Why are you moving jobs?

Published: 03rd August 2006
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What are your reasons for moving jobs?

You would be amazed how many people can not answer this question clearly or quickly. There are many reasons why you should be absolutely certain.

Many years ago, I interviewed a good candidate. The interview was going well. Then, I asked why he wanted to move. His reply went along the lines of "I can't stand my current Boss. If I work with him much longer, I will end up hitting him"!!!!!

My initial thought was 'Hmmmmm, What will happen if I ask him to do something difficult?'

The actual language used was somewhat stronger, but you get the point. I then started to wonder, is this guy prone to beating up his bosses and colleagues. Why has he not left sooner if his Boss has driven him to this point. Is he difficult to work with?

There may be many reasons why you would want to change jobs. Ideally you want to get a new position that will address your current concerns. If you don't understand yourself you will probably be unhappy in your next job. Therefore you have to be 100% truthful with yourself answering this question.

It is critical that you really do understand your reasons for leaving.

A prospective employer will often ask you this question. You need to be able to offer a constructive answer. Your reason for leaving might be that your boss is abusive and does not treat the staff properly. Rather than answer as the unfortunate candidate above did, it would be better to phrase your answer in a more positive light.

"There is a problem with the way that our manager treats everyone. It has created a bad atmosphere with my colleagues. However, I have learnt a lot from his/her experience and my time in 'Joe Bloggs' has been very successful. I fell it is time to expand my skills with a new position with a forward thinking company".

This approach outlines that there is a significant issue, but you have handled it in a mature way. You can then finish by reinforcing your positive attributes..

One of the biggest turn-off's at an interview is meeting the complainer. This person groans about many things, which are wrong with their current job. However, they will never be constructive about this.

Ask yourself a simple question; which of these two do you prefer?

* Someone cheerful, who tries their best to get the job done and is pleasant to work with.

* Someone who spends more time complaining, than getting their work done.

I know which one I prefer!

Your reasons for leaving can be a very powerful weapon in explaining your motives and will show you in a good light. We have all had unpleasant situations such as a company about to go bust that has forced you to move. This is a good reason to give a potential employer. However, resist the temptation to add, "I knew this was going to happen, the directors were useless, they didn't have a clue……"

The only time you may need to discuss this sort of thing is if you were in a senior management position and had advised against a course of actions that had dire consequences. Then you can play these sorts of situations to help explain your reason for leaving.

Always think things through from the interviewers perspective. They will want to understand why you want to leave as it can say much about you. The right reason will actually enhance your prospects. For instance citing "I have done well in my job and enjoyed it, but feel it is time to gain more experience in a bigger company" is a very positive statement.

The most common reasons for moving jobs are often given as:

* Your employer does not seem to pay the norm for your skills.

* Lack of career prospects

* Lack of interesting work.

All of these are valid reasons to give for moving, but always tread carefully with money. Looking to double your salary could make you look greedy and motivated only by money. It may also mean that you will job hop as soon as you see a position offering more money. Neither of which looks good.

It is also possible that a suitable internal vacancy may arise. Many employers would expect staff to apply for internal vacancies. If you have got a realistic chance of winning this internal position, then you should apply. If you are not sure then tread carefully. There is nothing more demoralising than not being offered the job when there was a more suitable internal candidate. This usually results in that person leaving shortly afterwards.

Steve Butler - CEO of Get More Job Offers

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