How to Answer “Why Are You No Longer with Your Previous Company?” in an Interview was originally published on Ivy Exec.
There are many reasons not to quit your current job before you have another one lined up.
For one, you may not know precisely what you’re dissatisfied with in your current role, and without being able to pinpoint the issue, you may find yourself in a similarly-bad situation in your next position.
What’s more, if you quit without a new job on the horizon, you might lose confidence in yourself, something that potential new employers can sense.
However, there are some circumstances where you can and should quit your job while searching for another one. For instance:
- You have sufficient finances that you can take time off and search for a new direction that better fits your personal mission and goals.
- Your job is affecting you mentally and physically, and your supervisors aren’t listening to your requests to change the situation.
- Your job is so demanding you have no time to search for and apply for new positions.
Certainly, more professionals are quitting their jobs when the situation simply becomes untenable.
“People (especially younger generations) are simply less willing to compromise and put up with work cultures that are broken, and with leadership and management that is unable to steer the ship in healthy and productive ways,” said writer Farnoosh Tarobi for Forbes.
However, you might be concerned about quitting your job if you’re worried about how you’ll describe your resignation in a job interview. If this is your only issue with quitting, however, you don’t need to worry.
Here, we’ll talk about how you can answer the question, “Why are you no longer with your previous company?” if a hiring manager inquires.
Don’t badmouth your previous workplace.
If you didn’t get along with your last boss or colleagues, you might be tempted to lay into them at your next interview. Or maybe you were working long hours or performing menial tasks, and you want to be able to dish with your interviewers.
But avoid this instinct at all costs. No matter how warranted, complaints come across as petty gossip and won’t advance your candidacy.
“You don’t want to badmouth your current or past employer, as that doesn’t always sit well with the hiring manager. If you’re so quick to speak poorly of your past employer, the interviewer may draw the conclusion you might be the problem and will want to get the other side of the story,” said Karyn Moyer of AgHires.
Focus on what you’re looking for in a job, not on what your last role didn’t offer.
You can briefly highlight what your past role didn’t offer, but you don’t want to dwell on this too long. Rather, you want to talk about why you’re so excited about the job you’re interviewing for.
“Even in situations like these, it is a good idea to emphasize the positive and what you like about the open position. You may want to address the negative situation briefly, or you may want to avoid getting into the dirty details,” said Pamela Skillings of BigInterview.
So, for instance, you could say something like the following:
“With all of my responsibilities in my previous role, I was finding it difficult to commit to my obligations outside of the office. I’m excited about this position because I know that your company is committed to ensuring employees have a satisfying work/life balance.”
Feel free to mention that you’re looking for a new challenge.
Let’s say you left your last position because you were no longer developing your skills there. Again, it’s fine to mention why you left your previous company as long as you can emphasize that you know the role you’re interviewing for will be different.
After all, if you’re unemployed, the hiring manager wants to know what went wrong in your last job. At the same time, you want to emphasize that the dissatisfactions that caused you to quit the last time won’t be issues at your new workplace.
So, try an answer like this one:
“I learned so many valuable skills in my last role, and I gained supervisory experience that I’d never had before. However, after several years in the position, I felt that I’d learned everything I could, and the company didn’t have any openings where I could advance. That was why I’m excited to take the next step in my career trajectory at your organization.”
Center your discussion on advancement and fit.
When answering this question, you want to talk about how you appreciate what the company you’re interviewing can offer you.
So, for instance, you could talk about how applying for the current position represents a new direction in your career:
“I recognized that I wasn’t living my personal values in my previous role. So, I decided to leave the company so that I could identify my values and re-direct my career trajectory in a way that felt more meaningful to me. The work you do here aligns much more fully with how I want to contribute to the world.”
Answering, “Why Are You No Longer with Your Previous Company?”
It can be scary to consider quitting your job without having another one lined up. But there are circumstances where this might be your best alternative. As long as you focus on the positive at your previous company, avoid saying negative about your colleagues, and center your answers on your own career growth, then you don’t need to worry if you’re asked why you’re no longer with your previous company.
However, if you’re unsure whether you should quit your job right away or wait until you have another lined up, consider discussing the right path forward with one of Ivy Exec’s career coaches