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Interviewing? Be Prepared to Answer: “Why are You Leaving Your Job?”

When preparing for a job interview, there’s a laundry list of common questions:

  1. Tell me about yourself.
  2. Why do you want to work here?
  3. What are your greatest strengths?
  4. What are your opportunities for improvement?
  5. How did you hear about the job?
  6. What do you know about the company?
  7. What do you hope to learn?
  8. What has been your biggest professional achievement?
  9. Where do you see yourself in five years?
  10. Describe your dream job.

 

The list goes on and advanced planning is required to answer each question eloquently and knowledgably. However, there’s also one question that many Accounting and Finance professionals find challenging to plan for and uncomfortable to discuss: “Why are you leaving your job?”

Hiring managers ask this question for three reasons. They want a lens into your career goals, to understand what job satisfaction means to you, and to ascertain whether or not you are leaving the company on good terms.

With some self-reflection and forward-thinking, you can craft a tactful answer that will put you ahead of other applicants.

Here are some common Dos and Don’ts when it comes to discussing why you’re leaving your current employer.

Do These Things… 

Be honest (but not too detailed). Being truthful about strengths, aspirations and pain points will help ensure you land in a position that is suited for your interests and skillsets. You don’t have to go into too much detail; just be candid on what encouraged you to seek new opportunities.

Focus on career growth. Remain forward focused on how you want to be challenged with new experiences and how you want to gain new insights and expertise to further your career.

Talk about your values and cultural fit. Your values matter and should be aligned with the company you support. Share that openly and emphasize one or two things you like about the prospect company’s culture.

Emphasize advancement. Advancement is different from career growth. Talking about advancement highlights how you can help advance the prospect company’s goals and become a long-term asset to the organization.

Avoid these… 

Be negative. Speaking ill of a current or former employer is unhelpful. Blaming others for your career transition is likewise not going to put you in a good light. Don’t complain about the former employer, and instead focus on the experience you gained and what your learned.

Highlight salary. While salary is a leading factor for seeking a new job, it’s best left unmentioned in the initial interview and prior to an offer being made. It’s best to discuss pay during hiring negotiations.  

Criticize your manager. Never finger point at a particular person. Bad management is another leading cause for seeking new employment, but don’t go on a triad about a particular person. Always spin your situation toward a more positive outlook. For example, if you were micromanaged, highlight how you are looking for greater autonomy in your next position.

Planning for both the difficult and more common interview questions will leave you feeling more confident and prepared to highlight all that you have to offer. Alliance Resource Group can help.

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