Some interview questions require specific responses. Anything outside of an acceptable answer can count against you -- and even cost you the job. One such question is the explanation for why you quit a previous job, particularly if you didn't have another job lined up to replace it. You must create a suitable response to the job-quitting question to get a job. Fortunately, there are several answers that employers find acceptable.
Youthful indiscretion is a suitable response as to why you quit a job, but you need to show you've changed and won't repeat the same mistake, according to career expert Martin John Yate. For example, you could say, "It took some time early in my career to really know what my interests were. I know I quit before I had another job, but I learned my lesson. I am very interested in the job you have available and know I can contribute to your company's success."
Relocation or Excessive Travel
It's conceivable that even as a young talented woman in your field, you had to quit a job because of your spouse's relocation. Your husband might be farther along in his career and earns more money. Any employer would understand that explanation and probably move on to the next question. If you work as a flight attendant or another job where you travel excessively, quitting might be the only way to ensure you can successfully search for new positions. It's difficult to interview for jobs when you're on the road all the time. If you use either of these explanations, stress to the interviewer that your life is more settled now and you're ready to make a longer-term commitment.
Pay and Advancement
Quitting a job doesn't always mean you left it before you found another job. If you leave a job for another one, you still technically quit the old job. That said, it's completely acceptable to quit a job for more money. However, don't make it just about the money. Indicate you are ready for the new challenges that go with the added responsibilities. Potential employers want to know that you are interested in advancing your skills and career instead of just shooting for higher pay.
Companies will pry about relationships you had with former bosses during interviews. Therefore, if you quit your job because of your boss, don't spill your guts about how despicable he was. Instead, focus on the positive experiences. Say, "I respected my boss and learned a lot from him, but my employment goals have since changed. I look forward to working for my next employer." Keep responses about quitting jobs short and to the point, and then focus on the job for which you are interviewing.
- The Get Hired Guide: Interview Questions/Answers, Why Are You Looking for a New Job?
- Great Answers to Tough Interview Questions: Martin John Yate
- Rasmussen College: Common Interview Questions and Answers
- U.S. News & World Report: How to Answer an Awkward Interview Question
- Forbes: The Secret to Answering "Why Did You Leave Your Last Job?"
- Business Insider: 29 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions
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