Job seekers be prepared. You are going to have to explain why you left your last position. But, don’t worry. Even in the worse-case scenarios, you can ace this question and the interview.

Bad hires cost a company money, so employers always are on the lookout for red flags. Unfortunately, these include unemployment, employment gaps and job hopping. Although this seems unfair, as a quality candidate, your task is to eliminate a hiring manager’s fears. First explain why your job change is reasonable and then emphasize why you are a fantastic choice for this position.

Basic Advice

Be Sincere
Changes in employment can be messy and completed, so “telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth” is not the best policy. Nevertheless, you can’t lie. Keep your answer basic and straight-forward without adding any unnecessary details.

Keep It Short
Your answer to most interview questions should be between 20 to 60 seconds. This is no exception. Extended explanations of “what happened” will get you into trouble and bore your interviewer.

Stay Positive
You may be angry, defensive and discouraged about your current situation. Remove ALL those emotions from the interview. Instead, channel your energy into your excitement and enthusiasm for this new opportunity.

Practice Your Answer
Explaining why you left a job is very likely to be awkward. To avoid panicking or rambling, rehearse and re-rehearse a strong response. To successfully get past this question, you must be confident, well-spoken and to-the-point.

How to Handle Specific Situations

Since job changes come in different shapes and sizes, you “best” answer may vary depending on the circumstances. Here are three examples:

You Were Downsized, Laid Off, Seasonal or Relocated
“My company restructured, and my entire department was let go. Throughout the five years I worked there, I learned many new skills and was one of the top sales representatives. I believe my experience would transfer well to this position. My former manager would be happy to provide a reference.”

You Were Fired
“There was a considerable amount of turn-over in my department. My job description changed and no longer matched my strengths. This was unusual because in past positions I have been flexible and quick-to-learn. I have since enrolled in an online course to learn more about accounting. I am very excited about this job because I have considerable experience managing marketing campaigns.”

You Chose to Leave
“I worked with amazing people and learned many new skills during the three years I spent at my last employer. However, the company was small. I felt as though I had worked my way up and was ready for new challenges. I would love the opportunity to manage larger teams and to make a greater impact.”

Are you struggling to find a job? You don’t have to search alone. The employment advocates at a staffing agency can provide support and expert advice at no cost to you. United Talent serves the people of West Virginia and surrounding states. Give Us a Call today to learn more!