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Q: Why did you leave your previous role?

This interview question can be known to make people slightly uneasy, but it’s important to remember that your prospective employer is simply trying to understand a) that you left your position with good reason b) that you left on good terms and c) that you’re not likely to walk out on them at the first hurdle.

Before your interview, you should think about why you feel that you had to leave your last role and why it was the right time to move on. Even if it was due to conflicting working relationships, there are ways to articulate yourself without being negative.

Based on the interview feedback we’ve received from the clients we work with, here are a few pointers that act as guides to help you answer the question: why did you leave your last role?

Top tip: if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

Here, a few pointers that can act a guide when answering this question, but remember, your answers should always be truthful and relate to you personally.

Potential answer responses:

“I am ready to take on additional responsibility.” Explain that room for growth was somewhat limited and that you have professionally outgrown the role and would like to build upon your skills in a progressive environment because of your personal ambition.

“I want to progress down a particular route.” Utilise a part of the job description that initially attracted you to the role. You could, for example, say something along the lines of “my previous company is focused on [a certain aspect], and I am interested in expanding my knowledge within [a certain aspect] of the new company. This can then open up a conversation about why you are applying for this role.

“I am keen to improve my work/life balance.” If the company you’re interviewing for maintains good work/life balance values, this is a great way to respond, as it shows that you align with their behaviours and this can direct the conversation towards that.

From our perspective, it’s a good idea to always respond to this question with a positive tone and to not tarnish or talk negatively of the company you previously came from.

Your answers should be honest, straightforward and it’s good to answer in a way that the interviewer has nothing that they feel they need to probe on. It may help to practice beforehand so that you are clear and articulate.

If you fancy a chat with team enable about your thoughts on the interview question “why did you leave your previous role?” or to chat about our latest roles, get in touch.