What NOT to Say When Asked Why You Want to Leave Your Role
It’s funny how some interview questions can turn a great interview into a disaster, with just a few words.
‘Why do you want to leave your current role?’ is definitely one of them.
Yes, it’s a really tricky question to answer. I hear you. You want to be authentic, you want to share and make your potential new employer understand, while creating the best picture of yourself and what you have to offer.
But in reality, it’s one of those questions that if answered without due thought, can undo a great interview in seconds.
Let’s start with what NOT to say.
‘I Want a Bigger Role With More Responsibility’
Yawn. The most overused answer ever, this simply will not cut it. You need to be more specific, otherwise risk coming across as inauthentic, or worse, like you don’t know what you want out of your career.
Don’t Mention Salary
If you’re in a permanent role, but interviewing for another, it is assumed that top talent will want a salary rise to move. You don’t need to say it.
Just like you shouldn’t bring the question of salary into conversation before they do, don’t use this as an opportunity to broach the salary discussion. You may very well be undervalued in your current role, but don’t use this as your reason for moving, as you risk coming across as a potential flight risk or more interested in money than the bigger picture of what the role has to offer you.
Never Talk Negatively About Your Previous/Current Employer
It’s so tempting to say that your current role isn’t a great cultural fit for you. But think about how this comes across. It may position you as difficult, or even worse, like you haven’t tried to amalgamate yourself into the culture. The bigger risk here is that your potential employer might question whether you have the EQ skills to adjust yourself to different personalities – an essential skill for any up and coming finance leader, no matter how difficult.
Likewise, you may have a very valid reason for leaving that involves some unfair treatment or reason for concern at remaining an employee in your current role. Now is not the time. No matter how bad things are, or how justifiable your reason is, don’t go there. Even if your story is highly relatable and understandable, you risk being seen in a negative light for sharing what could be seen as confidential or sensitive organisational information.
So, what can you do?
Flip it Forward
A simple change that can make all the difference. Instead of focusing on why you are leaving your current employer flip it to why you want to work with your potential employer. Giving the impression you are not desperate to leave and secure work, but that you are there interviewing because the role presents you with a great opportunity to add value in the areas of X, Y and Z, is a far more positive answer. It also means you don’t have to necessarily answer why you want to leave, but more about why you are leaving to move to something better.
Onwards and upwards!
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