Why did you leave your previous job: how to answer an interview to this question

Job search is not the most pleasant thing. This applies not only to specialists who are just starting a career, but also to those who continue it. It is these employees who are often asked about the reasons for leaving their previous place of work. This is a rather delicate issue that puts most applicants in a delicate situation. If you tell the truth, you can get a refusal. If you lie, then you need to do it convincingly. So how do you explain leaving your previous job?

Why ask this question?

why quit your previous job

The question that candidates so hate, on the contrary, is very popular with recruiters. What is the reason?

In fact, everything is simple. First of all, this allows you to evaluate the behavior of the candidate in a stressful situation. Dismissal from work, like any parting, is an unpleasant event for every person. Some researchers claim that this is very stressful. That is why a conversation on this subject is unpleasant for any candidate. However, recruiters are not interested. They are ready to drive the applicant into a stressful situation in order to check endurance and reaction to the irritating factor.

Another reason is that it allows you to get an answer that perfectly characterizes the candidate. As a rule, recruiters expect to hear that the applicant himself has decided to quit. However, even if this did not happen on his initiative, it is important to imagine that leaving the previous place of work was beneficial. If this is not done, it turns out that the applicant is in need, which reduces his chances of finding a job and getting a decent salary.

Why can't you tell the truth?

reasons for leaving your previous job

If an employee came for an interview unprepared, the question of leaving his previous job can really catch him by surprise. Typical candidates fall into confusion and talk about the true reasons for dismissal. Unfortunately, this information can cause a refusal by a potential employer.

We have always been taught to tell the truth. Unfortunately, in some situations, this rule, on the contrary, can do much harm. Especially if you talk about the reasons for dismissal from a previous job at an interview. A simple rule applies here. You must give an answer that suits the interviewer. Then your conversation will continue in a positive direction.

Otherwise, a distrust of the candidate arises, and all other questions begin to come down to a topic related to the previous job. If the applicant does not seem sincere enough, they can ask leading questions to find out why you actually left your previous job. In the end, it may turn out that characterizes the candidate is not the best. That is why it is important to prepare in advance the answer to the question why you left your previous job. It is possible that you will have to answer it repeatedly.

How to prepare for an answer?

how to explain leaving your previous job

Interviewing is a serious stress for most potential candidates. That is why it is important to think over your answers in advance so as not to get confused during a conversation with a recruiter.

So, first of all, you should feel comfortable answering this question. You may need to work hard to achieve this condition. It will be difficult for you to convince the interviewer of your own sincerity if you are afraid to answer the question why you quit your previous job. This betrays your insecurity and gives the impression that you are actually trying to trick a recruiter. Such an error at the interview can cause a refusal.

Your answer should be brief. Try not to go into details, only point out specific facts. It is best to memorize the information and rehearse your answer until you feel completely comfortable. This is especially true for those who need to hide the real reason for dismissal and avert suspicions.

How not to answer?

reason for leaving your previous job examples

If you are asked why you left your previous job, you should not look for the perfect answer. It simply does not exist. Instead, try to remember how exactly you can't answer:

  • Say something negative about your previous employer. Most likely, if you were satisfied with the previous work, you would not have left. However, this does not mean at all that the recruiter needs to talk about all the negative aspects that forced you to make this decision. If your answer is full of criticism of the former employer, the interviewer will not like it. He concludes that the candidate is inclined to blame others, not noticing his own mistakes.
  • Recognize your weaknesses. If you say that you left because you could not cope with the load, the potential employer will conclude that you have low working capacity.
  • Move away from the answer or give a template answer.

What to answer if you quit?

leaving the previous place of work

The question of dismissal of many candidates drives into a stupor. Examples of reasons for leaving your previous job will make you feel more confident in the interview. In fact, there are many options. Let's start with those that are relevant for candidates who left the previous place of their own free will:

  • β€œI worked in my previous position for five years, so I was interested in further professional development. Having discussed this question with the management, I received a negative answer. Due to the lack of career prospects at my previous job, I decided to quit. ”
  • β€œI know that some candidates are looking for a new job before leaving, but I decided not to do that. In my opinion, this is somewhat unethical. After all, I would use working time to solve personal problems. That's why I decided to quit first and then attend interviews. ”
  • β€œI didn’t plan to change my job, but when I found out about your company, I was inspired by new opportunities and realized that it was in this position that I could fully apply all my knowledge and skills.”

How to respond if you are fired?

interview reason for dismissal from a previous job

Employees do not always leave the company of their own free will. If you were fired, you need to answer in a different way at the interview:

  • β€œA new leader has appeared in the company who decided to bring the team with him, firing previous employees.”
  • β€œThe company has experienced a reduction due to the economic crisis. Unfortunately, I was among the employees who were laid off. ”
  • β€œMy qualifications did not match my previous position. I know that in your company I will be able to fully use all my skills and knowledge. ”

The reaction of the interlocutor

When answering the question why you left your previous job, pay attention to the reaction of the interlocutor. This can tell a lot.

For example, if perplexity or surprise is displayed on the face of a recruiter, this may be a signal that something is wrong with your answer. The absence of these emotions, on the contrary, indicates that you did everything right. However, some interviewers manage to maintain a stone face that does not express any emotions at all.

Another sign by which you can understand the reaction of the interlocutor is the presence or absence of additional questions on this topic. If you were convincing, this topic will no longer be raised throughout the remainder of the interview.

how to explain leaving your previous job

If, on the contrary, your answer was unconvincing, the recruiter can often return to the topic of your dismissal from your previous job to ask clarifying questions and knock out the true reason from the candidate. This is a kind of check, which allows you to better know the candidate and make a conclusion as to whether he is trying to hide important information.


An interview is usually a stressful situation for any candidate. In addition, some recruiters are not shy about asking provocative questions that make the applicant even more nervous. That is why it is better to prepare in advance for the story of dismissal from a previous job. Choose the answer that suits your situation. Having prepared in advance, you will not let yourself be taken by surprise.

Source: https://habr.com/ru/post/A11242/

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