They are looking for 2 things: Red flags, for example “does this person complain a lot” or “will this person quit quickly if we hire him/her”. They are also looking for your motivations. To phrase it differently, they could be asking: “Why are you looking for a new role?” In this context, it is much more focused on your motivation in regards to the positives afforded by a new job, rather than any negativity you may feel about your current company.
Why it’s important to avoid negativity Just because your interviewer is friendly and wants to get to know you, that doesn’t mean they’re actually your friend. Remember you’re trying to impress them, not complain, also they will be on the lookout for any red flags. Spending their precious time explaining how you dislike your company will only show you as someone who likes to complain… and worse, that you might be a flight risk or someone who can’t handle pressure.
Focus on positive reasons for leaving a job Fortunately this is easy to overcome, just be positive! There are plenty of reasons for leaving a job that can be explained in a positive way that shows how you are trying to grow and expand.
“I feel like I’m ready to take on more responsibility but even if I perform well there is no chance in my current company”
“I want to develop a new skill that isn’t required in my current job”
“I don’t feel like my current role is challenging me anymore”
“Our market is mature, I’m motivated by new technology”
And try to connect this to what the company you are interviewing at does and the position that you are applying for.
To put this together:
“I want to develop a new skill that isn’t required in my current job, however in this role with your company, I’m excited by the challenge of learning XX”
“Our market is mature, I’m motivated by new technology, I’ve researched your technology, and feel that this has great potential in the market”
Try to make your reason about how you are moving toward a future instead of away from the past. Get specific in describing why this new opportunity is in alignment with your goals.
If you can’t avoid referring to something negative about your previous role, then show how you tried to improve the situation first, to show that you aren’t quitting at the first difficulty.
Of course structuring this answer in the most effective way can be difficult, so if you are considering changing roles or maybe already have an interview coming up that you want support with, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.