“Why are you looking for a job right now?” “Why are you leaving your company?” “Why are you in the job market?”
These questions are all in the same general category and they seem innocent enough, right? But be careful! The way you answer this question can reveal a lot to a hiring manager.
The Intent Behind “Why Are You Looking for a Job?”
Your interviewer is asking this because they want to see if you are disgruntled. Are you motivated by anger, misery, or boredom and looking for a way out of your current job? Are you desperate because you’ve been out of work for a long time? Or do you have a true interest and passion for this job?
If you are negative in your response, then will you bring that negativity about your employer to their company? If you’re currently employed, it is never a good idea to throw your current employer under the bus or talk poorly about your coworkers.
Even if you are miserable or in a toxic work environment, save that conversation for your family and friends.
Keep it Positive & Focus on Growth
Keep the glass half full and stay positive with your interviewer.
One angle is to talk about developing your professional growth. For example, maybe you were at your last company for awhile and you worked your way up as much as you could, and then there really wasn’t anywhere else for you to go.
This is really common and it’s completely okay to talk about that in the interview. But remember to wrap up your answer with something specific and focused on this company.
For example: “I’ve had a great run at my current company. I was able to gain progressively more experience. Over the years, I was promoted and now there’s really nowhere else for me to go. So I am looking at new opportunities where I can quickly apply my skills and start contributing. I’ve always had my eye on this company because of your outstanding reputation in the industry, exciting products, and innovative approach. This role looks really exciting and an opportunity for me to continue to grow.”
Another scenario is that perhaps your role changed as a result of a management or an organizational change, and you’re not enjoying your role as much as you once did.
In that case, simply say, “There was a management (or organizational) change. And as a result, my role was reconfigured. So I would like to continue to re-focus on what I enjoy and do best. That’s why I am interested in talking with you today.”
If You Were Laid Off
What if you were laid off? This could be due to COVID-19 or just budget cuts in general.
In that case, you can say, “Due to COVID,” or, “Due to organizational change or budget cuts, my position was eliminated (along with 50 others). And so that’s why I’m looking for a new opportunity.” If you were part of a larger layoff, always mention those numbers as context so it doesn’t seem like you were necessarily the only one. (That said, it is absolutely okay if you were the only one!)
The key in how to answer “Why are you looking for a new job right now?” is to keep your response short, sweet, and succinct, so that you can move on and talk about other things!