Interview Question: Why Did You Leave Your Last Job?

new-jobAuthor: Alexis Perrotta
Source: Idealist Careers

No matter why you left your last job (or why you’re planning to leave your current job), the most important thing to remember when answering this question in an interview is, stay positive.

Below, you’ll find a few general categories that your response to this particular question may fall into, and based on that, further advice on how to answer in an honest, productive, and positive way.

You left your last job because of work-related issues

There are plenty of reasons why you may have left your last job. Perhaps you’re escaping a toxic workplace, you no longer feel connected to the mission of the organization, or you feel that you’ve plateaued professionally.

To answer this question in a positive way while also staying true to yourself, take the opportunity to highlight your professional needs (and how they went unmet at your previous job) without getting caught up in the specifics. Here is an example of what you could say:

“Communication is incredibly important to me and while I really enjoyed my last job, after [X YEARS], the quality of communication with my former supervisor was never quite what I wanted it to be.”

Once you have broached the subject, be prepared for a follow-up question; a good interviewer will go after some details. If you left your last job only after trying to address the issue that led to your ultimate resignation, highlight that in your follow-up. This is a great chance to show your interviewer that while you may have been dissatisfied, you didn’t throw in the towel too soon, nor were you complacent.

For example:

“The biggest pain point was communication between me and my supervisor. While I did try to address the issue by scheduling a formal meeting and suggesting a new weekly check-in format for us as well as inviting his feedback on how I can improve my own communication style, it didn’t improve. Ideally, I would like to have a mentor and a champion in my supervisor. I decided that for me, the issue was a dealbreaker.”

Pro Tip: Not only should you strive for honesty and authenticity in your interview because it’s the right thing to do, it’s also in your best interest. You should take every reasonable opportunity to truthfully represent what you’re looking for in a job, a team, and an organization.

You left your last job because of personal issues

If something came up in your personal life that made your last job untenable—schedule change, relocation, illness, or an ill relative—be honest. You don’t want to hide the truth until the 11th hour only to learn that whatever obstacle caused you to leave your last job—no remote work, inflexible hours, etc.—is also an issue at this new job.

In addition to honesty, it’s important that you make a connection to the organization. After all, if an interviewer asks, “Why do you want to work here?” you wouldn’t say, “To pay my bills.” Similarly, when an interviewer asks, “Why are you looking for a new job?” you don’t want to answer, “Because I hate my commute.” Instead, remember to speak to the specific job or organization. Here’s an example of what you could say:

“Later this year, I’ll be moving further from the city. While I really love the work and the mission, after [X YEARS] at my last job, I decided that I needed to find something that I love just as much, but that doesn’t require such a grueling commute. While it was bittersweet to leave, I’m also looking at my move as a great opportunity to connect with a new mission and reenergize my interest in, and commitment to the sector.”

In other words, you don’t want to say that you’re looking for a new job strictly for the sake of convenience. Don’t forget to let the interviewer know that you’re interested in this specific job.

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Your Complete Guide to the Interview Process

interviewSource: The Muse

Between the 20 or so of us, The Muse team has probably been on several hundred interviews in our day.

(We know. We cringe thinking about it, too.)

In other words, we’ve been through all of those OMG-what-should-I-wear panic attacks and bathroom-mirror rehearsals of the perfect answer to “What’s your biggest weakness?” that you’re probably dealing with as you prepare for your big day.

But all those pantsuits and practiced answers weren’t for naught. In the interest of sharing our hard-won job search expertise, we’ve put together a list of the biggest job interview questions we had going in—and answers that will help you go into yours totally prepared.

Consider it everything you ever wanted to know about interviewing—answered.

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The Secret to Nailing an Interview is Not What Everyone Thinks It Is

job-interviewAuthors: Elena Botelho and Kim Powell
Source: The Ladders

Congratulations, you’ve made the short list of candidates for your dream job. Now all you have to do is pass the final test: How do I walk into the room and convince the decision makers that I’m their best choice?

This is the question on the mind of anyone, everywhere, who’s ever competed for a job. Unfortunately, it’s exactly the wrong question to ask. We know because we advise corporate boards, executives, and CEOs — from middle-market firms to the Fortune 500 — to help them make their most critical hiring decisions. We’re in those rooms all the time. More importantly, we’re in the heads of the people who make the decisions. Job seekers, here’s the surprising thing to understand before you walk into the room: They’re as anxious about the hiring process as you are. Maybe even more so.

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What To Wear To Your Job Interview (And What Not To)

Job-interview-dress-code

Author: Kristofer Pall Lentz
Source: Undercover Recruiter

How you dress for a job interview is something that requires a good deal of consideration but is all too often overlooked. It is important not to fall into the trap of putting too little focus on what to wear. In fact, in job interviews there is a higher expectation for people to wear appropriate clothing. Most likely, it will be your best shot at convincing the recruiter or hiring manager that you’re the right one for the position.

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How to Ace a Skype Interview

Skype-interview-aceAuthor: Phoebe Spinks
Source: The Undercover Recruiter

The world is more connected today than it’s ever been. Thanks to travel and technology, you can patch into almost anyone, anywhere at any time. Increasing global mobility is changing the jobs market, too. The interview process isn’t always the traditional face-to-face method anymore.

What does this mean? Well, mastering the art of the question / answer meeting is not enough anymore, oh no. Now there’s a high chance you’ll have to come to terms with video and phone interviews, which come with their own set of unwritten rules and keys to success.

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The Ultimate Guide to Video Interviews

Header2Author: Pamela Skillings
Source: Big Interview

I’ve got some good news and some bad news. The good news is that most candidates (i.e. your competitors) are terrible at video interviews.

The bad news is that you’re likely in the same boat — but not for long.

Alex Andrei & Pamela Skillings bring you an in-depth guide for preparing for your next video interview.

The ability to shine in a video interview requires some skills and savvy beyond basic job interview best practices.

And now that more and more companies are using video interviews at some stage in the hiring process (60% or more, depending on which survey you read), you can certainly count on a video interview in your near future.

In this guide, we’ll explain how to properly prepare and stage every facet of the video interview to give you the best chance possible.

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10 Ways to Shine in your Dream Job Interview

Dream-Job.jpg

Author: CJ Goulding
Source: Lifehack

If I had a nickel for every time someone asked younger me, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” or its adult counterpart, “What are you going to do with your degree?” I would be sitting in the middle of one of Forbes’ lists of the richest people in the world. Every single person has a dream job in mind, and although the particular job may change from age 12 to age 22, we spend our lives preparing for that special opportunity to arise. Now it’s 2014, and you have been called to come in for that dream job interview. So here are some tips to ace that interview and get the job you’ve been hoping for and working towards.

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