Career Advice

4 Tips & Answers to "Why Are You Leaving Your Job?"

min read
Vera Chan

Are you leaving a company for another job or moving onto something else? Even if it is not another role, bear these top tips in mind to help you have a positive exit interview. Your next employer may contact this employer and the information should be aligned.

It's a good tip not to burn any bridges. How do you do that? This article covers some things to think about when you are having a conversation. Whether it is with an HR manager or your boss, here is how to deliver tactful and targeted responses.

If you don't have another role to jump into next, you can get started with your search here.

Top Tips

Tip 1: Stay Positive

You may well be leaving your role for a negative reason, but you don't want that to cloud your discussion. Instead, focus on the positive aspects of the company. Just think back to what drew you in when you first joined and talk about those aspects. You can then move onto discrepancies you discovered. Flagging this indicates why you started considering other options. Hence your departure.  An example could be not being the cultural fit.

Tip 2: Be Clear

Don't give too many details. Think about what your answer will be before your exit interview. Even if it's just a brief coffee meeting before you leave, you want to have your ducks lined up in a row. Being articulate will show confidence in the choice that you have made. Give a few key reasons as to why you are leaving and focus on the professional aspects. Such as you enjoy the collaborative atmosphere and efficiency of your teammates. But you would like to work more on your leadership skills.

Tip 3: Be Honest, But Not Too Honest

Sharing too many details can be a dead giveaway as to why you are really leaving your position. If you are unsatisfactory with your role, you can express this in another way. Without stepping on the toes of others or degrading any co-workers, focus on the future. Talk about what you are excited to do — the opportunities. You can talk about needing more motivation or inspiration from a company. If it is not in their mission or vision to give back to the community, for instance, they can't hold a grudge against you.

Tip 4: Give Short Answers

Don't waffle and stick to a few sentences and then end on a high note so that the company remembers you fondly. You can focus on a key reason for each sentence and conclude with a positive spin. For example, you would like to continue to grow a certain skill set or have more challenges. Being succinct shows confidence that you have thought this through. That is a respectable and professional trait. Less is more. 

Better Reasons for Leaving

Reason 1: Promotion

Not everybody wants a promotion. Some people are complacent in their role and are perfectly content being where they are. Striving for promotion shows ambition. It shows that you are willing to take on more responsibility. Challenges are often involved. This reflects your stance as a person who is ready to problem solve.

Reason 2: Money

Getting more money also comes with more responsibilities. For this reason, you can spin your answer on its head. Talk about how you want to develop your skill sets at a company that values XYZ. It shows a strong desire to gain a better or more wholesome learning experience.

Reason 3: Dislikes

Your boss could be a major problem or you don't like your job description in general. In either case, you can talk about the work environment and how it is not the right fit for you. Use positive words, such as collaborative, inspirational, motivational. This will show that you have a future-forward vision that is positive. How do you put this into a sentence? E.g. "I want to pursue a role that will enable me to work in a more collaborative environment.

Reason 4: Passion

If everyone had a dream job, they would want to land it. Talk about your intrinsic values and goals. You may not be motivated by monetary values, but you can focus on making an impact. Or you can express your admiration to work with a company with transparency.

The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, so long as you use answers that reflect positively on you even as you are leaving, you are in the clear. Why? Because it means that you have quelled any questions that may pop up in the mind of the exit interviewer. You want the company to remember you in a positive light in case you ever return to the organisation. So save your rants and vents for friends and take the high road when you leave.

Are you still looking for a job? Discover 4 Tips to Look For and Find a Job in 2021.

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