Sometimes you hit a hot streak in life. You realize that you’re actually very skilled and very talented, and that you do your job amazingly well. In fact, you might realize that you do it so well that you could easily grow into another position, one with more responsibility and work, but also with commensurate titles, recognition, and pay.
While it can feel bad to leave your current employer in the lurch, a two-week notice can help greatly and it helps to remember that just like a company will always look at you from a bottom-line perspective, so too should you return that favour.
However, even when you’ve decided you want to leave and have lined up interviews, you’re left with the awkward question of why you’re leaving. Employers will judge you based on the answer you give here, and it can be hard to know exactly what to say.
Thankfully, you can read on to find out some useful tips for handling this scenario.
Why do they ask it?
First, though, we’ll explain what employers are generally looking for in this answer. It’s not a psychological trick intended to make you look bad. Rather, they want to explore the reasons behind the job move so that the hiring manager can figure out your career goals, and whether you’re leaving your current employer on good or rocky terms.
This answer can help inform a prospective employer as to what satisfaction and engagement at work look like to you. It can also help them gain insight into what your long-term goals are, and whether you’re suited for the new role.
As well, they might be doing some other checks to see whether you’d be a good employee. For instance, they want to know that you have a good reason for leaving and aren’t just fickle and jumping around, they want to know you’re not running away from a job that’s too difficult, and they for sure want to know that you can leave situations on good terms with other people. Tie this together with the insight it can give into whether you value work and have loyalty, and you can see why they’d ask this.
One great answer that will almost certainly be viewed positively is sharing that you want more responsibility and career growth.
No employer will look down on you for wanting to develop your skills or grow your professional repertoire. In fact, it’s a positive sign of high employee engagement and an increased likelihood that you’ll add significant unique value to the company. In many ways, this answer will make you look admirable and trustworthy, rather than as a liability.
Note that you aren’t being given appropriate resources to grow and learn in your current role, and share with the interviewer what exactly you want to develop in terms of skills and how you might tangibly do that in a new position.
Another important thing to do is to emphasize your positivity. Growth is one aspect of this, but the other is to make sure not to malign your former employer in any way. Don’t say things like you’re quitting because you don’t like the job, and don’t share negative things like your inability to get along with your supervisor.
Basically, don’t share anything that seems negative at all, whether this means the aforementioned or if it means more innocuous things like not knowing what you want to do. You want to give off the impression of a positive person who will not be flakey or negative in the company, so keep this in mind no matter what answer you decide to give.
A Career Change
This can be another strong answer for why you’re changing fields. Simply say that you want to move in a new direction in your career. This doesn’t make you fickle. In fact, many people switch careers during their lives, and it’s totally normal to realize that something else suits your passions and skill sets better.
Like the growth answer, this can serve as a strong sign that you’re dedicated to finding meaningful work, meaning you’re likely to have a high level of engagement and added value to the company.
Explain here your long-term goals in this career shift, and how your work with this prospective company will fit into that roadmap in a productive and useful way.
Better Work/Life Balance
This is one that most employers will be sympathetic towards, and those who are not are employers you wouldn’t want to work with in the long term anyway.
Basically, just say that you’re looking for a better mix of work and life. Good employers will understand this, both from an empathy point of view, where they realize that employees have lives outside of work, and from a productivity perspective, as the best employees are engaged in their personal lives as well.
Be clear here about what you’re looking for, whether this means remote work, flexible hours, shorter work weeks, or just the freedom to not work weekends on a near constant basis.
Company restructuring can often change your workplace entirely from the one you recognized and loved to a foreign and not so great entity.
If this is related to the reason you want to leave, then make sure to mention it. Explain why the structure isn’t working for you, but also balance out this slight negativity with an explanation of what you’ve tried to change and what you’re hoping to find at the new company.
Again, this shows investment, problem-solving, and a strong effort to be a team player in the face of challenges, as well as your appreciation for a good workplace.
The Final Word
There are many answers you can give to why you’re leaving your old position, and they’re all ones that can demonstrate your skills, values, and general attractiveness to new employers.
Now that you have run down all the great answers you can give to prospective future employers to best ensure your chances of landing your dream job, you may still be left with questions like how to best maximize your chances in the employment market, and if there are other methods you should use when talking about leaving your current job. We can help at AHK Accounting Recruiters. We’re professional and highly skilled in accounting recruitment in Toronto. So if you want to really super-charge your career, contact us at 833-399-1663, or try our contact page here.