How To Answer: Why Did You Leave Your Last Job (with Sample Answers)

why did you leave your last job

Why did you leave your last job?

One of the most frequently asked questions in a job interview is, “Why did you leave your last job?”

It’s an important question because it reveals a lot about a potential hire – and thoroughly preparing for it is crucial since you can guarantee it will be asked.

If you are not prepared, it shows a lack of reflection and preparation, which is an immediate red flag for an employer. Here’s how you can prepare, along with some example responses.

Questions Answered:

  • Why do employers ask this question?
  • Reasons why you left your last job
  • Why did you leave your last job example answers
  • How not to answer

Why Did You Leave Your Last Job (Best Example Answers)

So, now that we have discussed what not to say let’s go over what you should say. The key here is to be respectful, inspired, and eager. You can change and edit the responses as you see fit.

You Have New Career Goals 

  • Example Answer: “Over the past few months, I have taken the time to evaluate my career goals. While I work for a great company with a good team, I decided that I am no longer the best fit for that company. I need a role that offers me X (think: creativity, analytics, more responsibility). I believe this job can offer me X and that I would be a great contributing member of your team.” 
  • Why It’s Good: In this statement, you display that you have been thoughtful and mindful of your decisions. It shows that you do not make impulsive choices and are very loyal to your company. You also demonstrate that the job you are applying for is aligned with your new goals. 

You weren’t finding your job challenging.

  • Example Answer: “I had/have a really great job for a great company. I have learned a lot while in this role, but it is no longer challenging me. I want to work in a role that offers growth and better fulfills me.”
  • Why It’s Good: It shows that you are respectful and appreciative of the company but that you have “mastered” your current role. It also shows that you are ambitious and determined to seek a more challenging role. 

You were Fired

  • Example Answer: “If I am honest with you, I was fired from my last position due to a mistake on my part. I discussed my mistake with my boss and manager, who are great people, and they told me how to avoid the mistake in the future, which I really appreciated. While it is a shame that I was fired, I appreciate that they took the time to help me learn from my mistake. I now have new information and perspective which will make me a better worker.” 
  • Why It’s Good: The trick here is the balance of taking responsibility for your mistakes, respecting your past company, and showing that you can learn from those slip-ups. Everyone makes mistakes sometimes, but being able to learn from them truly shows commitment to your role. 

How Not To Answer The Interview Question

By Bashing Your Previous Company

  • Example Answer: “I do not like the company I work for. They have no respect for me or my time. The bosses are terrible, and the managers are worse. My colleagues are also horrible to work with. I am miserable.” 
  • Why It’s Bad: Even if the company you work for is bad, you do not want to be rude about them. This is because your potential employer will assume that you will also be rude about their company if you were ever fired. Plus, it shows a lack of diplomatic skills, which is vital for communication in the workplace. 

By Making too many Mistakes

  • Example Answer: I was fired because I made a huge mistake at work. The managers were furious at me and fired me on the spot.” 
  • Why It’s Bad: Being honest and being able to admit to your mistakes is a good trait, but in a job interview, this needs to be balanced. While it’s good to admit to your shortcomings, do so in a way that puts you in a good light, such as how graceful you left the company and how respectful you are towards them despite being fired. 

By saying your Job Was Boring

  • Example Answer: “I found my job really boring. I found no fulfillment in what I did, so I started to hate and resent the company.” 
  • Why It’s Bad: Again, too much honesty is not the best policy. While it’s fine to admit the job was no longer fulfilling, you should not be rude about the company. Instead, look to prove why the job you are applying for is a great fit.

employment quits chart

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Why Do Employers Ask Why You Left Your Last Job?

First, your employer will evaluate your motives for changing jobsIf you decide, out of the blue, that you no longer want to work for a company and leave on a whim, it’s a red flag.

That said, showing that you reflected on your decisions and ultimately decided that your goals and aspirations changed within your current company shows you can make informed and mindful decisions.  Loyalty is always appreciated.

Next, the employer will be curious whether you were fired or left on your own accord. Again, this will reveal a lot about your values and how you perform at work. If you were fired, can you take responsibility for your actions?

A positive and honest attitude is always appreciated, but putting the blame solely on the employer is a red flag. It signals that if a dispute happened between you and this potential company, a similar result (blaming them) might occur.  

Last, and on a similar note to the above, employers want to know about your diplomatic intelligence. When discussing your past employers, can you talk about them respectfully, or will you slander the company?

What are some other reasons why you left?

In real life, there are millions of reasons why people leave their jobs. Sometimes, it’s entirely civil, and you are simply looking for a career change.

However, it’s not as clean in other cases, and you may have had a falling out with the company. In addition to the reasons we listed above, you might also use the following:

  • You do not like your managers
  • The pay is bad
  • You are in the wrong field
  • You are just looking for a change
  • The commute is too long

These are all valid reasons why someone may leave, but you should avoid some of them or put more thought into your response. You do not want to come across as rude and desperate, so you must ensure your answers are mindful. 

According to the latest interview statistics, 91% of employers expect the interviewee to know the salary before the interview.”

— Job Description Library

Wrapping Up | Why did you leave your last job

The best way to answer the question, “Why did you leave your last job?” is to be respectful, thoughtful, and ambitious. This critical question and your answer are both essential in any interview process.

While you do not need to go into excess detail, make sure to word your answer to reflect your excellent and ambitious nature.

We hope this helps, and good luck with your upcoming interview!

Title: Answering why you left your last job

Category: Job Interview

Tags: How to Answer “Why did you leave your last job”, Why did you leave your last job, why did you leave your last job examples, how to explain why you left your last job

Co-Author: Reid is a contributor for theJub. He’s an employment and marketing enthusiast who studied business before taking on various recruiting, management, and marketing roles. More from the author. | Author Profile

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