

I usually just tell the interviewer I am looking for a new challenge, but some of your other suggestions sound very good as well. I like number one especially.


NicoleJ11 profile image

NicoleJ11 5 years ago from Chelmsford MA

I am in the process of getting a new job. And this came in very handy. Thank you!


steeeeve9 profile image

steeeeve9 5 years ago from canada

I like your strategies i have used some similar in the past and they always work, sometimes though telling the truth is the way to go. i do find telling the truth is an excellent way to see how your possible-new employer thinks which can help build a well-rounded working relationship. Obviously, one must first judge their personality to see how things work out... thanks a great read!! :D


carolapple profile image

carolapple 5 years ago from Suffolk Virginia

Very good advice. I may be losing my job due to massive downsizing so will be preparing for some interviews. Numbers 1 and 3 have worked well for me in the past, although the reason I have left 3 jobs in 3 years and may be about the leave a 4th has been lack of funding or loss of contracts. If that if your situation, there is nothing wrong with telling the truth, but I'd also express a desire to do something more challenging and expand your responsibility in the new job.


CarolineVABC profile image

CarolineVABC 5 years ago from Castaic

Hello PurpleOne! In a country where job crisis and economy meltdown is concerned, this is a very timely hub! I completely agree with you that being positive in the interview without lying is absoiutely a must!!! These are absolutely terrific ways to answer the question: "Why did you leave your last job?" I've used "needed a more challenging job" and I'm not sure if that was all that smart. I liked your suggestions here. One thing I did not do was bash my previous employer, even though I was not happy with my boss. Thank you for sharing such a remarkable hub. Your wisdom was greatly appreciated. Keep at it. God bless!!!


DexisView profile image

DexisView 5 years ago from New England

Definitely focus on the positive aspects and why it is that you are applying for the current position. Always use caution as to what you say as it could come back and bite you in the butt in a reference check. As an HR person, I found this hub to have well written advice!


Fay Paxton 5 years ago

Excellent hub and advice. I know several people struggling with how to answer this tough question. They'll be happy to read your article.

Up/useful


pleohub profile image

pleohub 5 years ago from Cebu City

I really appreciate the info. This will help me as I move on in my career. Thank you..


ChristineVianello profile image

ChristineVianello 5 years ago from Philadelphia

This was very informative, I enjoyed this hub!


arcadereview 5 years ago

I left my last job because my dream was to work for you :)


ketou 5 years ago

great article.. and the last comment is interesting!


dinadana 5 years ago

Very interestimg article.

As for me the main reason is 3!)


PaperFreak profile image

PaperFreak 5 years ago from US

I left my last job, because I was running a business from home and my partner never saw me. He said to me one day: one of them has to give. And he said he would support me while I increased the business so that it was my new job... my new love!


Docmo profile image

Docmo 5 years ago from UK

Only last week at one of my teaching sessions I was asked how to answer this question by someone going for an interview. We talked about talking the truth, yet presenting it in a way it shows the person's good skills of analysis, right attitudes and inspiring traits.

Thanks for this- you've made me feel better about my advise as this is spot on!


tgopfrich profile image

tgopfrich 5 years ago from Stettler, AB

I always had such a problem with that question in interviews. Always end up blabbing about something and then by the time you realize its too late..you know its already the end. hahaha these are very good tips!


Puppyluv profile image

Puppyluv 5 years ago from Hanover, PA

I've always hated that question! Thanks for the advice. :)


tehgyb profile image

tehgyb 5 years ago from Easton, Pennsylvania

Great Article! Good tips =)


lisawebber profile image

lisawebber 5 years ago

Fantastic hub. This should be on the bookmark of every jobseeker, will definitely come useful for preparing for that very elusive question. Worth sharing to my buddies who are currently hunting for jobs. Thanks dude!


thedutchman profile image

thedutchman 5 years ago

thanks for sharing your ideas. Keep it up.


ubalildon profile image

ubalildon 5 years ago

what a good hub...


ravenlt04 profile image

ravenlt04 5 years ago from Atlanta, GA

Thank you for sharing! I wonder about #'s 4 and 5 and the response one would get from an employer. I currently really need a change; I'm a high school educator, and students just don't seem to care anymore.

My career is an honorable one, but I want out.... What does that say about my dedication and true heart for helping the students of our future? I still care a great deal about our children, but will an employer see it that way? Will I sound like I've given up and am negative.

I cannot be abused any longer. I am disrespected by students, disrespected by co-workers, not supported by administration, underpaid and furloughed, and feel at risk of losing my position every year because of cuts. We teachers are essentially punished for our good works; because school systems overspent over the years, we are taking pay cuts and not receiving the raises we are due. Our pay was already not at levels to brag about.


DanuckInUSA profile image

DanuckInUSA 5 years ago from Medford, Oregon

Great Hub. I always go more with the truth. Obviously this is not an option if you got fired.


chim4real_2006 profile image

chim4real_2006 5 years ago

You have a great hub here. I like it.


xtremedezigns profile image

xtremedezigns 5 years ago from Texas & New York

Another great response that is acceptable for leaving a job.

6. Education: It was a summer paid job, or part time job during my "highschool" or "college" as a co-op/experience/ to make some extra cash on the side.


Mindfulness profile image

Mindfulness 5 years ago

Very good and timely tips. I'm sure many will find this hub very useful in job hunting.


skear profile image

skear 5 years ago from Kansas City

Good advice! Many people focus on the negative experiences they had at their last job during an interview which is a big mistake.


Elena 5 years ago

Dear Purpleone, you said it all just like it is. Good article. This article could help many people on their interviews.


signity 5 years ago

Its awesome. So much informative with great tips. Thanks!


doodlebugs profile image

doodlebugs 5 years ago from Southwest

I like the explanation of "I was looking for more of a challenge". That makes it sound like you are ready to be a good employee and work hard for your new bosses.


Painted Seahorse profile image

Painted Seahorse 5 years ago from Woodstock, GA

I always hate this question in interviews, because honestly sometimes we quit a job because we don't like the boss or the coworkers. You give some great information on how to spin things positively while not lying. Thanks!


ewd76 profile image

ewd76 5 years ago from Hanover, VA

It's really tough when you've been out of work for a while. Maybe something like; it's been so long, I don't remember why I left my last job.


davebaldwin profile image

davebaldwin 5 years ago from Ralegh, NC

I like what you said here.....personally, I quit my job in 2007 because my employer rewarded laziness and dishonesty while punishing initiative. Probably wouldn't get me hired, but it's the honest answer :)

Anyhow, thanks for the hub...keep on Hubbin'


Josef kay 5 years ago

I recently had my full-time contract terminated after 4 years. There was no reason given. I asked them if there were any reasons and they didn't answer.

Strangely enough it happened 2 hours after I asked one of the directors why a recruitment agency was seeking candidates for my job. Next thing I know I'm being terminated!

If any future employer contacts the company and asks why I left they'll say I was 'terminated' - sounds like a committed some act of gross misconduct or something.

How do I handle this puppy?


navasri123 profile image

navasri123 5 years ago

Nice hub, you have given good ideas to quit a job.. presently I am looking for a change. Your tips are very much useful for me now.....


GlenJSpangler profile image

GlenJSpangler 5 years ago

Great ideas. However I think we kid ourselves when we say this isn't lying. If we started any of these with "I left that job because..." it would clearly be a falsehood because the statement that follows was not the reason. Well, if someone asks you why you did something and you make a statement, "I did it because..." is understood. I was fired from my last job. If someone asked me why I left, and I said, "I was tired of working in law firms," the statement, out of context, would be true, but as an answer to the question, I would be lying. To put it another way, I think we all know that pretending to answer a question is intentionally misleading the interviewer. That being said, we're forced into it.

On a related note, I would warn against selling yourself based on qualities you don't really have. It will get you jobs that don't suit you, and eventually you will have a resume that only qualifies you for things you hate doing. Believe me, I know whereof I speak.


Dana Hinders profile image

Dana Hinders 5 years ago

Great answers for anyone getting ready to go on a job interview.


M_Cep 5 years ago from Maryland

I found this by mistake, and I needed this information. Thank you.


antoinettelew08 profile image

antoinettelew08 5 years ago from Dallas, TX

Love this hub of yours, I agree with what you said this is a tricky question to deal with during a job interview, giving a wrong answer might ruin your job application.


Runway profile image

Runway 5 years ago from New York

Thanks for the great tips!


jwblackwell profile image

jwblackwell 5 years ago from London

Really great hub, definitely one of the most difficult questions that you get asked and if you dont have an answer then it never looks good.


kapde1 profile image

kapde1 5 years ago from New Delhi

Very nice and informative posting... thanks for sharing...


kevrock529 profile image

kevrock529 5 years ago

Great answers for a tricky interview question. Good suggestions for sure!


Rudra profile image

Rudra 5 years ago

You could say it was a contracted job or fixed term.


jpcmc profile image

jpcmc 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

Great suggestions. Now when I interview people, I'd now if they read your hub.


rabbit.panda22 profile image

rabbit.panda22 5 years ago

Great article and advice. Sometimes leaving a job you hate can lead to really great things.


Ms Dee profile image

Ms Dee 5 years ago from Texas, USA

Very helpful questions to ask yourself and help evaluate your last experience. Helpful resource!


Kaleolani profile image

Kaleolani 5 years ago

I like this! Most of the time I put...I moved or I left because I was a full-time student, and those were my real reasons. I just never knew if they were good enough reasons!


mcle8282 profile image

mcle8282 5 years ago

This is good information. I said I needed a change at my interview for my current job (I had worked at my last job for 5 years), but I also said there wasn't much room for grownth there. I thought that was a good one, but it can be dangerous too because they might want someone who wants to keep that position for a while.


Philpott Online profile image

Philpott Online 5 years ago

I sure could have use that advise about five years ago. Thanks!


ugagirl66 profile image

ugagirl66 5 years ago from South Carolina

Excellent hub. Very good information and very true. Being an HR Professional for over 25 years, you see it all. But, this is great information for employment seekers.


Jennie Demario profile image

Jennie Demario 5 years ago from Floating in the clouds

Hi PurpleOne. Good read, I love the advice. I personally hate the whole interviewing process especially the tricky questions like this one. I feel like there is so much pressure to put a positive spin on every answer, especially the famous what's your biggest weaknesses question.


Ebower profile image

Ebower 5 years ago from Georgia

Great tips! I had to quit my 3 part-time jobs, because I could not get enough hours for each and could not afford to live where I was living. I have now moved back in with my parents. Is there a good way to explain why I left my past jobs in future interviews? I voted this hub up and useful.


Mansi2512 profile image

Mansi2512 5 years ago from Bangalore,India

I know a few people who find it extremely difficult to land another job because of their previous issues. Its a very good and practical approach towards the idea. Amazing hub. Though am not working yet..I loved it :)


Word Draw 5 years ago

I loved my coworkers, but I got burned out by the work and all the constant problems. Also, I hate people telling me what to do!


bolt1951 5 years ago

In All truthfulness I have left every single one of my jobs because of all the Hypocrisy, especially among the staff and employees that live all their lives kissing ass

men and woman alike. I would rather die poor than to know deep down inside that I spent most of my life living a lie by back stabbing and kissing a smucks ass who walks with his head up right and inside is so full of himself or herself. In fact work , politics and religion are all the same, All BULLSHIT.


RNMSN profile image

RNMSN 5 years ago from Tucson, Az

I have always wondered...why do potential employers even ask this question?

is it because the prior employer/place/human resource department is legally bound not to say anything except date of hire and last date worked so the new boss is pumping you for info?in the healthcare field this is what I have seen/it ends up being a small world after all...

are the potential new bosses trying to trip you up due to there being such a huge influx of persons looking for work?

if you were fired or asked to leave does it automatically throw you out of the equation for getting another job/especially if you are older? (this is what I believe personally)


bolt1951 5 years ago

For the most part jobs are like government, you can easily be set up or better yet betraded by one of you associates I've come to the conclusion that working for oneself is the best way to survive in this world. Any business has the potential for plummeting down the rabbit whole and no one is really immune.


Gerg profile image

Gerg 5 years ago from California

Interesting points, and well-articulated. I read this from the perspective of a hiring manager, which I am a significant part of the time. One of the challenges I face is trying to ascertain the true nature of the person I'm interviewing. For that reason, I tend to ask unique questions not commonly asked. You know what I truly want? Authenticity. If you left because you had a bad boss? Tell me, and let me get an intuitive feeling of whether you're just a handful to manage, or if you just found yourself in a difficult situation.

The key of what I'm saying is to get an authentic job with an authentic employer, be authentic. If you have to resort to trickery to get a position, it's not the right job fit for you!

My two cents ...


besidestillwaters profile image

besidestillwaters 5 years ago from Harrisburg,PA

I was recently fired after 9 years of outstanding and commendable Employee performance Reviews. I was advised to indicate will discuss on my aplications and then answer by stating the position simply did not work out. I had the opportunity to leave and I want to explore other opportunities where I can utilize my gifts and talents more productively. Thanks for other ideas also.


Paperdolls 5 years ago

This one is very helpful. I had a dilemma doing "some" career shift after working in a bank for 6 years. The companies were in doubt if I really want a different environment. I am glad I was able to read this hub. Cheers!!


Quddus profile image

Quddus 5 years ago

Great advice here! Those interviews can be scary but good preparation definitely makes things easier.


Marsha Rogers profile image

Marsha Rogers 5 years ago

I was recently fired from a job and my answer to this question when interviewing is the company changed focus from the technology field to the education field. This seems to always be a good response.


rorshak sobchak 5 years ago

I love job hoping. I stay at a job until I get tired of it and then move on! :)


angeladale2 profile image

angeladale2 5 years ago from columbus, ohio

I really found this hub useful in my own personal use for my next job interview thank you.


festersporling1 profile image

festersporling1 5 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

Smart answers. As an employer, when I hear people say "it was too stressful" or "they were too demanding", it always kind of raises my eyebrows as to what kind of worker I may be getting.


asmaiftikhar profile image

asmaiftikhar 5 years ago from Pakistan

well written article.and all these responses are require to adopt to get the new job.


donotfear profile image

donotfear 5 years ago from The Boondocks

Good hub. Gave me new insight. I wrote one about the same thing except for one difference: what to say when you get terminated! It's a tricky one!!!


ArockDaNinja profile image

ArockDaNinja 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

Q: 'Why did you leave your last job?'

A: 'I got fired; I stole this sweet red stapler.'


CloudExplorer profile image

CloudExplorer 5 years ago from New York City

It's sorta amazing what people can think of saying in times of such stress like responding to an employers question, I personally have somewhat difficulty remembering things to say, due to some of my work experiences being so long ago. I'm also way to honest, like my reason for leaving my previous job was the fact that it was far too dangerous. I actually just told a recruiter that, I hope it didn't ruin my chances to get the Gig. Oh well what can you do, at least now I can use this hub to help me out a bit. Thanks!


sharewhatuknow profile image

sharewhatuknow 5 years ago from Western Washington

I am definitely following your and your hub. I had to quit my last job because I kept getting recurring sinus infections/severe headaches. We worked in a very small office area-5 cubicles with a large copier/scanner/fax machine only several feet away, and another fax machine just a few feet away. These machines use toners that are toxic. However, with that being said, I don't want to tell a prospective employer that I was sick all the time. But was not quite sure what to say. Now I have some great ideas, thanks. Also, since I quit that job, a great job by the way, I haven't had another sinus infection.


J Burgraff profile image

J Burgraff 5 years ago

Remember that when contacted your last employer can only legally confirm your dates of employment (unless you put them as a reference, which you probably wouldn't do if fired.) If you have an ally at the company use them as a reference. And in this economy, being "downsized" is always a reasonable response.


jonte2020 profile image

jonte2020 5 years ago from Malm√∂, Sweden

Really informative Hub! Great work! Although I wouldn't go for number 5. What if a situation comes up where you need to do some of that thing you didn't like in your previous job? I don't think you should ever state that your really bad at something or really hate doing something. The more flexible you are, the more valuable you are to the company. Although. this is just my opinion :)


rosettaartist1 profile image

rosettaartist1 5 years ago from United Kingdom

I left my last job because they had me covering 4 people's work and the HR people didn't want to get my drift and do something about it. Haven't worked since and that was over 2 years ago. Hate that I was the one to suffer the consequences of their bad management, but hey... I'm free!


cmdugan profile image

cmdugan 5 years ago from Arlington, TX

I think number 3 is the key. Employers want to know that you are willing to step up to the plate and grow your career with them.


jashmiw profile image

jashmiw 5 years ago from Mumbai

Sometimes there are changes in your role and you may not like it. This can be a valid reason for a job change.


spokaneseo profile image

spokaneseo 5 years ago from Spokane

as someone sitting on the other side of the desk, I really dont care what you say about your old job, just keep it professional!


Johnboy 5 years ago

so how would you go about telling them that you lost your job because; you had to go spend 60 days' in jail for a lousy d.u.i.?


WendySingh profile image

WendySingh 5 years ago from Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

Wow - what a great thing to Hub about. Thanks for sharing. Really helps as someone close to me is asking me to "interview" them for practice. These answers will really help.


stanwshura profile image

stanwshura 5 years ago

Very practical, throrough and informative hub.

I'd like to offer one comment/opinion - and I realize that this is very uniquely a personal decision and approach, and not one that everybody wants or needs to take.

I'm a full-out honest person. If I got fired, I'd say so. Because, and this from personal experience - a mercifully fading memory - in my case, anything but complete honesty would have me on this ritual in 9-12 months, guaranteed.

I have some specific neurological, nonverbal and executive function deficits that my "intelligent" appearance and indeed my (dare I say!) extremely strong verbal, mathematical and analytical skills, as well as an intuitive facility with and deep affection for children, and wonderful "access" to (and well confirmed "worthiness" of) their trust and unmitigated and authentic affection. These assets not only sometimes hide my deficits - until I'm actually on the job and having to learn things without being shown every little detail, and which to some ignorant folks, elicits a disbelieving and even mocking response.

I wouldn't want to "polish" my "resume self" to the point of landing a job I'd hate, for which I'd be un- or under-qualified, and which would tax me in areas no amount of "grit" or "nose to the grindstone" application will improve.

I'd be interviewing them as much as they'd be interviewing me.

Of course, I say that as I have the best job I have ever had, and which catches me smiling throughout the weekend over and over.

If I were worrying about my next meal, or if the nearest Pine Street Inn has vacancies that night - I might be inclined to get whatever job I can, damn the "fit" or "fulfilling nature" of it.

Your points are valid, time tested, and a proven succcess. Just wanted to add a slightly different perspective. :)


summertime8 5 years ago

Oh my goodness, this is such great information.


stefegzmbu profile image

stefegzmbu 5 years ago

I left my job because of a bad boss...


ewelz51 profile image

ewelz51 4 years ago from Somewhere in the South...

Useful information in a stress filled, interviewing, overloaded time! Thanks.


kripkrip420 profile image

kripkrip420 4 years ago from In relation to what?

What a coincidence! I am actually in the process of looking for a job! I didn't even think about this question! Thank you for your help!


Kenkoskavic 4 years ago

That's very interesting. I am a boss and will shortly be interviewing. I will have to use a new strategy now when asking that question. Thank you. Ken.


overlordneelie profile image

overlordneelie 4 years ago from Wonderland

I just read this article today, it's great! When asked, I just usually answer that I need a challenge and/or a change of scenery, because you can't really say that you hate your boss that's why you left.


style-of-life profile image

style-of-life 4 years ago from Netherlands

Honesty really is the key. There is always a good reason for leaving a job. The other thing you shouldn't do is be negative about any of your previous employers.


Crizzy Becham profile image

Crizzy Becham 4 years ago from Texas

Well for me when you decide to leave your job it means that you need a challenging one. When you think that you can do more then you need to find yourself under the sun which can satisfy your mental and physical capacity when it comes to work.


kimberly Crocker profile image

kimberly Crocker 4 years ago from Southern New Hampshire

I found myself in this dilemma after i was fired from my first ever waitressing job. yikes! In the interview that question came up and i couldn't lie. i felt bad and i'm a really bad lier. But i told him, i wasn't what they were looking for i guess in a waitress. He hired me and i ended up a manager there for a little bit before i moved. So yes, honesty is the best policy ! Great HUb ! Very helpful to those switching jobs!


shop online fast profile image

shop online fast 4 years ago from Brooklyn, NY

yeah, you got it. i think your approach toward answering that question is smart. fact is that most people are not jumping up and down when they leave their old jobs. it's the opposite. they are usually mad, upset, felt abused and so on. but these emotions should never be displayed at a job interview. my question to you now is: what if you tactfully answer that question at a job interview and then the interviewer calls your old job and get a different answer?


Charles Webb-it profile image

Charles Webb-it 4 years ago from Edmonds,WA

Good info. should be a popular post/title all year long.


Sanford Rainey profile image

Sanford Rainey 4 years ago from Maryland, USA

Too bad we can't be honest about that question. The "boss sucked" just wouldn't go over well. Many times we leave and THAT is the exact reason. Pity that hiring managers don't push further.


pinktulipfairie profile image

pinktulipfairie 4 years ago from Torrey Pines Beach

Someone might have already said this, but I told my new boss and it was true that the job and I were no longer in synchronization meaning that what I was told and what actually happen never synced up and it provided a hardship on my family. My exact words were unfortunately I was told there would be some flexibility in my schedule, but that never came to fruition and While I am a team player and do not mind working extra hours it cannot be an everyday thing. My new boss hired me on the spot and got me going right away.


jeyaramd profile image

jeyaramd 4 years ago from Mississauga, Ontario

Thats a daunting question "why did you leave your last job". Its the worst when you are caught off guard. It does not makes it easier if already know to expect it. Sometimes, it can be one of those curve balls that can get you off balance. Great advice. I am bookmarking this. I wish I had this advice prior to looking for jobs. Thanks. Great hub by the way. :)


KeithTax profile image

KeithTax 4 years ago from Wisconsin

As an employer I want honest answers in a job interview, even if the answer is negative. "Why left your last job" is an important question to the employer. They want to understand how you interact with others and your thought processes. What you think is a deal-breaker is a plus in some employer's minds.

Consider this: #4 above (I just needed a change) could turn an employer off. You may also fear saying something that shows you as a non-team player. The employer should be thinking, "I need to provide challenging work for this employee." Most employers need more people that can tackle tough jobs. If your personality tends toward fixing unique problems, many employers will be happy to oblige.

Good luck at your job interview.

Well written hub, PurpleOne.


forhirejobs profile image

forhirejobs 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

Good Article. It is one of the oldest and most used questions people hear in an interview. However it never seems to fail that it is the one question people seem to struggle with. Before going into any interview this is a question you should role play and come up with a suitable answer.


uknow profile image

uknow 4 years ago

in other words, dont be completely honest. you'd think most people would know how to answer this question


Ebonny profile image

Ebonny 4 years ago from UK

Great suggestions here.

Employers want people who are able to problem solve so by giving a thoughtful answer to this question it will show a prospective employer that you have planned ahead, anticipated awkward questions and are able to come up with a good answer.


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