Author Topic: "Why do you want to leave your job?"  (Read 1090 times)

Victoria

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"Why do you want to leave your job?"
« on: February 14, 2020, 01:21:02 pm »
((This part got cut off originally; it was sent to Ask A Manager but I haven't heard from her)): I'm an attorney with 5 years of experience, first as an intern, with one company. I'm ready to depart.

I obviously canít say everything I want to say (toxic culture, always putting out fires, incompetent/virtually no administrative assistance, manager is checked out), and was thinking about saying ďSince I joined the department, itís become fully staffed at a very high level, and Iím the most junior person. It makes sense for the organization, but it also means that there opportunities for my professional growth are becoming sporadic.Ē

Iím particularly concerned about threading the needle between ďIím doing too much admin workĒ and ďI havenít been doing so much admin work that Iím not a competent attorney,Ē and Iíd love some suggestions or feedback on what exactly to say.

The new job would also be in the city I prefer to live in (rather than the suburbs, where I am now), but I think that would more organically come up in the "Why do you want to work here?" line of questioning, rather than the "Why do you want to leave?" bit.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2020, 03:47:21 pm by Victoria »

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wolfie

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Re: "Why do you want to leave your job?"
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2020, 01:42:00 pm »
Have you been with the company you are leaving for a while? If so then "I am looking for new growth opportunities." would work. If you haven't worked there for very long then "The env is not a good fit for me"

askamanager.com has good ideas for this.
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TootsNYC

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Re: "Why do you want to leave your job?"
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2020, 01:43:10 pm »
I obviously canít say everything I want to say (toxic culture, always putting out fires, incompetent/virtually no administrative assistance, manager is checked out), and was thinking about saying ďSince I joined the department, itís become fully staffed at a very high level, and Iím the most junior person. It makes sense for the organization, but it also means that there opportunities for my professional growth are becoming sporadic.Ē


I vote for not spending all that much time talking about that organization; keep the focus on you. So, "I've pretty much learned all the new skills I can there, and there isn't a good pathway to wider responsibility or a higher position. I'm ready to expand my skill set and broaden my experience, and I'd like to move up."

Don't dwell on it, don't overthink it.
You're ready to grow and to move up, and the opportunities to do that where you are have become pretty much exhausted. You've done as much as you can there, and now it's time to move on.

You could also say, "I'm looking for a place with good admin support, so I'll be free to focus on X areas."
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Victoria

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Re: "Why do you want to leave your job?"
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2020, 03:51:02 pm »
I obviously canít say everything I want to say (toxic culture, always putting out fires, incompetent/virtually no administrative assistance, manager is checked out), and was thinking about saying ďSince I joined the department, itís become fully staffed at a very high level, and Iím the most junior person. It makes sense for the organization, but it also means that there opportunities for my professional growth are becoming sporadic.Ē


I vote for not spending all that much time talking about that organization; keep the focus on you. So, "I've pretty much learned all the new skills I can there, and there isn't a good pathway to wider responsibility or a higher position. I'm ready to expand my skill set and broaden my experience, and I'd like to move up."

Don't dwell on it, don't overthink it.
You're ready to grow and to move up, and the opportunities to do that where you are have become pretty much exhausted. You've done as much as you can there, and now it's time to move on.

You could also say, "I'm looking for a place with good admin support, so I'll be free to focus on X areas."

I like this answer, but I'd be making a lateral move and I don't have the experience to be moving up for a couple more years at least. I'm also not sure if there are advancement opportunities (or any admin support) at where I'm going, so I don't necessarily want to imply that I'd need either of those things. What about "I've pretty much learned all the new skills I can there, and there isn't a good pathway for me to take on wider responsibilities, so I'm ready for a change."
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TootsNYC

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Re: "Why do you want to leave your job?"
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2020, 04:20:17 pm »
that sounds good.

My biggest point was to not spend much "airtime" on talking about that organization and its structure, and make YOU the subject of the sentence.

"I'd like to broaden my experience (or hone my focus on the more valuable parts of my job in preparation to greater responsibility)."

Also, you can actually say things like "somewhere with more administrative support" or "a firm with a more strategic focus."
That implies a criticism of the old place ("ah, she gets stuck doing admin work and doesn't want to") without actually saying it. It's an acceptable way to frame it.

I say this w/ lots of etiquette stuff: Don't talk about what you want to get away from (you already know "dumpster fire" stuff, but also don't talk about the overstaffing), and focus on where you want to go TO. What you DO want. "I want more time to expand on the core skills" or "I want to be part of a strategic team."


Also, it's been 5 years, and at only one firm, so someone who is ambitious will of course be ready to move to a different organization, if only for cross-pollination reasons ("I'd like to be exposed to a differently organized firm/firm of a different size"), and also because often to get a big jump, you need to move out. I know this is a lateral move, but you can talk about "the right time to make a move and expand my knowledge of the industry."
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Hmmm

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Re: "Why do you want to leave your job?"
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2020, 03:19:14 pm »
Focus more on why you want to work for them, what you're bringing to them, and less about why you want to leave.

I've had a great experience since starting as an intern with x firm and have established a strong base in "specialty" area. I believe that with your firm, I'll be able to use leverage that foundation for the benefit of your clients but also grow my skills and competency in speciality area.
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Winterlight

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Re: "Why do you want to leave your job?"
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2020, 10:16:37 am »
I generally go with a bland answer for this. Most companies don't care why you're moving, so, "I'm looking to expand my professional horizons," is fine. You definitely don't tell them in an interview about toxic workplace, etc. For one thing, they don't know you, and they might end up deciding that someone with this little discretion is the actual problem here!
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Shores

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Re: "Why do you want to leave your job?"
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2020, 12:56:49 pm »
I never tell the truth, itís not their business, itís my business and itís personal information.  Give a bland, generic reply like ďseeking different work experiencesĒ.  Give them a reason that canít be taken negatively so as to not have blowback later.

Kimpossible

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Re: "Why do you want to leave your job?"
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2020, 03:02:44 pm »
"I am ready for new opportunities. I've heard wonderful things about your firm. I would be a good fit here."

TootsNYC

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Re: "Why do you want to leave your job?"
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2020, 03:53:07 pm »
I'd say, give an answer that highlights why you'd be great at this job or this company.

Especially in the interview, always look forward.

Lula

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Re: "Why do you want to leave your job?"
« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2020, 03:56:27 pm »
I agree with the above posters: don't tell the interviewer what's wrong with your current job.  Tell them what's attractive about this job.

Aleko

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Re: "Why do you want to leave your job?"
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2020, 02:28:15 am »
The days when anyone expected to join a firm on qualifying and work there till they retired are long gone. These days it can be an actual strike against a candidate that they've been a decade in the same place, not widening their experience - I know people who are in precisely that bind, now they want to move but potential employers see them as stick-in-the-muds. Interviewers asking that question only want to hear an acceptable answer, implying that you've learned everything your current job had to give you, and you're ready to move on and up.
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