Why are you looking for a new job?
Every interviewer wants to know why you are looking for a new job and what might be wrong with the current one.
As a result this interview question is asked in nearly every interview (or a variation of it).
The interviewer is looking to find out:
The interviewer is looking for red flags, hoping to pick up on any problems you are having at your current (or previous) role that might indicate you are a difficult person to manage or a poor performer. E.g. you didn’t get on with your previous boss or were asked to leave for any number of reasons.
Hopefully neither of these issues applies to you. If you really did have the boss from hell and you what to leave because of it or you have already left, you can’t talk about this situation with the interviewer. If you talk negatively about your current boss, even if it is justified, 19 time out of 20, you will be out of the running for the job that you are applying to.
Acceptable reasons to look for a new job
There is only a short list of reasons why you should be moving jobs that are “acceptable” reasons. Structure your answer using one of the following acceptable answers:
- Need a new challenge – e.g. I was getting stale and I need a fresh challenge. I have been asking for additional opportunities at my current company but have not received any to date.
- Location – the company had moved, or my circumstances had changed which is why I am apply for jobs in x area
- Would like to advance my career and there were no suitable opportunities at my current/last company
- Wanted to move to a more secure job – that last company was not that stable / did not have good prospects.
Keep the answer to this question short and sweet. Be ready to answer any follow up questions based on the initial answer to this question. As long as you deliver your answer confidently, it makes sense and doesn’t raise any red flags, you are unlikely to get follow up questions.
Make sure your body language is relaxed and confident when answering this question. Practice your answer until it is.
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Why are you looking for a new job? – Example answers
I have been doing my current role for 2 years and have learnt a lot within that time. I have got to the point where I really need a fresh challenge to keep my career moving forward. I have been in discussions with my line manager for a while, but a suitable opportunity has not yet come up. So that is why I am here.
I was bought into the company to turnaround the Marketing Department and get the revenue growing above 10% per annum. I love a challenge and am very good at fixing problems. It took me a year to get the business revenue from -5% to a growth of 12%, and I have been improving on that over the last year with revenue growth of 21%.
I have fixed most of the key areas, we have a clear marketing strategy and I have my successor in place. They will enjoy managing the day to day turning of the wheel much more than I will so I am looking for a fresh challenge where I can create a significant benefit for the business.
Practice answering the interview question
It remains important to practice your answer to “Why are you looking for a new job?” out loud, just like an actor would learning their lines. It may be better to learn the key points to include rather than learning word for word, so it come across as more natural.
Make sure that you use your words and story. By all means copy the structure of our answer.
Practice makes perfect as they say.
Thinking about moving jobs?
Learn more about our Job Hunting Hub and get access to additional content to help you get the job that you want.
- Mini-courses to increase your job opportunities
- Great additional articles, podcasts and videos to help you at each stage of the job hunting process
- Detailed answers and examples to 27 common interview questions for professionals and managers
- Lots of resources such as CV templates