Job Interview: How to Answer Why You Left Your Last Job When You Actually Quit

Hi Ronnie Ann!

My friend needs your advice. Recently she quit her job. One of the difficulties she is facing is answering the interview question “Why did you leave your job?”

She happened to leave the job as she was not given a promotion, she believed she deserved. She did not gave her employer the same reason for quitting the job. Now when she is asked the reason for quitting her job in interviews, she is not sure whether to tell the truth or give some other excuse.

She asked for my advice and I thought you would be the best person to answer this.

It would be great if you could help out.

Regards,
Jay

***

Hi Jay!

Nice of you to want to help your friend.

I just posted something that may not at first seem related since it’s about someone who was essentially forced to resign after 15 years at the same company:

Job Interview: Reason for Leaving Your Job After 15 Years

But the advice is basically the same.

First…when dealing with the reason you left your last position, stay positive about the last job – never ever talk about how awful they were or how badly they treated you or how you didn’t get what you deserved. That’s all sour grapes to a potential new employer and would only brand her as high maintenance.

As in the example, (although her answer would be a little different of course) when she answers the question, she should lead and end with positive strength.  In the middle, it’s usually good to talk about something like looking for new opportunity and challenges and in her situation, room for growth. And if she feels more comfortable with a shorter answer, then she can just talk about what she’s looking for which will cover most of it.

In your friend’s case, since she gave her other company a reason, and since there will be reference checks, it’s probably a good idea to make sure what she tells a potential new employer at least gels with what she told her last employer. Since I don’t know what it was, I can’t give you an example. I just hope she told them something that won’t trip her up – for instance that she wants to stop working altogether or leave the industry that she’s still interviewing in. But odds are, if she’s clever, she can make that work.

Now…although I said be clever, I want to emphasize I don’t mean slick. What she says has to ring true to both herself and the interviewer, or she’ll come across as two-dimensional and maybe even phony. Luckily, looking for new challenges and job growth are both excellent reasons for anyone to seek a new job or career.

I wish her much luck. She’s lucky to have a good friend like you, Jay.  Please keep us posted!

~ Ronnie Ann

 

About the author…

Ronnie Ann, founder of Work Coach Cafe, bases her real-world advice on her many years as an organizational consultant where she helped interview and hire people, added to a certificate from NYU in Career Planning & Development and her own adventures as a serial job seeker. She can also be found on her new blog, and on Google+.

Comments

  1. i leave my job becoz i worked in a domestic company it was a good company there i deal with national customer. I learnt a lot of thinks form there but now i want more opportunity and want to deal with international customer .

    • Meye36@aol.com says:

      I am struggling with how to answer the reason I left on my job applications. I was let go for attendance due to a medical condition. I never missed one day of work before that. I had a heart attack and had a heart stint placement. During the hospital stay the cardiologist found an additonal surgery would need to be done for another issue. I was out for 9 days from work. I returned to work and advised both the Manager and General Manager that I needed an additional surgery and recovery time could be 5 to 6 weeks. The General Manager stated to have the tests needed and surgery, that he had no intention of letting me go and my job would be there. Over 9 weeks after that I missed 4 days of work due to tests that had to be done with admittance and recovery time. Then I was called into his office and let go due to attendance and said they could not accomodate me any longer. So now I do not know what to put on my reason for leaving. (This is a at-will State). I filed for unemployment and was approved because they stated I was let go for no fault of my own. I was still doing my job and performing it well. So do I list laid off, terminated and medical or attendance or what.

  2. Thanks for sharing that, Surya. Wanting more/ better opportunity is a fine reason to move on. And in your case adding the part of wanting to expand from domestic to international makes it even better.

    Good luck!

    ~ Ronnie Ann

  3. Last year, I worked in the communications dept of a state agency. In addition, I reported to the Governor’s Communications Director. (Yes, I reported to two separate supervisors. ) While employed, I noticed shady financial dealing occurring at the agency and the Governor’s Office. Stressed out and prevented from performing my duties in an ethical manner, I provided a two-week notice to the Governor’s Office. They wished me luck and provided me with references, if needed. They also notified the state agency of my resignation. At the end of the first week, the supervisor from the state agency fired me. Months later, the Governor was impeached for political corruption (national news story) and many of his cronies, including my former state agency supervisor were fired.

    How do I respond to the question, “Why did you leave your job at X?”

  4. Hi D! Wow. Tough situation. Sorry you had to go through that. But actually…you are one of the luckier ones when it comes to explaining why you left.

    Since the whole mess is well-known, using a friendly positive tone you can just say you really enjoyed working there, but because of what was going on during the impeachment process – which of course you mention you can’t talk about – you needed to move on. And then you might add something about how excited you are about this position (have good reasons of course) and maybe then move right into a question back at them about this new job to redirect the interview toward something positive.

    Of course, you’ll make that fit the interview tone and your style, but that should do it. These things happen and what the employer really wants to know is what you can do for them now.

    If at the time of an actual offer any messiness comes up because of the resignation/firing confusion, you have your dated resignation letter to show them. But you shouldn’t have to. If asked, just explain as you did here. If you present it in a positive way, there should be no problem.

    Best of luck, D! Please let us know what happens.

    ~ Ronnie Ann

  5. D Weathersby says:

    Hi, Ronnie:

    Thanks for the feedback. I’ll definitely keep everyone updated. -d

  6. D Weathersby says:

    Hi, Ronnie:

    Here is a long one…

    I just had my initial phone interview with a recruiter. I hope everything went well. Our initial conversation was to last 10-15 minutes, but we went over by 15 minutes. That is a good thing.

    We talked about my background/experience; my passion for my profession; initiatives I have initiated (yep, redundant); community, government, and media contacts; what I knew about the company; etc.

    I was prepared. Asked many pertinent questions about the position, the company’s goals, herself, and the person I would report to if offered the position. (My potential boss, a SVP, had a professional relationship with one of my close friends. However, they are no longer on speaking terms. I have asked him to swallow his pride and reach out to her on my behalf. Both are headstrong.)

    Prior to the interview, I read the blogs, company’s web site, and news articles regarding the company. Found out that management likes to take credit for everything, and other negative things about management clicks.

    I stressed that although it’s nice to receive accolades for a job well done, it’s more important for me to “make my manager look good than to take credit for my individual work.” She loved that statement.

    I do not care who takes credit for my work. (I will be working in the foreground, so, it’ll be easy to see who is actually doing the work.)

    I turned every negative thing I learned about the company into a positive.

    You ask, “Why do you want to work there?” Answers: the position perfectly fits my background, global company, excellent benefits and wages, opportunity to hone my professional and personal skills, 50% traveling throughout the U.S., challenging position, and most important, I need a job.

    Food for Thought: Although former employees have written negative things about the company, I will not allow it to formulate my opinion. I believe in giving people opportunities. You can’t base your opinion on others’ perspective(s).

    Lastly, if I can work with an impeached former governor; political hacks stealing money; a fired CEO of a major Fortune 500 company; a director who constantly talked about “screwing the intern”; and an organization that wasted its members’ dues by spending $40.00 (total $40,000) per pound of potato chips for a party, I can work with anyone.

  7. Thanks for sharing this with us D!

    I love your reasoning and attitude. You are looking at it from the POV of what’s best for you and not getting caught up in all the other “stuff”. Smart. Just the fact that you’re going into it eyes wide open will be a big help. And at the very least…it will be more great material for your book. ;-)

    Good luck finding the right job for you – or at least a good one for now. Please keep us posted. I’m rooting for you.

    ~ Ronnie Ann

  8. I just read the fortune cookies and they reminded me of one of my favorite quotes:

    “The true test of character is not how much we know how to do, but how we behave when we don’t know what to do.”
    -John W. Holt, Jr.

  9. So well said, Nikki. A good reminder for life – and also a nice basic guide for what interviewers are really looking for! Thanks. ;-)

    ~ Ronnie Ann

  10. D Weathersby says:

    Hi, Ronnie Ann:

    Here is an update:

    During the past four weeks, I’ve had four interviews. Here’s the breakdown:

    Interview #1 – Three weeks ago, phone interview with a recruiter for a not-for-profit organization. I asked questions in which he did not know the answers. Not interested in the position, but it provided an opportunity to “test” the water.

    Interview #2 – Two weeks ago, phone interview with a corporate recruiter, who was knowledgeable and asked pertinent questions. It went well. The recruiter provided the name of the Senior Vice President I would report to if hired for the position.

    Interview #3 – Last week, phone interview with the Senior Vice President of the major corporation. She was awesome. Tough, but fair. She did not ask me the standard questions. (i.e.: Tell me about yourself; Why should we hire you? etc) She actually made me think! WOW! I did not feel I passed her “test.” During my initial research on the company, earlier in the week, a major item developed regarding their competition. I asked her opinion regarding the news items and its potential effect on her company. She didn’t know anything about the competitor’s big news item. She said, “Wow, no one here told me about that. I have to look into it. Are you sure?”

    Interview #4 – Yesterday, on-site interview with the department director and divisional senior vice president (SVP) at an organization I left—on good terms–more than 10 years ago. The company’s current issues are the same ones I worked on during my employment. So, I was prepared for their questions. The director’s last question: “why should we hire you?” I responded, “several reasons: 1) as an award-winning communications professional, who has worked at several Fortune 500 companies and not-for-profit organizations, I’ve successfully worked on several of the issues you’re now facing; 2) I’m familiar with the people including the elected officials, and the players involved with XX issues; 3). I’m passionate about the Public/Media/Community Relations profession; and 4) I’m damn good at what I do”. At no time was I cocky in my responses.

    Interview #5 – Next week, I scheduled an on-site interview with the Senior Vice President from interviews #2 &3 to meet with her staff.

  11. Hi D! Thanks for sharing all this. So cool. I am so excited for you. Guess you did pass the “test” after all. ;-) That’s really the point…we just don’t know what they’re thinking. Clearly you impressed her. Yay! Also like that you are continuing on all burners. I feel really good energy from you, D.

    Please let us know when you get the job. Ahem. ;-) (Fingers, legs and eyes still crossed of course.)

    Good luck, D!

    ~ Ronnie Ann

  12. Kabagambe says:

    Hi Ronnie Ann,
    I left my job two weeks back b’se my employer accused me of loosing a document which am sure i did not touch. After making me look for it for 3 days, he threatened to beat me on the fourth day i just moved out of the office and i went home. Incase am called for an interview, which appropriate reason should i give for leaving my previous job?
    Thanks for your response.
    Regards Geoff

  13. D Weathersby says:

    Hi, Geoff:

    Sorry to hear what happened, but..

    “…making me look for it for 3 days, he threatened to beat me on the fourth day.”

    Sounds like your post is missing pertinent information for anyone to determine what ACTUALLY happened.

    While we can surely sympathize with you, it’s difficult to provide advice without more details.

    I don’t understand why you “just moved out of the office and” went home.”

    Besides missing paperwork, were there other incidences leading to your former boss’ erratic behavior? If so, did you document or create a paper trail? If not, why?

    Did you contact HR regarding his behavior? If not, why? If so, what was the outcome?

    Have you contacted an employment attorney?

    IMHO, I suspect there is more than you’re telling.

    -d

  14. Thanks MUCH D for asking some of the same questions I had.

    I wish you well Kabagambe, but we are all wondering how this isn’t something that is actionable legally where you are? It is here. But of course…there may be reasons you don’t want to share.

    Anyway…the logic is the same as you see on this post and here:

    How Do I Interview After Being Fired?

    So just read them for ideas and do your best to stay positive and forward-looking. Good luck!

    ~ Ronnie Ann

  15. Hi Ronnie,
    I need your help very badly.
    Last week, I had spoken to a consultant regading this particular job couple of times & all the time it all went well. Finally, i got a call from the same IT company wanting to recruit me for a HR position. I had been waiting for this call for quite a while. Unfortunately, i got a call in the noon, when i just woke up. It was a telephonic round & it ended up in a mess. I messed up with the company call, probably because i was’t fully awake.
    Please help me on how to restore the damage done.

    Regards,
    Rathnam.

  16. Hi Rathnam!

    So sorry this happened. Believe me…you’re not the only one who’s ever given a bad phone interview. At this point, your only hope is to make a list of points and then call the consultant using your most positive and charming phone personality. See if he or she can help. Since there is commission involved, if the person can help they will. Otherwise…time to move on with a lesson well learned.

    Good luck. Please let us know what happens.

    ~ Ronnie Ann

  17. Pregnant and in need of work says:

    I am 28 weeks pregnant and need work because my fiance and I split a few months ago. I have financial responsibilities such as a mortgage and a young child already.

    I have been hired to start tomorrow as a part time medical receptionist and they were ok with the fact that I am pregnant. I told them after the offer. She was shocked but ok.

    Just got a call back on my interview for a company that I have experience with the industry. Selling telecommunications / network services. The sales manager was really nice and wanted to interview tomorrow afternoon. He said he has been interested in me for sometime and said he really hopes it works out.

    I feel I should not tell him I am 28 weeks pregnant because I am worried he wont hire me. Either A) tell him once they offer or B) tell him 2 weeks after I start.

    I feel confident I will land this job, but I am nervous to bail out on the medical reception position just incase I do not get the telecommunications job. Medical job is only part time and will always be a part time position she said because they do not want to offer medical benefits.

    What Should I do?

    PS- I do not look pregnant under my black business suit. I could see myself with the telecom company long term

  18. With dishonesty as the foundation of an employment relationship you would be heading for trouble. The pregnancy might not show now, but sooner or later it will and sooner or later you’ll give birth.

    They will know you had been dishonest in your interview. You won’t have a long-term future with the telecom company if you misrepresent yourself.
    Given the date of your posting you’ve made your decision by now and you will live with the consequences for a long time to come. I do hope you judged the situation correctly.

  19. Great answer, Delphine. Thanks! I somehow thought I had answered this one privately, but maybe not. As you say, decision has been made by now, but for anyone else…what Delphine said! ;-)

    And of course…best of luck to the woman who wrote, no matter what she decided. But when it comes to jobs, honesty really is the best policy. (Not that you need to tell EVERYTHING!)

    ~ Ronnie Ann

  20. Hi Ronnie,

    I recently left my job. The short version of the story is that I was called into the Head Accountants office out of the blue and advised I was being demoted back to my old position and my initial replacement was to take my current position. Obviously, I was shocked (I’m not even kidding about how random it was… I never received one warning or complaint the entire time from anyone), and so, too, were my direct managers. They had no idea, and we all later learned that it was a decision made by the Director of the company and the Head of Accounts (who, even on the days they were in, I very rarely worked with) with no consultation with any of my managers or the senior associates, or the property managers (who I dealt and worked with daily) who were all shocked and angry for me. Not to mention, I was also advised I was to train and assist my replacement, so obviously, incompetency wasn’t an issue if I was fit enough to teach the newbie. Needless to say, it was a kick in the gut- I had been there for four years, made great friends, worked my way up and gave the company my all every day of the week. So, given they’d decided to implement the changes two days after the first meeting (!!) and were unwilling to talk something out, I resigned.

    Anyway, so far, I’ve been answering the “why did you leave” question by saying the companies long term goals weren’t compatible with my own; that they’d wished to move me into a administrative role, but I was hoping to move further into the accounting field and left it at that. But recently, the follow up question has been: “so they didn’t think you could handle the role/you were incompetent?”.

    How do I answer the follow up? I’ve been caught off guard, and I don’t know how to answer without sounding bitter. I left on decent terms, considering the circumstances but I’m still angry and upset about it all. My reply so far has been that they’d needed me in the administrative role more that they did in accounts, but… their facial reactions haven’t exactly been positive.

    Would it wise to mention that I have my former managers are my references, that the two associate directors have written letters of recommendation and they’d be more than willing to vouch for me? Is there a way to say that without sounding petulant and bitter?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Lolita!

      I think your initial answer was good and when they asked “so they didn’t think you could handle the role/you were incompetent?” your suggested follow-up answer is excellent. You can’t possibly know what they were thinking. You just know their decision didn’t meet your career goals and you believe THIS position is much more suited to your skills. (Be prepared to tell them why.) If you say it sincerely, you won’t sound petulant or bitter. Practice. ;-)

      Best of luck. ~ Ronnie Ann

      • Hi Ronnie,

        Just wanted to say thank you for the reply! Between the time I wrote that and your reply, I had spent hours reading every topic on interview tips and your advice to others in similar situations… needless to say, after lots and LOTS of practice, I got an AMAZING job at the HQ of a wonderful, well-established and industry-award winning multi-national, with great management, which shines through their employees (everyone is so AWESOME. Never thought I’d meet so many cool interesting people!). I’m edging onto nearly two months and really, really enjoying the heck out of it. I really can’t believe my luck, and Im without a doubt your advice helped steer me in the right direction.

        And really, you weren’t kidding how important it is to PRACTICE. I can’t stress how important it was to me getting this job.

        Thank you so much!

        • Hi Lolita!

          Wow. This is GREAT news. Advice is one thing…but you made it happen. Congratulations. And thanks for letting us know. This is what keeps me going. ;-)

          A good reminder for me to write another post one of these days reminding people about the value of PRACTICE.

          All my best to you in your career and elsewhere, Lolita!!

          ~ Ronnie Ann

  21. I need a help regarding y u left the previous job that too i worked in a consultancy and gone to an interview for BPO sector
    so i need a answer were i can face the interview very well

    • Hi poornima!

      You’ll find how to answer in this particular article, in the comments, and in other links on this blog. There is no one answer that fits all. In fact anyone that gives you one without knowing your exact situation is giving you bad advice. It shoiuld be based on the truth and be your own words – and as quickly as possible point the interview in a positive direction by showing how well you fit this new job.

      Best of luck!

      ~ Ronnie Ann

    • Reason behind my previous job is not secure for me & According my profile and According my skill i m not getting good facility over there so I want a make career big organization. Thanks.

      • Looking for a bigger organization with more opportunity is a fine reason.

        Some extra thoughts: Focus on where you want to go and try not to say bad things about the previous job, other than statements about where you are looking that may suggest what was missing. Positive is best. Even if they ask for details, don’t tell stories about the old place that makes them look bad. ;-)

        Best of luck, Dileep!

  22. CAN U PLZ HELP: I’ve just been dismiss, never been info trouble befor, wrk there 4 3yrs 2of which I was supervisor. I trusted my friend to pay for something, I then walked out of the store after her telling me she put it through the till, then I found out she hasn’t now I’ve got sacked its just wot do I say to a new employer wen asked why I’ve left, I so loved wrkin there so annoyed this had happend. .

  23. Hi Ronnie Ann,

    I enjoyed reading your responses to all of these tough situations, and am wondering if you can help me out with my own situation.

    Immediately after I was hired in my last position, I found out the person I replaced repeatedly raped 7 of his subordinates on the job, on the worksite. The department I was hired to manage was emotionally in shambles, especially the victims. I put my strongest, most compassionate foot forward, and in a few months the department performed far better than they did under my predecessor’s direction.
    However, in my weekly management meetings I listened to my superiors reminisce about what a great worker my predecessor was, and how they wish the whistleblower never reported his “actions” to the state. I could not reconcile how they could speak so highly of him, given what he had done. I met with the team as well as HR on several accounts and shared with them how difficult it was for me to interact with them knowing their point of view. I was sure I was just misunderstanding my co-workers, but it seemed they truly had undying respect for him, even though he was a convicted rapist. After a year of work on this, I decided I couldn’t work with people who felt this way and I voluntarily resigned.
    How can I put a positive spin on this situation with my potential employer? I feel I need to be reasonably vague to stay positive, and don’t know how to do this without saying something canned and suspect like “we just couldn’t get along” or had “personality conflicts.” While those statements are true in this situation, I feel like this is a pretty extreme case and no person in their right mind would think I made the wrong choice if they knew the complete story.

    Thank you

  24. hi Ronnie Ann,
    Iwas being working as a teacher for one year. now i got chance to join in a bank.actually i fed up with teaching job and school atmosphere.. but how to answer this situation?

  25. Hi Reshma!

    People change careers all the time. Having worked in a bank myself, all they want to know is that you’re sincere about the change, have the right attitude, and are wiling and eager to learn new things. Do some research about banking and the specific company and, rather than spending too much time on how fed up you are about teaching (ok to say you are looking for a different environment), make your answer more about what excited you about banking and this new opportunity. The people skills of teaching are easily transferable.

    Good luck!

  26. Hi Ronnie Ann

    My best friend has resigned from her current role in the banking sector, without a job offer. She just joined for less than a year, due to job fit and boss issue, she was stressed out. Futhermore, she will be getting marry at the end of the year.

    She is looking around for new opportunities in same sector after she left. But she need advice on what to say during interview. Please help her.
    Thanks!

  27. To further elaborate, She need advice on what to say if she has been asked the reason why she left without a job. She hopes to give a good and positive reasoning and impression to the interviewer. Thanks

    • Hi Donna!

      In situations like this, you answer as honestly and minimally as possible and impress the interviewer with everything else. She knew it wasn’t a good fit for her and decided to spend her time looking for the right one; a reason or two that differentiates the last from this new one without blaming anyone would help.

      Then, leaving the topic of the last job completely behind (if allowed), she has to make a strong case why this one is a great fit for who she is and what she wants from her career. Her attitude, clear thinking and delivery – as well as how she connects with the interviewer(s) – are what helps them know she’s right for them.

      She should probably leave the upcoming marriage out at this time since that’s personal and could raise the question of whether she will leave them after the wedding.

      I wish her much luck!

  28. Hi Ronnie, thanks for you replying.

    Banking industry is a small world, she wants to leave her role peacefully and gracefully while serving the notice, so she actually told her boss the reason she left was due to family commitment.. instead of blaming the anyone.

    Do you think this way is advisable?

    And can she use the same reason during her interview? This way she can avoid blaming anyone.

  29. Hi again Donna,

    Family commitment is ok as a reason as long as she can explain that the commitment was of short duration, is over now, and won’t come back to interfere with the new job even a little…the new job that is such a great fit for her. ;-)

    The banking industry may be small (I’ve been there) but it also doesn’t leave much room for personal issues at the hiring stage. I suggest she use whatever reason feels most comfortable to her, so she can give a natural interview that doesn’t leave room for lots of probing about about the past – or about her personal life.

    Good luck to her!

  30. Hello Ronnie,

    I have resigned from a Technical Support Engineer job without any job offer and now I am serving my 1 month notice. I am only about 4+ months on this job and feeling not a good fit to the role. Before I was doing Systems Administrator which oversee the whole company systems and networks for about 4 years. I was doing good and being appreciated by most of the colleagues until recently I decided to move on because I feel there is no challenge anymore on the job and would like to expand my experience.

    Now back to the current job, it was fine for the first few months but after awhile I found out that the teamwork and the attitude of some people are very bad especially the seniors. Being Tech. Support it is very difficult to deal with customers and the issues if the team that you are working with are not supportive.

    Now as I am looking for new job, constantly I was asked why I wanted to move when the current position I just been there for around 4 months. How should I answer this question?
    And maybe later on after my notice is end and I really out of the job, how should I answer the question why you quit without a job?

    I believe I am in the very challenging situation right now as I have family to support but to hold on for this job it is very difficult for me.

    Hope you could give me some suggestions that could help me to stay positive to get a better job.

    Thank you so much.

    Best Regards,
    Mave

  31. Hi Mave!

    I can understand how you feel and why you wanted to move on in each case, but you are right that this presents an interview challenge. As an interviewer, I’d be concerned that you might not be patient enough or know how to try to make things better for yourself and/or help create new opportunities right where you are – and would do the same in the new job.

    So in an interview, your job is to emphasize that you stayed in one place for four years and ONLY left because the new job offered your new challenges. Then you can explain that unfortunately once you started, you found out the challenges weren’t there – you have to come up with some reasons – and you’d rather leave now since you think that’s best for everyone. Then go right into explaining why you are so excited about this new job and why you think you are exactly right for it.

    I wish you hadn’t already given notice, since in today’s market it’s harder than aver to find a job without a job. But I’m hoping if you focus on the new company and all you can bring to the job, they will not hold the past against you. I used to change jobs frequently – but I always told the story in a way that painted me in the strongest light. That’s your job now to figure out. ;-)

    One more thought: If there is any chance you can present yourself for some consulting work to the previous company – or any others you’ve worked for – having that will help with expenses in the meantime and in interviews.

    Best of luck!

    • hi ronnie Ann.. im an admin afficer and im planning to file a resignation letter this month and i want to apply in a bank as financial advisor.. my reasons in resigning are low salary and having a bad environment.. what can i say to the interviewer if she/he asked me y i left my last job?? tnx…

    • Hi Ronnie,

      It has been a while.
      Thank you for your advice. After actively looking and praying, I managed to get a new job.
      Hope this job will be a lot better than all my previous jobs :)

      Thanks again and will keep reading your articles from time to time.

      God bless,
      mave

  32. answer me pls..

  33. Hi Jen!

    First…do you really have to resign before you have a new job? Makes it a lot harder and can extend your job search time more than you might think. If you can find the patience in yourself to stay now that you have a plan to get a new job, please think about it.

    As for what to say…always avoid blaming or putting down the old job in an interview and instead focus on what you bring to the new. More money and greater opportunity or challenge are good ways to go – just be prepared to say specifically why this new job is just what you want.

    One more thought…if you say you quit because the money was too low and you are now getting no money (especially if it takes a while to find a new job)…might seem like a bad plan to the interviewer. ;-)

    Good luck whatever you decide!

    • tnx.. im seeking for a new job now and when im hired thats the ryt tym for me to resign…this is my first job thats why, i dont know what is the best answer if they asked me y i want to leave my job… can you give me sample answer????pls. the only thing in my mind is “im looking for new challenges and job growth and eager to learn new things “. what do you think wd my answer??

  34. Sounds good to me, Jen. ;-) If it’s the truth and you tell it with conviction, then it hits the mark. Go get that new job!

  35. I have quit my job after 7 years due to having a bad manager as a boss and a bad work environment. When the interviewer asks me why I left my job (especially without another job), is it OK to say that the work environment was negative. I want to be honest as possible. is it a bad response to give the interviewer.

    • Honesty is one thing, Lisa; but you don’t want to shoot yourself in the foot! :)

      When we say negative stuff about a former employer, three thoughts enter a typical interviewer’s mind: (1) what did she do to contribute to the problems; (2) will she be focused on negatives and hurts in the new job (rather than helping solve problems); and (3) will she say this about us later on after she leaves.

      Since you have such a nice long work history there, focus on your accomplishments and strengths where possible. Stay away from blaming or putting them down in any way. Instead, look for reasons you wanted to move on that are about you wanting more for yourself – and hopefully you can speak to why this new job is exactly what you’re looking for.

      If they ask why you quit without another job (not the best idea in this market that has been tough on unemployed job seekers), you can simply say you wanted to have more time to focus on finding the right job. And if you can volunteer or take on a project quickly (they like to see that you aren’t just hanging around), you can then say you are doing that in the meantime – and move on keeping the focus on the new job as best you can.

      Good luck, Lisa!

  36. SPECIAL NOTE TO ALL: Just so everyone knows, there’s been a really offensive practice going on lately among hiring managers and employers where unemployed people often aren’t even considered. It’s a stupid way to do business and employers are missing out on great people, but this is the new reality in many cases.

    So, while I am a big fan of quitting (I did it more than once in my own career), the times are different now and if you can just find a way to hang in at a job you don’t want any more…please do your best to do so and look as hard as you can for a better job while still employed.

    ~ Ronnie Ann

  37. Kalpana Goyal says:

    Hi Ronnie

    I left my Job recently. I had given Family Reason but the actual reason was that I am not satisfied with my previous Job. Now I am looking for another Job and unable to find a explanatory reason to give other employers who are approaching me now. Could you please help me?

    Regards,
    Kalpana

  38. Hi Kalpana!

    First, good news about employers approaching you. I hope that’s a very good sign. If family reasons is what you told your former employer, then if they are called for a reference check, that’s what they will say. So I think you need to have an answer that explains very generally (you don’t owe details) something you did related to a family emergency/issue and make sure you also explain that the matter is resolved and you are ready to focus full-force on your new job.

    It might be ok to say you also were ready to look for a new challenge anyway, so that’s why you’re so excited about this new opportunity. Or something like that. As long as it’s positive and focuses on the future.

    Good luck!

  39. I was currently working for the City of NY for 10 1/2 years, I was forced to resign for something really stupid that I did on my job.. I am currently looking for employment and I don’t know what to say, so I said “I was laid off due to budget cuts” because they are laying off the city anyway..But I know when you go for interviews and may wanna hire you, they do a backround check.. What should I do so I can get a job?

    • Hi Diane!

      I’m so sorry you are going through this. I can only imagine how worried you must be. Unfortunately, the truth does usually come out. BUT…the good news is that for legal reasons, agencies can’t reveal too many details. (Although there may be off-the-record talk.)

      Your best bet at this point, since you’ve already fibbed a bit, is to wait and see how you do. If it gets serious, you can tell the person you have the best rapport with that you really were let go, but it was only because of a mistake you made after many years of doing a great/solid/good (whatever feels true) job. You’ve learned your lesson and are determined to shoe your next employer just how valuable you can be. And then start talking about the new job and why you are a great fit.

      That’s all anyone can do. And please know that there are employers out there who will give you a chance. Best of luck!

  40. hi, i am a recent college graduate, i got offered a job and left after 3 months because the environment was awful, i didnt have a job to go to. Now i am being asked why i left, the reason i gave was distance. All jobs are in the same area what do i say, at this rate i am not getting past phone interviews.

  41. Hi Nelly,

    Believe it or not, the best answer is the truth. Otherwise you risk getting caught in the lie…and you also lose authenticity when you give the phone interview; this shows. It’s ok to say that you knew pretty soon away it wasn’t a good fit (no need for details) and learned what it is that you do want. Then make sure you show why the new job is the right fit.

    Just a note: You’ll have a much better chance if it’s the truth, so go seek out places that match your values and interests. Good luck!

    • Oh boy what to do says:

      I am really concerned about what to say.I left this certain job because I was learning new stuff that just basically was different from what I was used to.Different math,measuring stuff.I hate to admit I was plain old afraid of new surroundings.My most lengthy job was over 25 years.It was hard to rearrange my brain.Maybe you are too young to know what it feels like ….Heres the example!! Did you see Shawshank Redemption? Remember when Brooks was released from prison after all those years and was afraid of adjusting to a non prison life?That is an awful feeling. I had to throw this out there. I will sign out as “The truth shall set you free!”Go ahead and expound some more Ronnie Ann! thanks..

      • Thanks for your comment, Oh boy what to do! Nice moniker. :)

        I have seen and thoroughly enjoyed Shawshank Redemption. Great analogy. As Lina suggests below, there are answers that don’t demand sharing every detail. Honesty is one thing…TMI (too much information) is another. Sometimes just saying it wasn’t the right job, but it helped me see what I really do want…or something like,. that. of course, the rest of that would be why THIS job is exactly what you want.

        And btw…taking a class one day in what you were afraid of, just for your own sake and all on your own timing, can be very freeing. Best of luck!

  42. It is my understanding (because my friend is an HR Manager) that at least in Florida, they only provide dates of employment, salary and position. They usually try to avoid giving more information per liability issues. Now, if I was your friend, I will provide the phone number of an HR representative instead of her former boss. Another thing is, everything depends on how she presents herself when being interviewed and asked that question. She can always say: ” I resigned my job because I am interested in a new challenge and an opportunity to use my skills and experience in a different capacity than I have in the past.” or “After several years in my last position, I’m looking for an company where I can contribute and grow in a team-oriented environment”. I hope everything works out good for her…

    • Thanks, Lina!

      Good information. It’s true that in some states, and also written into some company policies, you can only say so much. Although when I did reference checking, I didn’t stop at just HR folks (if candidates didn’t give me employer or co-worker names, I asked); and I sometimes learned a lot from tone, even if they could not tell me anything that violated policy. But your advice to try to provide an HR name is a good idea. I also really like your suggestions for ways to handle the question.

      MUCH appreciated. Good luck in your own career!

  43. EmployedEmploymentSeeker says:

    So, would the “why you left” & “why you are looking to leave fall under same umbrella” ??

    I was just posed this question a few days ago. I am not sure I even remember my answer as I was prob mumbly and nervous, But it’s pretty much me feeling like I don’t matter at my current position and looking for a place to grow and know my contributions count and are appreciated. (Would that be a BAD thing to Say, I mean it’s the TRUTH yet im not sure if thats NEG talking employer)

    • Basically, the answer is yes. A similar approach is a good idea. Where possible, best to stay away from the blame and focus on what you want for the future and what you can do for them.

      Part of what you said could open up a few questions. See Talking About Former Employers in Interviews But the rest sounds good and clearly shows you are being honest and moving forward with a positive attitude.

      In the future, you can add a reason why this particular job is what you’re looking for; that helps a lot. But hopefully, you’ll get good news and won’t have to worry about how to interview for a long time!

      Good luck, EES! Please let us know what happens.

      • EmployedEmploymentSeeker says:

        Well, It’s been awhile & actually shortly after I first wrote my post I found out I didn’t get the job. I REALLY feel like its hard for me to explain why I am leaving or wanting to leave my current. The place I work is a HUGE CORP & on the outside looking in I just feel whenever I interview people are like “Oh!, so you wanna leave @#$%……. But I cant go to the interview and say its a weird feeling when you have a day or 2 off and come back to work people automatically think you were fired because its such a common occurrence :(

        • I’m so sorry you didn’t get the job. The best advice I have is to sit down in a quiet room and write every reason you can think of why you want to leave. Then write what you would want from an ideal job. Don’t think too much or censor any thoughts. This is only for you. Just write anything that pops into your head. Now look at both lists, and try to come up with the most positive version of why you want to leave that shows some way you aren’t being challenged now or some areas you don’t get to pursue in this job that EACH new job you apply for can offer you. The most important thing is for YOU to really believe it and feel excited by what the new job offers that you don’t have now. When you really feel and believe, it shows.

          BTW…I’ve worked for huge companies that I wanted to leave. But also important to make sure you’ve explored all possibilities in other divisions or departments.

          Good luck, EES!

  44. Mave wrote to say she got the job! Congratulations!!

    Here are her words:

    “Thank you for your advice. After actively looking and praying, I managed to get
    a new job. Hope this job will be a lot better than all my previous jobs :)

    Thanks again and will keep reading your articles from time to time.”

    I am so glad you let us know, Mave. I wish you much happiness and success in your new job. Each one is a fresh beginning. You are always welcome here.

  45. I have a similar situation. I left my job after seven months due to work related stress. The main issue is the job was too high level for me. They were in the process of writing the new job description while recruiting me, so I did not realize just how high-level it was until I had been there a few months. Since I left, they posted the position (not posted at time I was interviewing) and it was apparent from the description that I was not qualified.

    The OTHER issue, which I am not sure I should let potential employers know, is that there was a toxic work environment in my department. After I was hired, several other members of my department cam to me independently to warn me to “watch my back” and about the personality of the head of the department. I know this will sound like sour grapes but it was a very real issue.

    How to address, at the interview of even before? I am concerned that it may look odd on my resume… should I say anything about the reason for leaving in my cover letter?

    Thanks for your guidance!

  46. Hi Heather!

    I’m so sorry you got brought into an unsure, still unwritten job situation. Not your fault, but must have been very difficult. Sometimes these things are blessings in disguise, because they really do help you think about what you do and don’t want. And that’s a good thing for the rest of your career.

    In interviews, I’d stay away from any mention of toxicity and turn to the truth about the job itself. “They were in the process of writing the new job description while recruiting me, so I did not realize just how high-level it was until I had been there a few months.” All you have to add is that you did your best anyway, but it just wasn’t the right fit; but it helped you better define the kind of job you do want for yourself. And then add some well-thought-out words about why this job is such a great fit for you and your skills. Or something like that.

    Good luck!

  47. Hi Ronnie,

    I am now 26yr old and I have a situation now that I have left the previous employer where I worked for about 2.5 years and now I want to join a new company. In every Interview I face they used to ask me “why did u quit your previous job” and “why do u want to work for us ” It doesn’t get anything on to my mind why they ask so. I also feel nervous about the interview that whether I could aswer to their questions or not or what question they would ask me. Please help me with what i have to say when they ask me so. Also I want to know what should be the attitude of mine when I face interview and the tone of my voice when I aswer to their questions.

    • Hi Ashh,

      It’s good that you were in your job for 2.5 years! That helps to show that you can be a reliable employee.

      But, you need to have answers to these questions ready because probably almost every interviewer will ask them. Think about the answers to those questions – really think. Then, write down your answers – get help from friends if you need it. And then practice answering those questions until you can do it smoothly. You don’t have to memorize the answers, but you DO have to know what you are going to say and say it confidently.

      For help on answering those questions, read these articles:
      * Reason for Leaving Your Job After 15 Years – a good read, even if you were there for 2.5 rather than 15 years
      * How Employers View You Being Fired – a good read, even if you weren’t fired.
      * Answering the “Why do you want to work here” question.
      * Explaining why you left the last job so soon.

      Good luck!
      Susan

      • Hi Susan,

        I thank you for your advise. I will see that next time when i take an interview I would be prepared for these questions, hope it all goes well for me. I will intimate you about the results next time.

  48. HI i need help, i was fired for taking some unique coins from work, when i got investigated i did admitted what i did and i brought back the items, the investigator said that he wouldnt put nothing wrong in my records like criminal record, if i returned the items. I also have checked my background its clear no criminal records and i also cheked my reference with human resource 1800 number the company gives you if i put them as reference for a new job. well when i cheked it tells me, my salary,dates of hire and dates of last day of work, it doesnt say what was the reason i was let go, but it said not that im not rehireable and i cant leave it off when im applying because it was my last job and worked there for 7 years…. i go for interviews and i always tell them i was lay off but my question, by saying lay off and the background saids not rehireable can affect my chances of getting hired with a new employer? what excuses i can say in an interview? thank you for your help.

  49. Andrew – I would recommend being honest. State why you took the coins, the remorse you felt, and what you learned from the situation. Also state if true that that was the only incident of theft or dishonesty you have ever had. Also state that you know trust is an important part of working relationships, and will do your best to prove you are trustworthy. Also provide character references of you can.

  50. I recently worked for a private hotel at the front desk for over 6years. Every year during/Jan-Feb my direct manager has us request our vacation time. I always ask others when they are going whether they have seniority over me or not. We are not union. I put in my vacation for July and assumed I would be approved and booked my flight tickets like many employees have done in the past. The ompany asks us to take vacation in the summer because it is so slow & last 2 summers my vacation overlaps others which is fine because we always have coverage. I received my request and was denied without a reason so I emailed her to ask if I can still take my vacation in July because I booked my tickets. She later called me to her office and told me the general manager told her to tell me he was livid & if I go in July dont bother coming back! I was so upset after all i have done for the club including working night audit to cover night shift & was named employee of the year once and employee of the month twice. I told her I had no choice because I can not change my flights so she said dont come back. So I left but my question is I am applying to other companies, should I tell them what happened or just say I am looking to work at a larger hotel with more opportunites for advancement? My previous job had only 40 rooms and very small hotel. Thank you.

    -Susan

    • Hi Susan,

      Since you will hopefully have more opportunities for advancement at a larger hotel, that is a logical reason to leave. Working somewhere for 6 years is a sign of maturity and that you were a good employee.

      You may be asked why you left before you found another job, so it’s a good idea to be prepared to answer that question. Resist the instinct to tell the all the details about how unreasonable your former boss was. Be positive, and move on. Harry Urschel in his Job-Hunt.org article “How to Handle Being Fired” offers very good advice for handling that kind of question, even appropriate for people who left rather than being fired.

      Good luck!
      Susan

  51. After a year and a half being out of work, I find myself in the interview stage again.And the question that makes me nervous is, ” Why did you leave your last job?” I left due to medical reason ( I had a breakdown) after I recovered I decided not to return but to further my education and do some upgrading. I don’t know what to say, because I know you shouldn’t state you left for medical reasons.. is this correct?

    • Hi Cellie,

      It’s a very good idea for you to be prepared in advance with an answer to this question, knowing that your former employer will probably be contacted about you and your work. They may provide nothing more than the dates you worked for them, or they may say more.

      I do think it pays to be honest about why you left, but not to make a big deal about it.

      If your employer thinks you just quit because you hated the job, you might be able to successfully avoid disclosing the issue, without being dishonest. But if you received medical benefits through them, they might share that information (even if they shouldn’t), so you could look untrustworthy by not mentioning it.

      So be prepared!

      * Be brief when you talk about this former job. You left “for medical reasons, which were successfully resolved.” You don’t need to say anything more about it. If they ask for details, say that the situation was “painful, and I have put it behind me. I am focused on moving forward in my career” and “since it is not relevant to my new job, I prefer not to dwell on it.”

      * THEN, move briskly to your next sentence. “After I recovered,” or “Then,” you “decided to upgrade my skills, so I furthered my education to move on to…” your new field or career.

      Good luck!
      Susan

      • HI Susan,

        Thank you for your advice. The interviewer didn’t want any details nor did I offer them to him when he asked. I think the interview went well. He seemed interested alot of eye contact. When he asked me if I had any questions , I asked him around three questions about he company and postion. But the only thing that concerns me is,
        1. Interview was maybe 25 mins long
        2. When I asked if someone will be contacting me, he stated he will be either calling or emailing me probably by the end of the next week as he will be on the road on business.

        In closing I stated that I was very interested in the position, that it sounded very interesting and I would be a great asset to him. Than we both got up and he shook my hand and smiled and thanked me for coming.
        I have mixed emotions now.. I dont know, the timing was to short? Right ?

        • Hi Cellie,

          Congratulations for handling the question well. If you hadn’t, he would have asked more questions.

          It’s a good question about the time it took for the interview. It was short, but that’s not necessarily a bad sign – perhaps he had enough information in that amount of time, or that’s all the time he had available to him then.

          I hope you followed up with a quick thank you note, thanking him for his time and reiterating your interest in the job.

          Wait past the end of the next week to reach out to him again (after the thank you note). The process almost always takes more time than anyone on the employer’s side think it will – and it always takes more time than the job seeker wants.

          Read the other posts on this blog about preparing for interviews, sending thank you notes, etc. And see if the school where you got your additional training has a career center that can help you more directly, too. A job hunt can be a long, lonely, discouraging process, and professional advice can help shorten it.

          Stay in touch. And, keep looking for a job. Don’t stop now, waiting for this to turn out (or not), because it might not.

          Good luck!
          Susan

  52. I was forced to leave my job ( I quit) after 7 years last September because of my manager. As i was informed by others, she wanted to hire her friend for my position. I was hired by another manager who had left the company. I loved my job so I did not want to leave. However, it came to the point where I couldn’t handle it anymore, so I quit.

    Ever since then, I have been sending resumes to companies and I had a few interviews. I have also sent resumes to employment agencies and they are all asking me why I left without finding a job first.
    My response is that I wanted to concentrate on finding the right company for me with better job opportunities (as I cannot tell them the real truth as you can’t say bad things about your previous employer).

    My question is:

    I am just wondering if it is true that companies and employment agencies prefer not to hire people who have quit their jobs and are still unemployed after 6 months? If this is the case, what is a person to do to find a job? I have also removed the months of employment (only) on my resume so they won’t know which months I started and left the previous company so they won’t know how long I have been unemployed. Is that a good decision on my resume?

    • Hi Lisa,

      Since you’ve been employed up until last September, I would keep the months on your resume because some people will assume that you have been unemployed for more than a year if they don’t see September, 2011, on it. Leaving the month off could be hurting you now.

      You are right not to bad mouth your former employer, and your response to the why-did-you-leave question sounds good. You might add that you are looking for an opportunity for long-term growth because you like to work in the same organization for a long time. Seven years at your previous employer is a sign that you are a good employee, not a job hopper or someone with a lot of problems. You have a right to be proud of that.

      It is true that some employers are not interested in hiring someone who is unemployed, particularly if the person has been unemployed for more than a year. It’s dumb, but it happens. Often, employers worry that an unemployed job seeker is so desperate for a new job that they will take anything, just to have a job (and then not be good at it or leave too soon). So, be sure the employer knows that you have carefully considered them and the job they have before you applied. Show your interest by asking good questions in the interview about what they do – products, services, etc. Don’t act or look desperate – even if you are.

      For more help on how to deal with job hunting while you are unemployed, read this excellent article on Job-Hunt.org by recruiter Harry Urschel – Why It’s Easier to Get a Job When You Are Employed.

      Good luck!
      Susan

  53. Sister Was My Boss says:

    Hi Susan,

    After almost 3 years of working for my sister, we had a disagreement at work. She asked me if I wanted to go home for the rest of the day. I asked her if she wanted me to and she said yes. While I was putting my purse on my shoulder, she held out her hand and said, “Keys.” So I handed her the office keys that I had. She then said, “Phone.” So I handed her the business cell phone. I left, assuming that I was fired, since if I was going home for the rest of the day, I shouldn’t have been asked for the keys and business cell phone. She’s now telling people I quit. I feel I was fired. I do answer the question: Why did you leave your last position? with: “Working with family is never easy and in this instance, it didn’t work out.”

    What’s your thought process on this situation and do you think I have a good answer for why I left my last position?

    I do get angry, because it seems employers are ALWAYS right, no matter how they treat you. In this circumstance, I was subjected to much more from my boss since she’s my sister than any other employers I’ve had. It was so hard to work for her. But you can never tell anyone. And since she’s the boss, they always believe her side over mine. It’s very frustrating. I am ready to call LIFE quits because I can’t find another job and rent is coming up and I’m so fed up with everything. I feel like I’ve been blacklisted, not only by her, but by life.

    Sorry for the ‘sob’ story….I’m just very emotional right now and have been crying all day.

    Thanks,
    Marsha

    • Hi Marsha,

      Please DO CALL the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-8255 – RIGHT NOW! As horrible and hopeless as you may feel right now, this is NOT worth ending your life!

      The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has an online chat from 5 PM to 1 AM, Eastern Time, where you can interact directly with counselors online rather than over the phone. You might want to try that, too. Find the online chat here: http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/GetHelp/LifelineChat.aspx

      I hope that you are feeling better today! Yes, I think your answer, “Working with family is never easy and in this instance, it didn’t work out” is excellent. And true, unfortunately.

      If your sister is telling employers who contact her that you have quit, I think that may actually be better for you. You worked for her for 3 years – that shows that you aren’t a job-hopper. So you have a good message to share with employers, and you will find the right employer soon.

      This is a tough economy for everyone to find a job, but over 4,000,000 people land jobs every month in the USA, so it is possible. You just have to work hard at it and get lucky, too.

      You haven’t been blacklisted by the business world or by life, though! Being fired is always tough, and I think being fired by your sister, having it happen inside your family, must make it feel so much worse. My heart goes out to you. I’ve seen this happen in other families, too. But IT IS RECOVERABLE!

      People manage this situation and recover from it all the time, and we have help for your job search here in WorkCoachCafe, in Job-Hunt.org, and in your local city, too! Take a look at these articles:

      Recruiter Harry Urschel wrote an excellent article for Job-Hunt.org on this very topic –
      How to Handle Being Fired

      And WorkCoachCafe’s Ronnie Ann wrote several good articles on this topic, including this one, too – Job Interview: Reason for Leaving Your Job After 15 Years

      A solitary job search is very tough, dealing with all the rejection that feels very personal, even though it often isn’t. Find a local job search support group and go to the meetings. You will see that you are not the only one dealing with these issues and that there are strategies to deal with them successfully. You can connect with them through your local places of worship (even thought they are often not religious), local public libraries, your local city or town hall, and your local OneStop Career Centers.

      Just take some time to deal with this pain, so you can heal and get your life back. Now, go call the 1-800-273-8255

      Keep in touch!

      Good luck!
      Susan

  54. I am loving this blog and the camaraderie and professionalism that is shared here. I am looking for guidance in how to explain why I was fired. I worked for the company for 4.5 years and assisted in growing the company over 1300% during that time. The owners were a husband/wife team and they hired his sister, whom I supervised. We had a conversation after hours, in a social setting, and discussed our wages. (protected topic in CO) I have no idea what she told them I said but I did not disclose any personal information about anyone else other than myself (I know that is against the law). I was told I was being fired for “unethical behavior” and for being “untrustworthy”. I asked them to tell me what she had said but they wouldn’t. I’m thinking of saying something like “I had a conflict of interest with someone I supervised who happened to be related to the owners.” or something like that…..help please!

    • Hi Carrie,

      Tough spot! And, how unfortunate (but not surprising) that they won’t tell you what “unethical behavior” and “untrustworthy” things you are alleged to have done. They need to be careful who they do tell about your alleged behavior or be sued for defamation by you, particularly if their action stops you from getting another job. Hopefully, it won’t come to that!

      When speaking with a potential new employer, you could say it was simply an unfortunate misunderstanding with one of the members of the family which owns the company. You worked there happily and successfuly for 4.5 years, and that situation was an abberation.

      Be sure to speak well of your former employer and your work. Don’t dump on them.

      You will probably need people to provide references, and they need to vouch for the quality of your work. Find someone else in the company, if possible, who can be a good reference for you. And, also, line up support from customers, clients, and/or suppliers who are familiar with your work, liked working with you, and will give you a good reference.

      Recruiter Harry Urschel wrote an excellent article about handling this situation in an interview on our sister site, Job-Hunt.org, that is well worth reading for insight into how to handle this kind of situation – How Employers View You Being Fired.

      Good luck!
      Susan

  55. hi ijust finished my 2nd interview and this is was my dream job. when they asked me why dont i look for job in accounting firms since im accounting graduate? this job is more on finance. i was sayin that accounting firms doesnt really encourage fresh graduate and i said i dont like my currentjobbecause its a small firm and i cant learn alot i dont want to be a stupid person. i just realised that i made a biggest mistake. please helpme

    • Hi Nisha,

      If you haven’t sent your thank you message yet, send it and try to recover from the “biggest mistake” in your message. The good news is that you now have more experience with interviewing. The bad news is you may (or may NOT!) have blown this opportunity.

      Meanwhile, do 4 things:
      1.) Don’t beat yourself up about this. Learn from it!
      2.) Write down how you think you should have answered that question, and then read your answer out loud. Say it a few times, too, so you feel comfortable with the words.
      3.) Practice answering common job interview questions so you can improve your responses (greatest weakness, greatest strength, why you want to work here, etc.). Thinking about your answers ahead of time and practice saying them will help you be less nervous, and you’ll do much better next time.
      4.) Keep looking for a job.

      You’ll find a lot of help answering interview questions here on WorkCoachCafe.com. Check out the other posts.

      Good luck!
      Susan

      • HI I RESIGNED FROM MY LAST JOB DUE TO HEALTH REASON SEEKING MEDICAL TREATMENT ON MY SEVERE NECK PAIN NOW IM OK. WHATS THE BEST ANSWER IN THE JOB INTERVIEW ON WHY I LEFT MY LAST JOB THAT I CAN SAY BECAUSE IM NOW READY TO LOOK AGAIN FOR A JOB/ KINDLY HELP ME ON MY QUERIES? THANKS.

        REPLY

        • Hi Arthur,

          It’s a very good idea for you to be prepared in advance with an answer to this question and to practice saying it a few times so you are comfortable with it. I think it is also a very good idea to be honest about why you left, but not to make a big deal about it. Remember, your former employer may be contacted by a prospective employer to confirm that you worked there.

          When you answer

          * Be brief when you talk about this former job. You left “for medical reasons, which were successfully resolved.” You don’t need to say anything more about it. If they ask for details, you could explain it generally and then possibly say, “since it is not relevant to my new job, I prefer not to dwell on it.”

          * THEN, move briskly to your next sentence. “Now, I am back in the job market, eagerly looking forward to working as (job title) for your company.”

          Good luck!
          Susan

      • hi susan

        r u tryin to say that i will not get this job??

        • Hi nisha,

          I have no idea whether or not you will get the job. Your comment indicated a “big mistake” you made in your interview. I have no idea what that mistake was, and I don’t think you should write it out here for the world to read.

          But – assuming you are correct (and I do NOT know that you are because I don’t know what happened) – I was trying to help you: (1) recover, if possible, through the thank you note and (2) move on with your job search.

          Do consider that what YOU think was a big mistake may not be viewed that way by the people who interviewed you. Hard to say.

          I do know that if you need a job, waiting and worrying about this job won’t help you land a different job. It will just waste your time, and it won’t help.

          So, if you haven’t sent that thank you note, do send it now. And, then move on to the next opportunity in case this one doesn’t work out for you.

          Good luck!
          Susan

  56. I just quit my job due to no teamwork. After watching my coworker pull up a chair at the cash register while we were swamp with customers watching me do all the work I was fed up. However, I waited till my other coworker came back from lunch and did the same thing except put food away wile rearrangeing it while we had customers lined out the door. Again I was doing all the work again. So I waited til I got the chance to go on a little 10 min break and clock out and handed my boss my time card and said I quit without giving a reason. Because I felt that all they were going to do is move me again or write me up again for something I did do. Anyways, had another job interview and the guy ask me why I quit so I said so and he told me to call him Monday is that a good or bad sign of landing the job.

    • Meant to say I didn’t do

    • chandlee says:

      Letanya,

      If you were asked to call on Monday to follow-up, that is generally a good sign.

      That said, I’d encourage you to think about how you present the story of why you quit your job — in the future, it’s always better for the employer if you address the problem before quitting. If you feel others aren’t pulling their weight, ask why they are doing what they are doing: the co-worker who needs a chair to sit at the cash register might be trying to avoid repetitive stress syndrome or a problem with their back. If you don’t take five minutes to rearrange supplies, you could run out later…

      If you simply need team members to pitch in and help, sometimes you just need to tell people — and you could ask a manager how they’d prefer for you to handle these situations when you see them. Simply quitting hurts the employer — because they aren’t able to see the bottleneck caused by others not doing the work.

      I’d recommend you go back to the boss you left and tell them why you left — and ask for what they would have preferred you do instead of quitting. It may not be the easiest thing to do, but if they are called and asked why you left and they just said, “she quit without giving a reason and left immediately” they may worry that you would do the same to them.

      Keep your tone positive during the interview, and good luck with your search.

      Best,
      Chandlee

  57. Hi,

    I joined a company In July 2011 after being on the job hunt for 4months. I soon realised after joining the company that I made a huge mistake. I was emotionally abused, told to do other employees work to meet deadlines, and blamed for things that sometimes weren’t in my control. I didnt mind helping out and I kept thinking that things would get better. I was also put on a 3 month probation period when I joined the company, however they kept extending the probationary period which meant me not actually getting paid the cost to company that I was due. The environment at the company was very hostile and. I was becoming very depressed. I handed in ,y resignation in JanuAry 2012mand february 29 was my last day. When asked why I resigned, would it be ok to state thAt I wasn’t actually a permanent employee because of the probationary period? I don’t want to say anything negative about my previous employer. Please help me.

    • chandlee says:

      I think you can simply say, “I was never offered a permanent, full-time position at the company — and, due to my uncertain status — I decided to leave to pursue other opportunities.”

      Good luck with your search.

      Best,
      Chandlee

  58. JohnBrown says:

    Hello! I started my last job while I was in high school and provided 6.5 years of outstanding service to the company. Throughout the years I advanced into several leadership roles and was most currently an exempt manager responsible for 13 departments, 5 hourly superviser’s, and over 40 hourly employees.

    I put in roughly 80 hours in 6 days during my last week of employment. After completing a 21 hour shift I made my hour commute to my house, showered and dressed, and headed back to work for my next shift. While driving I had a revelation that I COULD NOT continue to due this. I was mentally and physically exhausted. I turned the car around, went home and called my boss letting her know that it was time for me to move on and that I wasn’t comming back.

    I have an awesome work ethic and it is reflected on my resume. Employer’s are impressed with it however they immediately lose interest when they discover that I abandoned my last job.

    In your opinion, what would be the best response for me when the “why did you leave your last job” question comes up?

    • chandlee says:

      John,

      I think the issue here is a common one: when starting out, often new professionals are so eager to work, that they forget to take care of themselves.

      What employers want to see is not that you are perfect but rather that you’ve learned how to take a weakness and turn it into a strength. In your case, you can reframe it as “I left because I realized I was exhausted to the point where I could make a positive contribution to the work place. I worked 80 hours in six days and — at the end of the last 21 hour shift, I realized I was teetering on the edge of physical exhaustion.” What was my greatest strength — my work ethic — had essentially led me to the brink because I did not allow myself to rest. (You could add here if your boss was supportive and had told you to get the rest.)

      I learned how to take better care of myself during my time out. And as I return to work, it will be with an increased sense of how to take better care of myself outside of work — from getting more sleep, to eating better, etc…

      Obviously, this may not be the appropriate version for you, but some variation on it may work…

      Good luck.

      Best,
      Chandlee

  59. arthur ang says:

    hi! i resigned from my job last october 2010 due to health concern or medical reason. i was having a severe neck spondylosis or neck spasm which i was advise to undergo physical therapy and rehabilitation for several months. now im ok and i wanted to try applying for a job, wat is the best answer that i could give when being asked in an interview why i left my last job? pls. help me on this. thanks.

    • chandlee says:

      Hi Arthur,

      That’s a tricky one. In the U.S., there are very strict guidelines on how and when employers can ask about your physical health in the job application process — but there’s no hard and fast rule on when you (as an applicant) should disclose this. If your condition is 100% cured without a chance of relapse, you could get a doctor’s note on this — and share that as part of the interview process.

      If not, check out this post from Job-Hunt.org on how to answer the tough question, can you do this job with your chronic illness?

      (The post provides you with a strategy you can use to answer the question in a direct, concise manner.)

      Good luck with your search.

      Best,
      Chandlee

  60. arthur ang says:

    hi! i resigned from my job last october 2010 due to health concern or medical reason. i was having a severe neck spondylosis or neck spasm which i was advise to undergo physical therapy and rehabilitation for several months. there was a severe muscle spasm or somewhat similar to a cramps that occured in my neck and both upper and lower portion which gives a lot of pain in my neck. i am having difficulty concentrating on my work because of this pain. because it would be difficult on my case to recover pass because of the stressful work environment that i am working at so i have to rest at the same time as advice. the doctor told me that it occur because of incorrect posture and high level of stress at work. but now im completely done with the therapy and im physically fit to work. should i honestly state that thing during the interview or should i just say that i resigned due to personal reason or other reason because the company that iwould want to apply now is a different industry. please advise me on this and tell me wats the best thing or answer that i can give during the interview process. thanks and more power.

    • chandlee says:

      Hi Arthur,

      I believe you wrote on a similar issue a couple of days ago, no? If yes, I encourage you to see my response before.

      What I think is the biggest question now is not how you answer the question in your interview but what you can realistically do and not do — and how that plays into your search.

      I can’t tell from your email if you continue to “have difficulty concentrating on my work because of this pain.” If you do, it may be the optimal time to seek for jobs that offer you a non-traditional work environment — perhaps jobs you can do in a flexible schedule or from home? I assume you’ve been working with a physical or occupational therapist. I recommend you let the therapist know of what you’ve done in the past and what you hope to do in the future — they may then be able to recommend jobs and industries that would be optimal for you — as well as any accommodations you may need to ask for, and how you should reference your problem with your neck and back.

      Good luck and all the best,
      Chandlee

  61. Hello,

    I left my job in October of 2011 after facing a hostile work environment. It was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever made in my life considering that I have never quit a job in my entire career, however, the pain and burden was too much for me to handle on a day to day basis. The job I quit I was there only a year. Luckily, I have supporting friends and family who are helping me through this difficult time. I’ve tried looking into temp work and even headhunters but to no avail.

    I’ve spent over 10+ years in higher education, but my job search has been less than hopeful. Many of the jobs i’ve applied for I am overqualified for and others I am under qualified. I’ve applied for many jobs, been interviewed for 5 different jobs and have been called back for 3 interviews at two different jobs in some cases, however, it didn’t pan out to much. Now, it’s been 8 months and I still haven’t found a good job. I am becoming nervous and very frustrated. What should I do to keep sane? I’m stretched to my limits and need an opinion on what I should do. With an MBA and a great career background, I am puzzled as to why I am not getting phone calls and requests for interviews.

    Help!
    Donald

    • Welcome to the club, Donald.

      One day you’re a viable, productive person within a system that gives you status, money, something to do, etc. and then you leave because that system has become poisonous in some or other way. Your survival instinct kicks in and you quit. It is better to get out when you realise it’s not the job or organisation for you, rather than hanging in there year after year, poisoning yourself with unhappiness and frustration at your lack of courage for staying. Now you find on the ‘outside’ things are tough. The jobs just aren’t forthcoming and self-doubt kicks in, along with the obvious money worries.

      What I do to keep sane is, having significantly cut back on my lifestyle and expenditures, I”ve deliberately opted for lifestyle changes that require commitment and focus. I follow a new exercise regime with a coach who is guided by a most unconventional philosophy and has made swimming fun again, as my body heals from years of neglect behind a desk and on planes. I’m working on totally changing my eating – it means my grocery shopping trips have become a new adventure in finding fresh whole fruit in season – I only go to the fresh fruit and veg section of the store. The choices available in eating raw food (and the pitfalls, like overdoing the nuts) are fascinating as I let go of the SAD (Standard American Diet) and the Canada Food Guide. It certainly costs a whole lot less too. AND, because I see food through the lens of nutrition now, rather than taste-bud gratification, I’ve become not interested in eating out.

      I still monitor job postings and still apply for the occasional job, but I do that as a way of ‘showing up’ rather than in panic or anger. I believe the right job will come, even though I’m over-qualified for most jobs in my field that get advertised.

      And then, truly to keep sane, I do volunteer work – in fields that are of deep meaning to me – it means I’m meeting a whole new range of people who share my values although they often arrive at them via a very different path. It’s not just about stuffing envelopes for mail campaigns or phoning people asking for money. It is about offering your MBA skills to help the organisation become more efficient and effective in delivering on its mandate.

      In two years I’ve had one three month contract worth any kind of real money, so I’m fully aware of the sense of dwindling capital, but I work hard at not letting fear dominate my daily agenda. ( It doesn’t work every day, but most days it becomes a dimmer noise) I find it astonishing that the positive energy I bring to everything I do, my ability to juggle multiple crises and choices in my head – the judgement that can come only from years of working and constantly figuring out solutions and better ways somehow doesn’t make it through the screening and interviewing process. One day it might.

      The other thing I do, Donald, is to look at everything through an entrepreneurial lens – almost every newspaper story I read, every coffee shop conversation I have, there’s this constant question in my head (a) is there an innovative business opportunity lurking somewhere in here? (b) is this a person I could work with? I have at least half a dozen new business ideas a week. A couple I’ve researched at some length before deciding that they were interesting but not viable or not what I want to do, others still simmer on the back burner and some I smile and let go of.

      Don’t give up and mostly don’t let fear drive you. Even the folks with the steady jobs and the nice pay cheques don’t know what the future holds.

      • chandlee says:

        Delphine,

        Thanks for this lovely supportive post…It’s wonderful for fellow job seekers to see the positive side of what your life transition has included — and other areas of life in which you’ve found success.

        Keep doing all your doing, and it certainly seems likely that the right job for you may also surface.

        Good luck and all the Best,
        Chandlee

    • chandlee says:

      Donald,

      Sorry to hear that you are having a challenging job search and experience with unemployment. That’s no fun, especially given all the work you’ve put into your career and education.

      Based on what you’ve told me, I say you’re best chance of landing a great job comes from looking busy. In the U.S., it’s very easy to file the paperwork necessary to become a sole proprietor and launch a small consulting practice of your own. If I were you, I’d figure out a business or services with minimal start-up costs. Get a few clients, add that work to your resume, and keep up the search. It’s a funny thing: when you simply look busy, you seem to attract more attention from employers who may be potentially interested.

      Good luck in your search.

      All the Best,
      Chandlee

      • Delphine & Chandee:

        Thank you so much for your encouraging words. . .it’s greatly appreciated. It’s a much needed morale booster. It’s a scary time for me and for millions others in the U.S., however, I am hopeful something will come up shortly.

        Best,
        Donald

        • chandlee says:

          Thanks Donald. We’ll be thinking of you.

          • Donald

            I too resigned from a position I held for 7 long yrs. due to a hostile enviornment. When I feel out applications I get nerveous when asked the ? why did you leave your last job?. I never turn in the application. What am I suppose too say?

          • chandlee says:

            Oh Rhonda,

            Statistics show that — on average — people get fired once in their careers. Given the frequent changes in the workplace today — 7 years is a very long time to stay with one employer. And if you resigned from the job, you were able to choose to leave which is a very good thing.

            When they ask why you resigned from the job, I think you can simply state — to pursue new opportunities — and let people know that the rigors of your job prevented you from doing a proper search. Ideally, you should have one or two former colleagues who can provide a reference for you about your work at the company. Don’t focus on the negative. (Did you know that university professors often take sabbaticals of up to a year off to do special projects every seven years?) Why shouldn’t people be able to leave their jobs to pursue new options if what they are doing isn’t working for them? Just stay positive, and don’t bad mouth the former employer.

            Don’t let the past stop you from turning in your application and having a happier work environment in the future.

            Good luck — and all the best,
            Chandlee

          • The same with me. It was a very hostile environment and that was 3 years ago and I still do not have a job. I think after 3 years looking it is time to lie as to why you have such a gap in your resume. They are sure asking why and it seems no one on the internet has an answer as to what to say when you have been out of work that long due to the economy Is anyone here able to answer that question when out of work for 3 years not enough money for gas to volunteer, have been networking, had to file for bankruptcy during that time. Please be real with people out here suffering and trying to answer that question. The old ones do not work at this point so come up with something else or are you without words on the subject also. We are doomed yet in desperate need of help. There are many like me out there.

  62. latanya says:

    To Faye
    Have you been in school during those three years off, if you have children did you watch them during the time you were off. Because, if so you can use that as being a babysitter, or pursuit in a better education.

    • Children are grown, (I will be 60 next month), no money for school, can’t take out loan for school since I have a bankruptcy, plus not enough money for gas. I don’t think you really understand, THERE WAS NOT ENOUGH MONEY TO EVEN DRIVE AND GO TO SCHOOL. I had to borrow money from family to pay on my house etc. We used what money we had for bills and food.

      • chandlee says:

        Faye,

        Sorry to hear that you are in stuff a rough spot. Have you checked out services and available programs from your local United Way and other community agencies.

        In the U.S., the AARP has some employment programs and resources for adults over 55. If you are here, you may want to look into that. Keep up the application process and good luck to you.

        Chandlee

  63. My husband was forced to resign after failing to report to his supervisor when he got a DUI. This was a really great local government job with good benefits, that most people would never leave voluntarily. The supervisor really hated to see him go and offered to let him resign, rather than terminating him. How should he reply when asked why he resigned by his next potential employer?

    • Heather in HR says:

      I think he should just be honest. He can say he had a few drinks but didn’t realize that he was intoxicated and made a stupid mistake that he regrets. As long as he can say that he had great reviews from his previous employer and they didn’t want to see him go but it was just policy I think he should be fine. People make mistakes it’s what they do after that counts.

  64. I left a job that had a hostile working invite, and I didn’t give the appropriate two-weeks notice. My boss went out to drink with my subordinate (he did this often, among other things), proceeded to get drunk and told him he was planning to set me up the next day in hopes that I would quit. TOLD him this, no lie (eventually my subordinate told me what was said but not until a few years later, unfortunately). So the next day, I get called into HR thinking I was getting a promotion and boy was I in for a surprise! There was my boss sitting with HR and a list of exaggerated and even blatant lies of things I did with warnings that “if I did this even one more time, I’d be fired” (Note: He was telling me for weeks how he was going to promote me). I was having issues with my boss for a few weeks that I won’t get into on here, and it had nothing to do with my work performance which was very good. But I was so upset at that moment in the HR office that I pushed the paper back at him and said I am not signing this, “I quit!” and I walked out. My boss won. He set out to get me to quit and I did, unfortunately. I had also let HR know I was considering action against my boss. I was there for many, many years! I had a wonderful job and was so upset by what happened. Dumb of me to walk out, I know. Can’t change the past. I did try to get my job back a few months later because I truly loved what I did even though my boss had unethical practices, and HR considered it for a few weeks before coming back to me with a “no”. They eventually let my boss go, but I am “no longer rehireable”. After years of dedication to the company with really good performance reviews, and larger than typical raises and bonuses, I am no longer considered an asset of that company and more of a liability. I am not sure if they tell reference checks that I am not rehireable but if they do, that could impact my ability to find a job (I have been interviewing for a new job, and have made it to several rounds before being told I didn’t get the job…). Is there anything I can do to help me address this with potential employers or should I just let it go and hope the “not rehireable” issue doesn’t come up? I have peer references and client references but not a supervisor reference. Thank you.

    • chandlee says:

      Hi Tara,

      That sounds like a very difficult situation. By any chance did you save copies of your performance reviews? Either way, I suggest that your next step be to verify what is currently being said by your references when the company is called…and what you could potentially do to fix the situation. In many places, there is legal terminology that is required when references are checked.

      At Work Coach Cafe, our visitors come from all over the world — so I’m not sure what the laws are in your country — and even if I was, this site does not provide legal advice.

      It may be a good idea for you to consult with an attorney — many offer free initial sessions, and if not you might seek out a free legal clinic if you qualify for services.

      Regardless of whether the leadership has changed with the company, you may be able to sit down with current leadership and HR and figure out a situation. The company may not want you back, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t want you to be ineligible for unemployment anywhere else either. And they certainly would not want a lawsuit.

      If your former colleague is now willing to share details of what happened in the past with the former supervisor, that may be helpful.

      An attorney or mediator would likely be able to provide you with advice and legal counsel on how to proceed in this area.

      Be very careful with how you approach the company if you choose to go this route — you want to keep your overall tone positive as it is important that you move forward.

      Good luck and all the best,
      Chandlee

  65. HI, I JUST WANT TO ASK F U CAN HELP ME ON MY PROBLEM. I NEED THE BEST ANSWER THAT I CAN SAY DURING MY JOB INTERVIEW. MY PROBLEM IS THIS, I RESIGNED FROM MY JOB SINCE AUGUST OF LAST YEAR BECAUSE I HAPPEN TO HAD A CHRONIC PROBLEM ON THE PORTION OF MY NECK SOMEWHAT SIMILAR TO A NECK ARTHRITIS WHICH CAUSES TO LOST CONCENTRATION AT WORK DUE TO SEVER PAIN AND SWELLING IN MY NECK DURING THE COURSE OF MY WORK AS AN ANALYST IN A BANK. I WAS ADVISED BY DOCTOR TO UNDERGO MEDICATION AS WELL AS PHYSICAL THERAPY AND REHABILITATION FOR SEVERAL MONTHS BECAUSE OF THE SEVERE MUSCLE STRAIN OR SPASM IN MY NECK. I DECIDED TO QUIT MY JOB BECAUSE IN OUR DEPARTMENT WE ARE NOT ALLOWED TO HAVE A MEDICAL LEAVE FOR A LONGER PERIOD NOT UNLESS YOUR MEDICAL CONDITION IS TOTALLY LIFE THREATENING OR RARELY SEVERE, SO I DECIDED TO QUIT BECAUSE I WANTED TO REST FOR A CERTAIN PERIOD OF TIME AND SEEK MEDICAL TREATMENT AS WELL. BECAUSE IT WILL BE DIFFICULT TO IMPROVE MY CONDITION WHILE WORKING DURING THE TREATMENT PERIOD. NOW, IM OK AND COMPLETELY TREATED. I WANTED TO APPLY AGAIN FOR WORK. SO CAN U ADVISE ME ON WHAT SHOULD BE THE BEST ANSWER THAT I COULD GIVE DURING THE INTERVIEW ON WHY DID I LEFT MY PREVIOUS JOB? SHOULD I TELL THEM THE TRUTH OR WHAT REASON COULD I BEST GIVE TO THEM FOR ME TO BE CONSIDERED AGAIN IN THE JOB. IM VERY MUCH WORRIED THAT I COULD NOT BE GIVEN ANOTHER CHANCE TO HAVE A JOB. PLEASE HELP ME ON THIS.

    • chandlee says:

      Hi Arthur,

      I believe we’ve already answered this question in the past. Please check your past messages from us on this topic as we’ve provided you with potential strategies.

      If you are in the U.S., I also recommend that you contact the Job Accommodation Network, a service for people with disabilities provided by the U.S. Department of Labor. They can provide you with free information.

      Good luck and all the best,
      Chandlee

  66. My question is do i tell HR the truth for having to leave after 13years? I have recently found out that i must relocate out of state to take care of my aging parents, I have a short time frame to do so, a couple months , I am attempting a transfer, but dont see it happening, I love my job and dont want to leave but my family needs me, i have exhausted all other avenues , tring to get them to move closer to me ….etc
    I know the job market is crazy right now , Is it better to be just completely honest with HR , “My Gut feeling is Yes” But then how does that look on a resume?, I have resumes out , but of course to no avail as of yet, Its a tough situation, But it is something i must do , There is no one else that can take care of them and manage their affairs, And i just cant do it from 3 states away , They aren’t the most accepting people to strangers in there home ,

    Thanks

    • chandlee says:

      Hi Jason,

      Yes, absolutely. If you have been with the company for 13 years and have been a loyal employee, there may even be options for you to work remotely. In the U.S., there are also government family leave programs that may apply here. Look into all of them before you resign, and be honest and upfront. Tell them you do not wish to go, and ask if there are any options available to you.

      Good luck and keep us posted.

      Best,
      Chandlee

  67. hi, i resigined my job after 10 months due to work pressure… so what should i want to tell when i attend an new job

    • chandlee says:

      Hi Vignesh,

      If you are looking in a new industry or applying to a different type of job, the short answer is to say that the job was not an optimal fit for you — and that you are now applying for jobs with companies that seem to be a better fit for you.

      Don’t dwell on the situation or call it stressful, simply say you were looking for a change and felt you owed it to your employer to be focused — and that you realized you needed to not work there in order to be able to focus on a job search.

      Good luck!

      Best,
      Chandlee

  68. I left my job november 2011. It had started several months before, my heart was out of the company. Our managers had told us we would be outsourcing our data entry duties in our AP department, and that triggered a whole wave of people leaving in our department, even though we were assured we would all have jobs as long as we did well. We also got a new lead shortly before that which complicated things. We were also having poor client managment issues ; our managers told us we had created our own monsters; we were doing extra things for clients not in the contract and it we were not getting paid extra for it. Our department was losing money thus we had to outsource. I along with practically the whole dept. including our lead left within 5 months of eachother. Everyone else is not part time. I have said on interviews:
    Yes, were outsourcing most of AP job duties. I had a choice to make if I wanted to stay where there was an unstable client relations base (thin ice with a couple of our bigger clients), and little career growth opportunities. Since I needed something more stable and better growth opportunities I chose to look for a new position. If not I wouldn’t be here today. Is this ok? I read this in a interview book to respond something like this. I dont know though after reading some of the posts on here. Any thoughts?

    • chandlee says:

      Hi Taja,

      I think your current response is a good one. I would further strengthen by not talking about unstable client base and little growth opportunities.

      Here’s an alternate way to phrase this:

      I left because the company was in a transitional phase both in terms of operations and sales. My department had notified us that they were outsourcing many of our data responsibilities to a different department. I also knew the company was not meeting revenue expectations and was there were more employees working in part-time jobs than in full-time positions. I watched as many of my teammates left — including my wonderful supervisor, and ultimately I decided to leave to focus on other full-time positions as it seemed likely that positions would be eliminated in the near future.

      This is what brings me here today, though I am especially interested in your company because —–

      Good luck and all the best,
      Chandlee

  69. Advice Seeker says:

    Hi there,
    i am not sure how to ask question on this website so I am posting it here:

    I joined a renowned MNC 6 months back, the problem is they relocated me to a different city. I accepted at that time thinking I would easily adjust to the new environment however that wasn’t the case. I was left with no personal life and due to working days (6 days a week) I couldn’t travel back to my family either plus work wasn’t enjoyable as there was no support from management or my supervisors who by the way themselves were in a different city.
    The problems just added to my depression and mental unsatisfaction, i didn’t feel any new learnings being added to me and i was given a time frame of 2 whole years to be stuck in the same situation. I started looking for new jobs got interviews but couldn’t go because again the interviews were in different city and I had no time, mental state or physical ability to go to them. I was trapped in the environment and finally after giving it a thought I resigned from the job.

    The problem is due to all the mental blocking I explained all these things in full honesty to my supervisors and got the resignation. Now as I come out of it I realize it wasn’t probably the best move I could make and that too with my first ever job with such a great opportunity.

    Was it a correct decision?
    What am i supposed to answer to prospective employers in interviews if I get any?
    How this decision is going to affect my future career?

    • chandlee says:

      Dear Advice Seeker,

      You are not alone. Thousands of other employees have found themselves in this situation before, and it’s a tough situation. Recognizing and realizing that the job and location was not a fit for you, being honest with your current employers and resigning before you were too far into the training — all of this is noble and good. You saved yourself from potentially poor performance reviews and — from what it sounds like — an extended period of personal unhappiness.

      All of this is good for you.

      Difficult. Not fun. Hard. But it sounds like it was the right decision for the time and the situation. Don’t look back and dwell too much on what you did wrong, focus on identifying what you need out of a work situation in the future. And start applying for opportunities that can provide you with this. You may want to consider meeting with a career counselor or employment professional who can help you frame what happened in a positive way.

      In my humble opinion, this decision will only affect your future career as you let it. I think with care — if you apply to the right opportunities and network effectively, you will ultimately find the job that fits you, in the right location.

      Good luck and let us know if you have additional questions,

      Chandlee

  70. hi! i just want to seek advise or help from you. i mistakingly resigned from my work in a bank since last year due to personal reasons. until now im having a hard time finding a job. what would be the best answer that i could give during my interview because now im desperately looking again for a job. i always been saying that i would want to seek a better opportunity in a better company thats why i left my last job and for several months ive been helping temporarily in our family business. am i wrong in saying that in the interview. is that probably the reason why i wasnt been considered in the job. what is the best possible answer that you think is the best answer that i should give. hoping for your reply. thanks and more power!

    • chandlee says:

      Marlet,

      Never say you left a job for a better job in a better company — it may lead people to think you won’t put effort into a job you don’t like and that you are very critical of companies. (It may be okay that you are a critic, but I don’t advise saying this — ever — in the initial stages of searching for a job.)

      I recommend you simply say, “I left to work in the family business because I was needed. The situation has since resolved itself, and I’m eager to get back to work full-time. Please let me know if you have any questions.”

      Good luck,
      Chandlee

  71. hi! i just want to seek advise or help from you. i mistakingly resigned from my work in a bank since last year due to personal reasons. until now im having a hard time finding a job. what would be the best answer that i could give during my interview because now im desperately looking again for a job. i always been saying that i would want to seek a better opportunity in a better company thats why i left my last job and for several months ive been helping temporarily in our family business. am i wrong in saying that in the interview. is that probably the reason why i wasnt been considered in the job. what is the best possible answer that you think is the best answer that i should give. hoping for your reply. thanks and more power!

  72. Emanuel says:

    I left a job that had a hostile working invite,due to work pressure and I didn’t give the appropriate two-weeks notice. So the next day, I get called into HR thinking I was getting a promotion There was my boss and the CEO (his mother) sitting with HR and a list of exaggerated and even blatant lies of things I did with warnings that not true “if I did this even one more time, I’d be fired”. I never had a issues with my boss until a couple of weeks ago when he stop passing down work info to me, but to the other guy,seemed likely that positions i was doing would be eliminated and it had nothing to do with my work performance which was very good. But I was so upset at that moment in the HR office i just quit.. I’m pitting a new appreciation in and it ask why did i leave what can i say

  73. hi! just want to seek your professional advice on how should i best answer the interview questions on tell something about yourself. i had some work experience before in the financial industry and i would want to seek opportunities in other companies. what would be the way on how i could best narrate my answer with that particular question. should i start with introducing my weaknesses and strengths or what? could you help me on this. thank you so much. i wish you could me help me be successful in my job interview. god bless!

    • chandlee says:

      Joel,

      The key to answering the tell me about yourself question is not to begin by summarizing what’s on your resume but rather to focus on something about you that relates to the job — e.g. Since the age of ten, I’ve been following stocks. Your answer should be memorable, genuine and relate directly to the job. I recommend you see interviewing resources over at Job-Hunt.org

      Good luck and please keep us posted.

      All the Best,
      Chandlee

  74. i want to know how to answer this question ,
    Why you want leave last organization ?
    RELOCATION

    i resigned my job because of RELOCATION i m the only one responsible person for my family i have to take care of my parent .. ..

    so i needs to know how to answer this question ..

    • chandlee says:

      Hi Imran,

      I recommend you answer the question “why did you leave your last employer” simply by saying “I moved so that I would be closer to my family.”

      This is a good answer, because it shows that you didn’t leave because of trouble with the employer.

      Good luck and all the best,
      Chandlee

  75. Hi,

    I am changing my job with in a year. I am sure I will be asked question about why am I leaving my current job with in a year. Main reason for me to change a job is Money. I am planning to buy a house this year & hence need a high salary figure to apply for a loan.

    I would be moving into same role but into a different company so guess I cannot mention that I am changing to pursue different opportunities.

    Any suggestion on how to answer with out mentioning the actual reason?

    • chandlee says:

      Rajesh,

      That seems like a lot of work. Is there anyway you can simply work within your company to get your salary increased instead?

      Good luck and all the best,
      Chandlee

  76. Hi, I have a question but i want to put it in a form of a scenario.

    Say, In february 2012 you apply for a job you are really interested in while working for ABC company. You are called for an interview in April and it goes successful. Now you are waiting for final confirmation as to whether you get the job or not. Unfortunately in May, you do something bad in your company and you are fired.

    If you are given an offer from this new company anytime after you are fired from ABC, is it necessary to disclose to them that you are no longer with ABC, and you were fired for doing something bad?

    This is my situation and i am really confused. If i get this new job i would like to start with all honesty, but i fear telling them what has happened now could make me loose the job. Truth is, i confided in a senior manager of the wrong i did, but he gave me up.

    Please, i need your help and advise GREATLY!

    • chandlee says:

      Hi Tony,

      I recommend you speak with an employment attorney and seek out their advice to do on how to handle this situation. Often initial consultations are free. Take advantage of this and do it now. They will be able to tell you what to share — and what not to share — and can give you a sense of laws designed to protect you (and your employer) in your area.

      Good luck and I wish you all the best. Let us know what happens. (And congratulations on your new job offer.)

      Best,
      Chandlee

  77. Hi,
    I just quit my job rather badly. I was a teacher at a private daycare and quit because my boss was involved in illegal activity and she also did not pay me on time causing me to be unable to pay my bills on time. I had to call the IRS, the department of labor and child services. I know I’m not going to get a good reference. How do I spin that?

    • chandlee says:

      Hi Tina,

      Oh I am sorry to hear that. Keep the dates of employment on your resume. When you have an interview, say that you left because they were unable to pay you on time — and you need to be paid on time so that you can pay your bills prompty. If they ask for references, see if you can gather some co-workers and parents who can speak on your behalf as a character reference.

      Above all, avoid using adjectives to describe the situation. Simply state the facts.

      Keep going.

      All the Best,
      Chandlee

  78. hi! just want to seek your professional advice on my problem. i’ve been working in a bank for several years now and i’ve been very close to my boss and some of my colleagues in the company. i even get promoted from my position because of my dedication and hardwork and passion at work, my working relationship with my colleagues are doing great, but lately things have changed and they began to felt cold on me. i really don’t know the reason behind it but i suspect that they are doubting on my closeness to the bosses and they even suspect that i got promoted only because of my closeness to my superior and not because that i am deserving. now these things kept bothering me at work and they even started bullying me at work. im getting confused and i really don’t know what to do now. i love my job and i want to stay but these things are bothering my mind. now im thinking of leaving my job just to resolve this issue which in my own conscience i never had expected that these situation would come. am i right in making a decision to leave my job or whats the best thing that i should do? i hope you can give me some pointers or solutions to my problem. thanks and god bless!

    • chandlee says:

      Art,

      I recommend that you work hard to identify what has caused this change in office culture. If you have a mentor or someone you can trust, you should ask them directly — and get their feedback on what you can do differently (if appropriate). Sometimes small things can shift inside organizational cultures and make a big difference (positive or negative). Perhaps there was a misunderstanding that you were not aware of.

      There are a lot of good resources online about how to deal with workplace bullies and stand up for yourself; you may want to seek these out, too. But be careful how you do it, at the end of the day it is important to have a good reference for yourself to leave with.

      In the interim, it may be a good time to start exploring other opportunities outside the organization.

      Good luck to you,
      Chandlee

  79. Hi, My situation is a little different as I was employed as a consultant with no benefits for 1.5 years and then became too trusting with employers as I revealed a medical condition which I felt may be causing difficulty with my work performance. Well, as soon as I disclosed this medical condition thinking this would help me keep my job, the supervisor revealed this to his supervisor and was advised to lay me off 2 weeks and go for a fitness for duty test with occupational services. This was humiliating to say the least and I had this gut feeling this was their way of getting me to quit. Well, knowing the end result was a lose lose I decided to resign instead of be fired. Meanwhile, knowing this was a process to an end of employment, I fear I will have no references to pull from as people talk and may try to sabotage future employment for me. I was even advised not to disclose where I am applying from a colleague who worked with this agency 10years saying “they are cut throat there”. Any advice on what to say to employers who ask why I quit if this question ever comes up. I currently have one employer offering me a similar position thinking I am still employed as a consultant as at the time I applied I was still employed. I fear they may find out I quit and this could jeopardize my new job. I learned not reveal personal information to staff or supervisors as this truly has cost me financially and emotionally.

  80. HI! JUST WANT TO ASK IF RESIGNING IN A JOB DUE TO HEALTH REASON BUT HAS ALREADY RECOVERED FROM THAT ILLNESS WILL MAKE AN IMPACT ON YOUR APPLICATION FOR ANOTHER EMPLOYMENT IN THE FUTURE? CAN COMPANIES IMPOSED A BAN ON NOT ACCEPTING APPLICANTS WHO HAS HEALTH PROBLEMS IN THE PAST? COZ’ I TRIED APPLYING IN SEVERAL COMPANIES BUT NONE OF THEM HAD MADE A RESPONSE OR FEEDBACK ON ME. IS IT BECAUSE OF THAT REASON OR SOMETHING ELSE. I HAVE A MEDICAL PROOF THAT WOULD GUARANTEE MY HEALTH CONDITIONS THAT IM ALREADY TREATED OR HAS FULLY RECOVERED AND THAT IM FIT TO WORK AGAIN FOR WHATEVER JOB IT IS. CAN I ASK FOR YOUR OPINION OR ADVISE ON THIS MATTER. I WOULD WANT TO HEAR YOUR PROFESSIONAL ADVISE ON THIS. THANKS AND GOD BLESS!

    • chandlee says:

      Hi Joel,

      You don’t need to reveal too much information. You can say you left your previous position for family reasons that have since been resolved. If you are in the U.S., I recommend you contact the Job Accommodation Network (you can find it online) and ask them for advice on how to phrase this situation in your application process. Your past situation should not limit your ability to find work in the future — but you do need to be careful on how you phrase it. Good luck!

      All the Best,
      Chandlee

  81. I had to resign due to having too many interviews. I simply ran out of vacation time and had to resign in order to go to interviews for a great opportunity. The jobs I am looking at require multiple interviews and almost always a flight to another city.

    I was doing a job that was just a place holder after getting downsized from my previous company after 20 years. I did not get the job just interviewed for and know I have more interviews to go before I land one. (Also the boss I left is angry because there were big projects they now have to take over…)

    Some told me to take sick days but I felt that was fraudulent and unethical. Any advice on how to address this situation to potential employers?

    Thank you for your advice.

    • chandlee says:

      Hi Joseph,

      I think you can honestly say that “you left the job voluntarily because you were ready to pursue other full-time opportunities and did not want to give less than 100% of your energy to your employer during your search.”

      Good luck,
      Chandlee

  82. hi! can u cite wbat are examples of personal reason in a job resignation? is low compensation reason a personal reason to be considered to state in a job interview. can u help me on this. i would want your professional advice and explanation. how about health concern is that considered a personal reason also or venturing into business? thanks and god bless!

    • Hi Arthur,

      If you have left a job keep it simple. One way to answer this is to say that you left as you needed to dedicate yourself to helping your family through a tough time — and that you could not give your full 100% to the job given the circumstance. Then say that the situation has sense been resolved.

      Never state low compensation — it sounds negative and more like a complaint.

      Good luck and all the best,
      Chandlee

  83. Greetings. How can one best answer the question regarding reasons for leaving if one had to leave due to a hostile work environment and discrimination issues? Given the egregiousness of co-worker and management acts, I had to file a formal complaint and document breaches in policies after resigning. How should one answer under these circumstances. Thank you very much for any assistance you could provide.

    • Ernest,

      This is a tricky question. I certainly don’t recommend giving permission on your application for employers to check references from your former supervisor. You need to know what is said when they call to verify your employment — typically employers have policies that say what they can and can’t say. I imagine they will be prohibited from discussing your complaint — and should only say “Ernest worked as a from ____ to _______, earning ______/year. He resigned on ________.”

      Recommend you get advice on how to handle this from the place where you filed your discrimination claim — as well as the U.S. Department of Labor (if you are in the U.S.).

      Be careful in interviews to speak neutrally about past bad experiences, you need to convey that you are not a “complainer.”

      Good luck,
      Chandlee

  84. i joined a company 5 months back.it is a small company…they failed to pay the salary from last month.i just resigned that job and looking for the another job.I would like to know how to answer the question why u quit the last job

    • Hi Lakshmikanth,

      I recommend you state that you left as the company was experiencing financial trouble to the extent that they were unable to pay employees. You can leave it at that.

      Good luck and all the best,
      Chandlee

  85. I need a simple answer that “why you left your previous job”??

    it sound something nagetive if deal with the honesty, lease help me.

  86. I left my previous job because my boss totally took advantage of my hard work , and treated me poorly . He would come in hours late for his shifts, he would leave the work station dirty for me to clean up after him. Would schdule me to open and then to close. He asked me to come into work when I was in the hospital , because “he did not want to work . He was just really ridiculous !!!! I told the owner and the head of operations the true reason I was leaving. So what should I say to interviewers. I know it’s not great to say ” Well my boss was an a**” ? Please HELP!!!!

    • Tiffany,

      I would not recommend saying that you left because “your boss was an A**.” I recommend saying that you left to pursue new opportunities and that the culture in some parts of the organization was not optimal for morale. That said, you need to make sure you don’t sound like a complainer — make sure you keep the focus and discussion positive.

      If you have other contacts who can advocate for you in Operations and senior leadership, that would be preferable. Are these relationships in decent shape?

      Best,
      Chandlee

  87. I am taking a voluntary termination from my current job due to possible drug test failure. I am doing this so I won’t get fired for drug testing and won’t have it on my resume. I have already filled out an application for another job. If my new employer asks why I terminated my former career, what shoul I say? It’s similar work.

    • Jonathan,

      I can’t advise you on this as I don’t have expertise in this area. You need to be aware that many employers do drug tests prior to hiring, and that many companies will check references by companies prior to hiring as well.

      Good luck,
      Chandlee

  88. Hi Chandlee,

    I left a small law firm because my supervisor (the sole attorney’s assistant) was rude and condescending. I didn’t feel comfortable approaching her with my concerns either about her attitude or general questions on my assigned tasks. Although I never discussed this matter with my boss, I told him the real reason for leaving. If I include my former boss as a reference, am I risking him saying that I’ll leave at the first sign of trouble? Alternatively, if I leave this job out of my resume (I have another part-time), can my prospective employer find out my work history? Thank you!

    • Leni,

      I recommend you speak with your former boss about this and list him as a reference. If you were at the job for more than six months, having the job on your resume will likely help you get an interview…when you are asked why you left, do not complain about your colleague — simply say you left as the job was not a fit for you.

      Good luck,
      Chandlee

  89. Hello! I left my old employer 3 months ago for multiple reasons. The main issues were working 50-70 hours a week on 40 hr salary pay (which was causing stress at home and stress related health complications). I also didn’t get health insurance after two years of them telling me “soon.” My former boss knows all of this. What I didn’t tell my boss was that her coming in late and/or working from home most days was also a big factor in my stress because I couldn’t adequately communicate with her or explain that the expectations and work load were unhealthy and unmanageable. Also, my prior company’s credit seemed to be going down because the last month I was there, I was having issues setting up accounts with vendors due to unpaid bills from my employer. All of these are reasons I left, but I doubt a future employer would want to hear all of that. Any suggestions? Thank you!

    • Hi Heather,

      Simply explain the facts without adjectives: you voluntarily left your job as you observed that the organization was operating in an uncertain financial state. As you were working 50 – 70 hours a week, you did not feel like you could adequately look for a new job while continuing to perform your job…

      This should cover it.

      Good luck,
      Chandlee

  90. i have resigned from my last job because i used to handle sub cash.and my head cashier used to do unethical things like rolling business of cash with customer.and everyday in evening there used to be short/difference in cash …whole day he used to go out n do business of cash with customers….n come in the evening n used to tally cash n everytime found difference in cash n coz of that i have to wait till the cash is not tallied. i even complained to hr, md but nothing then i have to resign…

    • Richa,

      As I wasn’t there I don’t understand the situation in full: were you asked to resign because of the shortage in cash? If not, and you simply resigned because you didn’t feel you could work there — I think you could simply say that.

      Please clarify the situation and let me know what you would like advice on if that is what you are looking for.

      All the Best,
      Chandlee

  91. Hi,

    My boss felt that i am under performing and put me on a performance improvement programme. However, this programme seems more like an legal reason for her to get rid of me. I was unfairly assessed on my performance and had brought it up to HR. HR had come back to me saying that they are unable to go to my boss on my behalf abt this. I feel that no matter wat, eventually i will be asked to leave. I have decided to leave my job.

    So, what should I say to my new employer for quitting my current position?

    Please help.

    Thanks in a million.

    • Unhappy,

      If you are in a current search and still employed — simply say that you were interested in trying something new. Don’t go negative about the job or dredge up any of the past complaints, volunteer information about the HR performance improvement plan, etc.

      Based on what you’ve shared, I recommend a balancing act in your current work:

      1. Explore future opportunities outside your organization with an eye on the future, and
      2. Follow recommended steps to improve your performance — whether you agree with them or not — so that you have current income coming in.

      Good luck, and keep us posted.

      Best,
      Chandlee

      • Hi Chandlee,

        Thank you for the advice. I will keep them in mind. I forgot to tell you that I am in my current position for slightly more than a year and my current boss took over me about 4 months ago due to a reorganization of our dept. Would it be appropriate to say that I have a better place during my exit interview with my current company?

        Also, should I say I am quitting due to the reorganization of my department to the new hiring manager?

        I look forward to your reply.

        Thank you!

        • Dear Unhappy,

          You can simply say you are looking to transition following the reorganization of the department. Say nothing about the hiring manager. You want to show that you are able to work with multiple types of people.

          Good luck and all the best,
          Chandlee

  92. Hello Heather,

    I am filling out an application for the State of Connecticut. I have been at my current job for 7 years and I just want a change. My question is I worked for a Casino for 5 years. “99″ to “04″ I did not quite but I was let go due to not calling in on time for calling out on a shift. I couldn’t. I was having a seziure. I fought to keep my job but they denied me. I do not want to put that on my application. Yet if the state calls them they will say I was let go I believe. I do not remember the name of my supervisor. That was 8 years ago. I am in a bit of a pickle. there is no fibbing on a State Application nor would I think of doing that.

    Thank you for any feedback,

    Cat

    • Hi Cat,

      Recommend that you — or someone you know who is in a hiring position at another organization and has done this before — call to verify your employment with the Casino. They likely have strict verbiage on what they can and cannot say. It’s possible they don’t even say that you were fired.

      If you had a seizure and have a disability, I recommend using the job search resources and counseling services available through the Job Accommodation Network: http://askjan.org/

      They can help you with strategy and suggestions on where to apply for new jobs and what to do.

      Good luck,
      Chandlee

  93. Hi,

    I have been working in this company for 2 years. Before I joined, the person who recruited me left the co. Before he left, he wanted to see, but was stopped by his boss. After I joined the co, I found out that the person who employed me left because he could get along with his boss. Both are strong headed persons.

    Before I joined this co, I started looking for other jobs as I sensed the boss’s boss (is a lady) is not going to be an easy person to work with. However, I have not been successful with all the interviews I went through so far as they noticed I didn’t stay long in the job though I tried to tell them the co’s culture does not fit me well and they would tend to want me to give example which part of the co’s culture.

    I must say the working environmnet is not conductive, but the prime reason is still the lady boss. Though driven is not a bad thing, she would make thing difficult for us, till we get complains from external parties on why we like to cancel/change executed transactions. I even have probia applying leave as the lady boss would bring forward the deadlines for all the reporting to make you slog and work hard before letting you off. Even when she is overseas, she will not let you off, she will send emails to give work, as though you will idle when she is not around. Now she said I am underperforming (she wants her staff to be a multtasker, but I am not. I am only capable of handling 2 tasks at the same time as I am very focused ) asking me to consider moving on. I don’t feel bitter when she told me that as i have been on the lookout for the past 2 years but just not able to convince the prospective employer the reason for leaving the co.

    Appreciate your advice on how to give valid reason for wanting to quit.

    • Hi Pinky,

      You don’t need to give an in-depth reason for leaving; you can simply say you are seeking a new opportunity when you apply. Keep the focus on the skills you want to be using and the job you want to do in the new job.

      One of the things I notice in the above description is it is hard to read your words and questions here. I don’t understand for example this statement, “Before he left, he wanted to see, but was stopped by his boss.” Not sure what he wanted to see or what’s happening here. As a result, I don’t understand what is happening in the situation that you describe.

      For most job search correspondence — such as cover letters and thank you notes — you need to be formal in your use of language: I don’t recommend using co. for company or 2 for two. It also seems to me that you haven’t proofread your comment to us; please do this in the future — otherwise, sometimes this lack of formality and spell checking can be the very thing which hurts you in the job search process.

      Good luck and keep us posted,
      Chandlee

  94. Hi,
    Recently i have quit my last job due to some personel reason , actually my father got paralytic attack , couple of months back ,since after that he’s bed ridden and my work location was far away from my home , where in daily up and down was not possible,that’s a reason i could’nt able to manage my proffesional and personel life togther , so i decided to quit and support my family and to find new job in my local place.

    I have started searching for new opportunities .

    Please help out with good anwser for question (i.e. why you left last organisation).

    Appreciate your advice on how to convince opposite person.

  95. Hi
    I was underachiever and my boss’s forced me to resigned from the Job after four month I have an opportunity for an interview. I am confused what to say in interview for the reason of resignation.

    • Hi Satish,

      If asked, simply say that the job wasn’t a fit for you as it didn’t use your strengths. Know what your strengths are, have examples of how you can use them — and how the job you are applying for lines up with those strengths. If you need to, I recommend you seek out the books “Now Discover Your Strengths” or StrengthsFinder2.0 as a way to assess your strengths — the books will also provide suggestions on how to present your strengths to employers.

      Good luck and all the Best,
      Chandlee

  96. hi! i just need your advise, can u help me on how to best answer a job interview question on why i left my last job. i’ve been working in a bank previously for several years now it came to my mind to quit and resign from my job. is it correct to say that i left my last job because i ventured into business with my friend a mini canteen or food canteen but i unfortunately it didn’t came out to be successful. can you help me further make my explanation even better? should i mention any other reason aside from that or no more? thanks and god bless! im hoping to hear from you soon.

    • Hi Arthur,

      I’d simply say you left to pursue new opportunities — and that you were invited to help a friend launch a business for a fixed period of time. You’ve done that, you learned a lot that helped you understand the perspective of your former bank customers who were small business owners, and now you are ready for a new corporate challenge.

      Good luck,
      Chandlee

  97. Would it sound negative to say that, “After spending 5 years on this job, there is no growth for me laterally or upwards. With my experience, I am looking forwarding to expand into a role that has an opportunity for growth”?

    In reality, the company I work with likes to play favorites when hiring internally or likes to hire their buddies into a job opening even though I interviewed just fine. I’d rather not bring up the whole workplace politics as an answer though.

    If it helps, I still currently employed at this job but pro-actively seeking job opportunities.

    • Hi Chuck,

      I think it’s okay to simply say you are interested in seeking a fresh challenge in a new setting– and that you feel you’ve learned what you hoped to at this particular organization.

      Good luck and all the best,
      Chandlee

  98. Hi Chandlee,

    I’m not sure how to answer the question “why did you resign from your last job?”

    I was asked by my supervisor to attend a meeting that was scheduled for my day off (friday). I’m salary and this was not inappropriate. I had an appointment and could not attend, even though my boss was adament about how important it was for me to be there. On Monday morning my boss gave me the choice of being terminated or resigning and said it was because I did not attend the meeting. I chose to resign.

    The HR dept only gives dates of employment and I can ask my references to say that they don’t know why I resigned or that it was for personal reasons.

    I am beign advised by friends to just say I resigned for personal reasons, but that will need an explanation which becomes a big fat lie to carry. I’d prefer to tell the truth but the story sucks.
    This was my last conversation with a recruiter -
    “I resigned” (why?), “my boss asked me to” (why?), “because I did not attend a meeting, I missunderstood the importance of attending the meeting” (really, that sounds extreme) “I thought so to.”

    If you have any ideas how I can better respond, I’d certainly appreciate it!
    thanks
    Michelle

    • Michelle,

      Best to just say that “the job was no longer a fit for you” and that you chose to move on. Tough situation. In general, “you are not paying me to do this” often comes across as a negative to employers — even when it shouldn’t. I think it’s best not to go into it.

      Good luck,
      Chandlee

  99. I am leaving my current job because the company I work for has almost impossible work standards in regards to how to spend their corporate money in regards to running of the business. Also, my employees (due to their poor pay I’m sure) are disgruntled most of the time and I’m tired of their nonsense because due to the corporate constraints there is not much I can do to change their work environment.

    What is the best way to explain that?

    • Laura,

      My advice would be — if you can possibly stand it — to wait to leave until after you have another job secured as many people find it takes months in the current environment. When asked why you want to leave, say you are ready for a new opportunity — complaining about your current employer always leads one to question whether you will later complain about them — which is something you don’t want. (If you can afford not working for six months and are really miserable, then you may want to go ahead and work.

      My general advice on how to answer this question is to NEVER use adjectives like “impossible,” “poor pay,” “disgruntled.”
      If necessary, state only what can be objectively observed, “Over ten people have left my department in the last six months. Only one has been replaced.”

      Good luck and all the best,
      Chandlee

  100. Hello,

    I have recently resigned from my position before I was fired for poor performance. I feel that my performance was effected by the shear number of people in my office. I went from working in an office of 5 people to an office of over 60 people. My manager also agreed that that was probably one of the underlying reasons why I had poor performance. I have an interview tomorrow and I honestly don’t know how to answer the question regarding why I resigned or why the position was not a good fit for me without discouraging my potential employer.

    Thanks for your help,
    Sheryl

    • Hi Sheryl,

      Simply state the facts: The office went from 5 to 60 and the culture ceased to be a fit for you. That should be enough for the employer — ideally.

      Good luck with your interview and keep us posted.

      All the Best,
      Chandlee

  101. Hello,
    I recently left my job (healthcare)because I got tired of my job tasks, It started becoming boring and I wanted to pursue another field(higher education).My current job is in the new field but realized that the company’s integrity is very poor and I do not think it is a good fit(it is still early so I may be wrong) and the position may not be ideal. I recently found another position in healthcare(field I left) that I would like to apply for-more money, company is affiliated with my old job, better benefits, leadership role etc. if I apply and be called for an interview, should I talk about my current job(2 weeks in) and what should I say when asked why I left the healthcare job) . I am thinking not to put the current job on my resume since I’m 2 weeks in.

    I told my pervious employer that I was interested in going back to school and that I got another position in the field that I thought I was interested in.. But now I am not sure if I am really interested in the field…..sorry if it is confusing. Help please :)

    Thanks for the help,
    Welli

    • may I ask you what you tell interviewers when asked why you quit your job? Im stuck trying to tell them something without sounding like a whiner or someone who might be hard to deal with. I feel that Im giving people the wrong impression of me.

      • Hi Cindy,

        I recommend not using any adjectives, and describing the situation simply as one would see it with a camera. Example: The company went from 60 to 20 employees in size, without any change in business volume. Before the downsizing, I worked 40 hours a week, after I worked 75.

        Try writing out your answer this way and I’ll give you suggestions on tweaking it.

        Good luck,
        Chandlee

  102. I resigned from my job on June 22nd because I felt that my boss didn’t recognize me for the accomplishments and hard work I put in the dept. There were days she wouldn’t even talk to me but would talk to others. I felt that I was going nowhere in that company. Now I’ve had several inteviews but when I’m asked why did I quit after 8-1/2 years I get stuck. I had an inteview yesterday and I told them that I was unhappy there and felt that I wasn’t being recognized. They asked for examples and I was actually able to give them an example. Plus some of the people in my dept didn’t answer the phones, they actually turned them off and all the calls would come to me and my boss did nothing….I just doing know what to say about me leaving and I’ve noticed that the interviewers just wont leave it alone..They keep asking me questions…

    • Cindy,

      I apologize, I didn’t see this comment when I responded to you earlier. Try writing up this scenario — but in a way which doesn’t show that your colleagues weren’t cooperating with you.

      An alternative thing to say is that you simply felt you were stuck with limited opportunity for advancement as there had not been any promotions internally (if that was the case). And that you were getting a higher volume of calls than your peers, you took your job seriously and answered them — and realized that it would be better to focus on your job search full-time than to do poor work in the interim.

      Good luck,
      Chandlee

  103. Hello, I had just left my new job in the beginning of September, of which I started in mid May of the same year. The reason I left was due to my inability to adjust to the fast paced and odd scheduling
    that this job entailed. I had a string of bad days which collectively contributed to a bad review but I would not like to convey this to any prospective employers. I have learned tremendously from this experience. Ultimately, I would like to know if I should list this job on my resume, to avoid any large gaps and if I do should I also use them as a reference?

    Thank you in advance for your help!

    • Mark,

      I think you should consider two things:

      1. Is the old company willing to provide a reference for you? If not, that may be a sign on which way to proceed there.

      2. What can you take away from this last situation? My read of it is that you prefer working within an environment where you know what to expect on a day-to-day basis and have regular hours. You may want to seek out new positions that offer you this possibility.

      All the very best,
      Chandlee

  104. Hi Chandlee,

    I am happy to say that I found a job. However, after much discussion with my boss, I realize that he has intention to get me to do selling of my company events. We are an events company. E reason why I joined this company is to learn more about event management. Now, it seems like I won’t get to learn what I have set out to learn. How should I go about telling him about this?

  105. How do you answer the question “Why do you want to leave your current position?”. I am currently employed with a foster care agency as an Admin Asst. I just want a change and have had 4 different managers in 4 years. The turnover is very high. I have a phone interview for the counseling dept. at our local university for an Admin Asst. position. Would like some advice.

    Thank you,

    Steff

  106. Hi Chandlee

    please help, I have an interview the this week, how do i respond to the question (why you quit your job).
    in my case i had to rellocated cause i god married and i had complacations due to my pregnancy.

    i told my prv employer that i rellocating to where my husband was dd not tell them about being pregnant.

    Tnx,
    Nana

    • Nana,

      Keep it simple. Just say you left the job due to geographic location, that you relocated to be with your family — and that this is no longer an issue since you are now living in the same area as your family. No need to discuss the pregnancy.

      Good luck,
      Chandlee

  107. Hello, I am a nurse that just relocated. I was fortunate to obtain a position in a facility working with children. However, due to some personal issues and overwhelming circumstances I made some errors, (for which I openly admitted to), during a couple of my shifts. I made it clear that I was overwhelmed during my shift, nonetheless one thing lead to another and my manager called me to say that perhaps I should take a night off, with pay, before I work on my own again, I want to make it clear that I had never worked woth kids before in the nurse setting, except for in my short maternity practicum. I did have a 2 week orientation and 14 buddy shifts. I was becomming accustomed to the new computer system as well. Nonetheless I had an interview with my manager to discuss what had happened during my shifts. Concerns and accustions were brought to my attention at the time of the meeting which had not been brought to my attention before, in turn I felt betrayed, hurt and angry. My point is that I have an interview in the same hospital but in a different department for a regular full time position. I got the job in the first place becasue my previous employer gave me such an excellent reference. However, I feel that my current experience will jepordize my future opportunities in the same hospital. If it comes up during my interview, how can I say why I did not work out or want to stay in that position without looking like I am bashing the manager/unit. Please help. Thank you.

    • Hi Ruby,

      Recommend you stick to the facts…Working with children was a new area for you; you discovered that it was not as good of a fit as you anticipated — and it was harder adjusting to a night schedule, a new computer system and a new type of patient at the same time. Don’t bad mouth your current employer, just say you think that the other position may play better to your strengths and what you are used to — if this is in fact the case. This might also be a graceful way to make an exit from your current department — just be honest about the process, so that you don’t catch your current manager off-guard.

      In the meantime, be extra vigilant, follow instructions, and do your current job with a smile. Good luck!

      All the Best,
      Chandlee

  108. I’m a nurse working for a company in which I recently went from a part time position to a full time position in a different role. I was on the job for 9 days, had some issues with my boss that I spoke with her about and thought were resolved. I had orientation for 2 days then was on a conference for 6 days. The following Monday I was brought into the office and addressed by my Director, my new Manager and HR. No previous warnings or discussions. I was told that the meeting was because there were concerns for my “behaviour related to performance”. AFter 9 days on the job, I failed to see how performance came into it and the fact that I had a difference of opinion and questioned my boss, left me baffled that she would go to such extremes. She is also in a 6 month contract position for her job so doesn’t really work for the company. At any rate, I was essentially told they were extending my probationary period by 2 months and if I didn’t agree, the only other option was immediate dismissal. I signed the paper, went home and thought about the situation and resigned two days later.

    The problem now, is I have an interview on Monday for the same position in a different location of the Province. How can I answer the question of why I resigned within 9 days of starting a new position without it being negative, making me look like I was unreasonable or a “problem employee”?

    • Steph,

      Find out what the labor laws are in your country moving forward — is it necessary to disclose a position on your resume if you worked there for less than two weeks?

      Keep the interview answers general — transitional leadership running department — not a good fit, etc.

      Stay focused on new job, not past ones…

      Good luck and all the best,
      Chandlee

  109. About a year ago I resigned from my job because I was not happy and it was part time. Some time back I applied for a position from this company in another department and was asked why I had resigned but could come up with the answer. I have been unemployed for the past year. I didn’t burn any bridges.

  110. Hi,

    How do i respond to the question (why you quit your last job) as my last job I only worked for 3 months as i was not happy at all.
    but I could not said bad thing about my last job so how should I ans?

    please help
    thanks

    • Witty,

      If you are applying for a different type of job that requires a new type of training, say that you realized two months into it (or whenever it was the case) that the nature of the work was not a fit for you — and that you decided it was better for you — and your employer — if you pursued a new type of work sooner as opposed to later. That way, the company could be efficient about hiring and training someone else to do the job and you could continue to move forward.

      Then explain how the job you are currently pursuing does fit your strengths and interests, and that you are committed to working in this type of work — regardless of whether you are selected for this particular role or not.

      Good luck and all the best,
      Chandlee

  111. I just started a new job on October 3rd but have a really big problem. Its not a bad job and pays more then I have ever made which is a plus but there is one really bad downside to this. My Supervisor’s husband is the Warehouse Mgr where I work and he really has an anger issue. Within 2 weeks he came running upstairs to me, from the warehouse, to yell at me for not doing the orders right. Now this is only 2 weeks into the job so naturally I’m going to make some mistakes. He came slamming the paperwork on my desk and said “what the hell is this, and even used the “f” word”. Then he came up 2 more times that day. I have been asking for help from my boss and I’ve been trying my hardest but things are going to happen. So one day he comes upstairs and he looks like he’s going to blow a fuse at me. After all this. I found out he has a drinking problem (another employee that I know told me this at a party) and he comes in hungover alot. Plus work has sent him to anger management classes. He exploded at me one day and I told my boss (his wife) that he intimidates me and makes me nervous and she told me to think of him as an “angry customer”. Well I couldn’t because at that point I was afraid to send any orders to him because I thought he would be coming back upstairs and yell at me again. I went to HR about this and told them I can’t even concentrate with whats going on. It was obvious there is a history of this with him and now my boss won’t speak to me only if she has to. All orders I do go through her then she okays them, then I send them to him. But its so uncomfortable working there with all this going on. I’ve been there a total of 6 weeks. I also found out they had 3 people quit in my position since July. I don’t know how to handle working this job.

    • Cindy,

      It sounds like you are in a tough position and your boss — married to a partner with an explosive temper — is in an even tighter spot. If management and HR is aware of the situation, that may be half the battle — since it’s likely they may let him go at some point.

      As uncomfortable as it may feel, it seems like you may have a working solution for now in terms of how the work gets done. Once you’ve mastered this and submitted more orders without a problem, perhaps you can mend fences with your boss by asking her what else you can do to make her job easier…and look for ways to make sure the orders are done correctly.

      I am sure your boss does not want to lose employees quickly.

      The other option — of course — is to look for a new job. But, whenever possible — it’s great if you can wait to quit until AFTER you have secured that next position.

      Good luck and all the best,
      Chandlee

  112. I left education for medical communications. I then left medical communications for education due to lack of advancement and for a higher pay (believe it or not). I want to return to medical communications. What do I say about why I left to only return to medical communications?

    • Talk about what you appreciate the most in the field of medical communications. Keep it simple and let them know you’d be coming back knowledgeable and refreshed.

      Good luck and all the best,
      Chandlee

  113. I left a company after 13 years because the new, much younger manager, found all the wrong things that I did. We came up with game plans to resolve the issues but before I even had a chance to follow through, I was brought to HR and had 3 months of final written warnings. The case was finally closed but 3 months later, I was hauled down to HR again for “lack of commitment” and the whole case was reopened again. After doing 2 of the appeal process steps, I handed in my one month resignation notice. I didn’t give a reason.
    I have many befuddled co-workers who don’t understand why I quit because of the great job that I did. I felt like I needed to resign before they fired me. It was that nit picky.
    I have many glowing letters from customers, my old manager and professional co workers.
    How do I address why I left in a professional manner during my interviews?
    I know about saying looking for opportunity to advance, but would say I needed a break from the stress or something about the management team had unrealistic expectations?
    Thank you, V

  114. I have a Boss that has a bad temper and a womanizer. He his also fetish. Though he doesnt go out with his employer but does not care whether people are looking at him. The whole problem started the day he discovered that I attends his church which his well known. I was invited to the church programme one day, i decided to join them. He called me to his office one day dt he doesn’t employe people from his church and said if I still want to work with him i should keep my mouth shot. But since then he was not comfortable withh always looking for my slightest mistake. Others might go scot free but he wont spare me. I collected tax clearance letter oneday which he gave me suspension on it but others did the same thing he did not do anything to them. He made life difficult for me. Am alwas under tension any time am working for him bcs he will be shouting at u. I made a mister of putting wong stamp on different letter headed and he gave me suspension l. What can i say in an interve why i left my last job.

  115. I left my last job without notice after they said they would work with my school schedule and did not. I was doing home healthcare and felt very under-trained in the position and decided to go to school they were not supportive in that decision because they rarely would hire STNA’s because they had a pay freeze at 9.00 dollars. and no advancement beyond that position. I since then have completed my courses and I am now a State Tested Nursing Aid, seeking new employment. I am also working towards my LPN and would love to work in a nursing home from here-out. How can I answer the question of why I left my last job I was with them for 11 months and the job relates to what I am applying for.

    • Dee,

      I would simply say you left to finish that part of your education — and to focus on finishing the coursework. No need to go into further detail.

      Good luck and all the best,
      Chandlee

  116. One of my recent employment was a toxic environment where I was promised a higher paying job in my field (graphic designer); instead I was placed in a print room where the fumes made me sick everyday. I also left the job because I was doing 3 jobs at minimum pay with the promise of advancing (I knew they were lying because this company had a high turn over rate and and they are infamous for promises).
    How do I explain why I left this job with a positive answer? To note, I took a job outside my field afterwords where I had a positive experience and a valid reason why I left. I’m afraid if I say, “there was no opportunity for growth” and they see an unrelated job afterwords, they’ll ask me why I quit and didn’t wait for opportunities to follow. I’m stressed out every time I need to explain to a potential employer why I quit my previous job.

  117. Please help me, one of my recent employment was a toxic environment where I was promised a higher paying job in my field (graphic designer); instead I was placed in a print room where the fumes made me sick everyday. I also left the job because I was doing 3 jobs at minimum pay with the promise of advancing (I knew they were lying because this company had a high turn over rate and and they are infamous for promises).
    How do I explain why I left this job with a positive answer? To note, I took a job outside my field afterwords where I had a positive experience and a valid reason why I left. I’m afraid if I say, “there was no opportunity for growth” and they see an unrelated job afterwords, they’ll ask me why I quit and didn’t wait for opportunities to follow. I’m stressed out every time I need to explain to a potential employer why I quit my previous job.

    • Danielle,

      I’d simply state the painting issue — the headaches caused by fumes in the print room — and say you left because you noticed that when you weren’t in that particular environment, you felt better. Don’t go into the other issues and don’t complain. Simply say you chose to be proactive about it, and now you are ready to re-enter the field.

      Just let them know you can’t work in a print room…

      Good luck and all the best,
      Chandlee

    • Danielle,

      Just keep it simple: Mention that the business used a chemical in their print room — where you were assigned to work — that gave you headaches, you left because it could not be figured out…When you left, you got better.

      You don’t anticipate it will be a problem in the future, and you are eager to go back into your field.

      Good luck,
      Chandlee

  118. I have been in my current job for 8mo. I just put in my 2wks notice because it is way to stressful and demanding at times. I also feel that I’m just not comprehending my job as well as I should be at this point, and it was only going to get harder and more stressful as time goes by. I explained things to my employer who understood, (2 other people quit previously for the same reasons), my question is what should I put on applications as to why I quit my last position?

    • Christy,

      If asked, say you are leaving to consider new opportunities. That said, if your employer has lost other employees for the same reason — would they be willing to modify their program/training/expectations to entice you to stay. May be a long shot but also worth it…

      Good luck and all the best,
      Chandlee

  119. HI I was fired from my last job due to lateness, although this is not really true this is the reason they gave. I have been going on interviews and the problem I am having is how do address the question as to why I left my last job. I dont want to state that it was for lateness because that will negatively impact my interview. I did ask my career counselor at school and she stated that because I did receive unemployment I can state that I was laid off. Well I have been using that reason but I feel as if I will get caught in this white lie and not hired. please help! How do I address this question??

    • Francine,

      It is possible — and happens sometimes — that you won’t be asked that particular question at all.

      Is there anyone else at that company that may be willing to vouch for you? If yes, I recommend that you touch base with them and preserve the relationship.

      As for how to accurately represent what happened, you may want to talk to an Employment Lawyer for suggestions on what they can or can’t say. Or get someone to check your references for you. We are not employment attorneys so can’t advise you on how best to tackle this particular aspect of your application process.

      Good luck,
      Chandlee

  120. I worked six months as a Director of mental health, tasked with building a mental health facility from the ground up. I enjoyed the job and it had tons of opportunities to grow, etc. but was working 70 plus hours a week and the management style throughout the company was micromanage. I did a great job and my bosses loved me; they’d give me a great review if I asked; they do know that I left for medical issues. Overall, I left due to being physically and emotionally burnt-out and had some medical issues to attend to, which have since been resolved. I gave notice and began a part-time job in mental health. I’m looking to get back in the Director’s seat at other companies and my resume is being well-received, but can’t figure out how to justify leaving a Director position, going into the same field–but in a lesser position with no management responsibility–and now looking for a Director position again.

    • Margot,

      Based on what you’ve said here, I’d focus first on researching work environments and doing your homework to ensure that you get the right cultural fit first. The last thing I’d recommend is taking a new job and burn out again. If I were you, I’d

      1. Identify what you most need in a new job — for example, do you want to go into an established mental health facility now? Focus your search on organizations/jobs that fit within your new criteria.

      2. work on networking and building relationships with organizations that have a reputation for having a healthy culture — and then be positive and future-focused when you apply for new positions.

      Good luck and keep us posted on this.

      Good luck,
      Chandlee

  121. I have a problem and a question. I was recently terminated from my job in November of last year due to a mistake I made the month before and thanks to a really great friend and previous manager I got another job at the beginning of December. I’m glad to be working but it’s only part-time and I can only do it for so long before I’m going to either need more hours or a new job. I’ve been working for the second company for over 6 years but it was mostly seasonal and I had other full time jobs in between but would come back when I had a day off to help out. I’m filling out applications left and right to get my name back out there but when I come to the part about whether or not they can contact my previous employers I get stuck. I know I can get a great reference from my current employer and the one I had before the company I got let go from but I don’t know how to determine if I should have my future employer contact the company I got let go from. I don’t know what kind of reference I’ll get from that company if they are contacted. And I also don’t know what to say about why my previous employer can’t be contacted. I’m stuck because I know that if I get accepted for a face to face interview that they will ask what happened at my previous company seeing as how I was only there for 7 months. I learned from my mistakes, the hard way of course, and I am the better for it but will a future employer see that? I’m just afraid that this company is going to be the reason I’ll only be employed part time at my current job for a long time without the possibility of full time or even advancement. I have good references to use but is that enough to counteract my termination?

    Thanks for your help!

  122. Hi Ronnie Ann,

    I made 2 moves within my company and this was right when I was due for a promotion , each time! The first time I moved, I was told about a wonderful profil in theo ther team, so I chucked the promotion and moved , however the role never came to me and I had to start from scratch to build my caree, which I did. Got pregnant which was used instantly to not to promote me. Had a baby and was asked to wait for 6 months for promotion. I couldnt wait that long as back then I felt i was growing old so I moved back to my previous team as I was told, they could give me a good role having known me /my skills eralier on. I was not given any work for close to 6 months as the “good role” was still on its way. then the folks who hired me started talking about the role for me, the manager who sat next to me knew the skills I had built in the earlier team were amazxing and she felt insecure and said, I had a small baby and she was not comfortable with me doing the “good role” and I was asked to start my career from “scratch”.
    When my peers who joined with me 8 years back are now managers, I am 2 levels lower. I am looking out but I have such low confidence. I blanked out yesterday in the interview when I was asked about my key strengths, what are leadership competencies?
    I have not really seen a true leader, how could I even asnwer that question though it was so simple.. rather seems simple today as I am no longer being interviewed.
    Then I read your article about key strenghts and there was so much I could relate myself to, so thank you for that.
    However, I dont really know what to say, when I am asked-why do you want to leave after 8 years at one organization? I obviously cannot say what I have been thru, and I feel so stupid when I say, looking for challenging roles etc.. when deep down I know thats not true. I want to leave as I feel so let down.I was to grow in my career, do well for myself with all the hard work I put in..but how do I say this?Please help.
    Thanks,
    Karen

    • chandlee says:

      Karen,

      When you’re in a job for a long time and have not been promoted as you would like, it can feel demoralizing. The key here, I think is to do a couple of things:

      1. Take stock of your strengths (sounds like this is already in process). Talk to people who like and support you outside of work if you need help. There are many tools on the web which link to quick strengths assessments that are free, you can also purchase a book that includes the Clifton Strengths Finder, a good quick assessment.

      Identify strengths you’d like to use in your next position — and market those when you apply for new jobs.

      2. When you look for a new job after 8 years there is no need to go into detail on why you are leaving. You certainly don’t want to go negative. Just say you are ready to explore working in a different type of role — using the _______ strengths that you have. You’ve certainly shown you have loyalty and can do your job.

      Good luck and all the best,
      Chandlee

  123. Good day;

    I recently was let go off a company after more than 14.5 years there. The reason I was given is that my performance was unsatisfactory. I was also told that I was placed into a dvelopment plan for a year and I did not pass. The issue is that I was hired intially for a totally diffrent position but that position was outsourced. So, I was placed into my last position which was completely out of my set of skills, very stressfull and on top on things I was put on the midnight shift. Now I have this job interview coming up in excatly the position which is my skills and specaility. The problem is I stated to this new company that I left last comapny on my own because the job was not within my field and on the midnight shift. And knowing that if called I will not get a good reference, I arrangend with one of my co-workers to act as my manager. This co-worker agreed to this since he truly belived that I was really good at even my last position and I was treated pretty unfairly. I am so concerend and scared that they will call my ex-company and find the truth. The problem is that my last company is so big and my salary was so high it is really difficult for someon (or anyone) to belive that anyone laeves it. Please help me ASAP. Many thanks

  124. Hi there

    I left my job four weeks ago and now I am going for job interview and the type of questions the interviewer ask me is that why I left mu other job, so I tell them that the role was not as challenging as I expected it to be and also the scope for growth is very limited. I would like to advance in my career and at Giant group (my previous company) it wasn’t a viable career so that’s why I left. The interviewer ask me without finding another job so I will tell them that I leave at home with my family so I have all the support I need. Please kindly advise how I can answer the interview question in a better way also if the interviewer was to ask me question what is your ideal role how can I answer please give example also if they were to ask me what will I remember you and what is your ideal sales role. How I can answer that too please advise

  125. I have a situation where there were unethical things going on with my former employer. I said something about it and was subsequently given an ultimatum and forced to resign. How do I approach this in an interview. I’ve had several temp agencies tell me different things. One said to just say I was presented with an ultimatum and chose the latter. The other agency said that’s too vague and I need to just say there were unethical things were going on and that isn’t who I am (which is true). But this goes against all that I’ve read. That you are supposed to remain/sound positive in and interview. How can I do that when my experience was so negative?

  126. Mr. Black says:

    After 10 years with a large U.S. wireless provider, I was let go for not making my goals. I took six months off, and now I am interviewing. I had an interview today that threw me off guard. The interviewer gave me the standard sales questions, then hit me with “I see that you were with your last job ten years, why were you not ever promoted?”. With all due respect, how would I know what my former managers were thinking? They would never consult or confide in me when it was time for them to make decisions.

    What should I have said?

    • Susan P. Joyce says:

      Hi Mr. Black,

      Good question! Do you know why you stayed in the same job for 10 years? Is it because other jobs you saw were not appealing? Is it because no one ever offered to promote you or because you never asked for a promotion?

      How to answer the question: You could say that you were happy with the job you had – the work, co-workers, managers, clients, etc. – with no desire to move up into management in that organization.

      That answer may cost you some opportunities in organizations that want ambitious people. But, it may make you very appealing for other opportunities where they want to see stability in someone they hire.

      Good luck with your job search!
      Susan

  127. Please help i wish to look for a perm job .I was happy that I had finally found a perm job as all long the job I was being offered is contract job.However I am facing problem on what should l say when interviewer’s ask why do I left the current company. I been working this company only for 5 months plus however due to some issues in the company not able to work well with the admin manger I had resign. Please help on how to answer .

  128. Hello, My name is Ammi,
    I need your help.I had been working with an automation company from last 5 months as an HR trainee, but the work environment was so conservative and bad, My manager and senior always interfering in my personal life.After two months of my joining they start torching me with work pressure and mental harassment.So finally I decided to quit the job.Now I am searching for a new job,but the thing is I am unable to understand and think a positive and good answer for resigning from my earlier job only in 5 months although i was working as a trainee.Please advice me and suggest me some positive and good answers which could be acceptable in my interviews.

  129. Great article! Just wanted to add an example of what you could say if you want to leave your current position for a better one:

    “It’s important to me that I have the chance to grow and work for a company that offers the best opportunities in my profession. Although I’m doing well where I’m currently working, I’m really looking for a job where I have more opportunity to demonstrate and grow my skills.”

  130. Hi

    I left the organisation I was working for 3 years. The reason I left is that the organization is involved in unethical actions including fraud and corruption that I personnally do not approve. I left also because my director never agreed to review my performance and allow me for development.she screams,slamps documents on my desk,unstrustured work with no support, no growth.twice I ended up in a mental institution because I could not take it anymore.since I left I went to three interviews and I am told how great I am,but I never get the job.I am wondering if this question of why I left my previous employment messes my chances.please help.

  131. What should I tell to an interviewer to the question, “Why did you leave your job?”, I left my job because of health reason. Also, what should should I tell them if they ask follow up questions?

    • Susan P. Joyce says:

      Hi Jaem,

      Tell them that you left your job because of health issues which have since been resolved (right?). And, now you are healthy and back in the job market looking for your next opportunity.

      Good luck with your job search!
      Susan

      • Thank you Susan. I appreciate it. I got a text message today from a company saying that their recruitment team will call me within this day for screening and interview schedule. Thanks again.

  132. Hello! I recently applied for a position at an ex-employer. I have spoken to members of the team including the person I would be directly reporting into and they are very excited to [possibly] have me back. The problem is that they’re not paying as well as I’d hoped. Not by much – maybe 8-10% less. More importantly, my bonus at my current job is paid out in mid-January. It’s a decent amount and I would really hate to walk away from it… although I REALLY want to get out of this current role. I don’t think that the ex-employer would want to wait that long. Is it possible to ask them to pay the bonus amount to me so that I can start sooner? Or should I not even mention my bonus and say I’m not available until mid-January? I am excited about the possibility of going back there but I also don’t want to walk away from money I’ve already earned.

    • Susan P. Joyce says:

      Hi Alex,

      Tough spot! I agree that it is unlikely that this offer will stay open that long.

      My question to you is how certain you are that you will get a bonus in mid-January? If you are sure that you will get this bonus (something in writing from the company?), then you might (!) want to ask the ex-employer if they would consider either postponing your start date or giving you a “signing bonus” for leaving your current position before the bonus is paid out. Or, possibly make some other concession to get you “on board” sooner.

      I would approach this very cautiously, though! It could backfire on you, too, if they decide they are being “blackmailed.”

      The good news is that you are currently receiving a paycheck, and it looks like your skills are in demand.

      Good luck with your job search!
      Susan

  133. Hello there
    I am currently unemployed. I quit my last role. The manager was weird. I am having a tough time finding work. There is a vendor offering me a consulting gig but the twist is he wants me to help him get the deal. It an indian technology firm and i do not know their reputation with the client so I do not want to go in there and make a fool out of myself trying to get this deal and representing them and I do not know reputation is. I will be remembered. I have big company experience. Plus I had to ask him to provide a contract for that work. Not cool. I told him no for now but I may get desperate that I need to this short gig. What do you think about that? I wanted to get your opinion.
    Thank you

  134. I would have preferred he have the deal and then just staff me on the project.
    Thank you

  135. I recently quit my job without notice in the middle of a day. I had worked there for 8 years and struggled with communication from my direct report. Although I had climbed the ladder to success each year,it was a struggle because of constant changes within the organization . You never knew what each week or even day was going to have a new goal. Although my position was to put accountability in place the decisions made weren’t always respected or supported. I just had a breaking point and couldn’t go through another year of it. Now I find myself trying to explain this in job interviews.

    Please help !

    I need some help with this interview question.
    Why did you suddenly quit a job after 8 years of employment and nothing in the pipeline.

  136. SAROJ KUMAR SATAPATHY says:

    Dear Sir,
    please help me when i face any interview , what are i talking
    actually i had joined in a finance co . (chit fund) as a branch operation incharge for 1.5 yrs. I left that co. because that co. shutdown.So help me what i will talking when face any interview -when interviewer talking me why you left your previous co.

  137. Hi Susan or Ronnie Ann,
    I recently left a job because the environment was highly dysfunctional. the manager was harassing and the VP of HR was harassing as well. I was at a director level. What should I tell the interviewers? This has come up as to why I left. I have indicated that the I left because the top down priorities were not in sync., I have indicated I left because the environment was not good. Should I state I was being harassed?
    thanks for your help.

    • Florence says:

      Hi Sara,

      I am actually in the same situation and not sure what to say to the interviewers. Hopefully, everything works out fine for you. Good luck!

      ~Florence

  138. Florence says:

    Good Afternoon Susan & Ronnie Ann,

    I am looking for a new job but not sure how to answer the interview question why I want to leave my current job. I am currently employed for a year now in the same company, but there is some things that I feel my employer does not take very seriously. I have been mentally & emotionally harassed by one of the male employees. I did file a complaint to the management team several times but nothing was done from their end. The only thing they did was conducting a meeting with all of us and let us speak our mind. That was not enough at all. My employer did not take any corrective action whatsoever toward that male employee. Now, I don’t feel safe working in the company and it is not worth of my time and energy. I do not want to speak negative about my current employer during interview as I honestly like working for them despite of the situation. The only issue I am having is being mentally & emotionally harassed by one of the male employees. I just wished my employer would have fired him immediately.

    What should I say if that question pops up during the interview? Please help. Thank you.

    • Susan P. Joyce says:

      Hi Florence,

      Too bad! Nasty situation, particularly since you don’t feel safe now. Unfortunate that management is being so dumb, but it is a too-common reaction.

      The question about why you want to leave your current job will probably be asked, and I agree with you that referencing this situation is not a good idea. So, you need to say something that is at least partially true and logical for you.

      Focus on positives – both those behind you and those ahead of you.

      Briefly describe how you enjoy your current job: the work, your accomplishments, and successes.

      HOWEVER, the time has come to move on because when you look around you see that (choose the most appropriate or add your own):

      • Opportunities for continued growth are too limited in the current organization.
      • No room for advancement (the organization is too small, perhaps, or everyone has been there a long time and they aren’t moving).
      • You prefer more challenges in your work – no opportunity to learn.
      • You want to change the direction of your career slightly and it couldn’t happen there.
      • The commute became a hassle (timing/availability of public transportation or excessive mileage on your car).
      • Key/important employees have left and it feels like leaving is a good idea.

      Be sure that you answer isn’t a threat to the new employer – don’t say the old organization was too small if the new organization is also small or that the commute is too hard if the new location is also difficult to get to.

      BUT (perhaps), the organization was small, hopefully smaller than where you are interviewing, and the opportunities for growth were more limited than you thought when you joined the organization.

      Focus on looking ahead to working in an organization which offers you opportunities for growth and staying positive.

      Good luck with your job search!
      Susan

      • Florence says:

        Hi Susan,

        Thank you for your advise. Truly appreciate it. It is an unfortunate situation. It makes me so angry that the management does not do anything. I feel like they simply do not care.

        Is it a good idea to just leave the company or should I wait until I find a new job? The problem is I really cannot take it anymore as my patience has reached its limit.

        Please advise. Thank you.

        ~Florence

        • Susan P. Joyce says:

          Hi Florence,

          If you can safely (!) remain in the job, it’s best to do that. Job hunting is much harder when you are unemployed. Employers prefer to hire someone who is currently employed.

          Best to be patient, as long as you are not in danger from this toad.

          When you find a new job, leave this one very carefully. Even though their bad management has forced you to leave, it’s better not to burn that bridge if you can avoid it. Future employers may call them to check your references, and a burned bridge can damage that opportunity in the future.

          Good luck with this!
          Susan

  139. I am wondering also how to answer the question as to why I left my last job. It was a very volatile working environment. Lots of yelling and swearing. My original boss left at the end of December after the owner brought in his daughter and they hated each other.

    3 weeks ago I was called into a meeting room where I was yelled at for 15 to 20 minutes and was threatened for no reason. Up to this point there had been no issues at all and they said they were happy with my work and I did a very good job.

    When all was said and done the owner stood up and asked for a hug. Twice. Told him I was not a huggy person. I did not feel comfortable staying after that and let them know I didn’t appreciate being threatened and I was going home.

    Now I need to know how to nicely answer why I left the job. I got along well with everyone I worked with even the daughter – or so I thought.

  140. Hi Ronnie Ann!
    My friend needs your advice.He is working in a private company for 6 months and is deciding to quit the job.so now he is giving interview for other company but one of the difficulties he faced in every interview about a question “whether you are a permanent employee in previous company or not,if you are a permanent employee then how you are going to come to our company if we require you now as they will take at least 3 months time to make you out of their company and if you are not a permanent employee then you are lying because it takes a minimum of 6 months to become a permanent in any private company ?”.He is confused to answer such question.
    he asked for my advice and I thought you would be the best person to answer this.
    It would be great if you could help out.

    Regards,
    anil

  141. Hi Ronnie Ann and Susan!

    I have a dilemma. I used to freelance for a company seven years ago. Long story short, things didn’t work out and I was dismissed for my quality of work not being up to par.

    I quit freelancing and worked a full-time job for the last five years. During that time, I’ve grown professionally and have done excellent at that job, progressed well, and have great relationships with my supervisors and coworkers.

    I just recently decided to give freelancing another try. Having heard the company I had previously worked with was under a new owner and management, I applied for a part-time position with them. Interviews went great and I had very good rapport with the new owner and office manager, so much so that they offered me my first small assignment for later this week.

    However, I just found out that the old office manager will be coming back to resume her position the following week. I know for sure she will remember me, and I’m worried that she will bring up my less than stellar performance in the past. We are not on bad terms, but she may feel it is her duty to mention it. I haven’t brought up that past experience, it having been so long ago, and I also feel that I have grown a lot professionally and have wonderful references who are willing to vouch for me. I didn’t want to go in with a new owner and have past mistakes bias her impression of me as that’s not representative of who I am today.

    What I’m wondering is: Do I bring it up at my next meeting with the new owner before the office manager comes back, or should I just not say anything and hope for the best? I’m also worried that if I bring it up now, I will come across as dishonest, and it will hurt my chances with this company before I’ve even started. Is there a proper way to bring it up now, after having gone the last couple of meetings without saying anything? I’m really worried about how that past performance will affect her impression of me now.

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