Interviewers want to understand the real you and your career motivations. They want to know if you’re an employee who is hardworking and reliable—not someone who will leave after a short time. Employees are expensive to replace, so your potential employer wants to make the very best hiring decision. For these reasons, you will almost certainly be asked during an interview why you left your last job. Prepare ahead of time what you’ll say when asked. Keep these tips in mind when answering this popular interview question.

What the hiring manager is looking for

Your major focus in discussing your past employment should be positivity. Explain how you need to grow in your career and what you would like for your future employment. You’ll want to be honest and sincere in your responses.

If you’re currently employed—what you should be prepared to answer

An interviewer will want to know why you are looking to make a career change. This is an opportunity for you to discuss  what you have enjoyed and learned in your current position and that you are looking to grow in your career. Highlight what you are looking to gain by moving into the position you are interviewing for.

During this conversation, it is important to remember to always keep things positive and to avoid speaking negatively about your current job.

If you’re currently unemployed—what you should be prepared to answer

If you were laid off, it’s very easy to explain that the company downsized and your position was eliminated.

If you were fired, give a brief, honest explanation of what happened. Focus on what you learned from the experience and how it has helped you grow. Never talk negatively about your past employment, even if the situation was not one you enjoyed.

Use this as an opportunity to discuss the positives about your past job. Describe what you learned and how it helped you grow as an employee. Be sure to highlight why you’re excited about the opportunity at hand and how you will have a positive impact in this role.

Looking for a new position?

If you’re ready for a new job or just need a change, McGrath Systems can help. We can help you find administrative, engineering, light industrial, marketing or HR positions, with a special focus on licensed insurance agents. To learn more, contact McGrath Systems today!


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