Interview challenge: why did you leave your last job?

August 8, 2011 – This is a question you’ll hear not only at job interviews, but also from friends, neighbors and colleagues.

Even if you were laid off due to downsizing and didn’t leave on your own accord, it’s important that you be prepared to handle this question with ease – regardless of who asks it.

Take the time to jot down a few possible answers, narrow it down to your best one, and practice saying it out loud. It should flow smoothly and naturally, and not sound rehearsed.

When drafting your possible answers, consider the following:

Be concise
Typically the more you try to explain, the more difficult your explanation will sound.

Be positive
Negative statements about your former organization and/or manager never come across well and will only hurt you.

Be honest
And if you can’t be honest for some reason, be vague.

As a backup plan, saying something along the lines of “I am interested in a job with more responsibility, and I am ready for a new challenge” usually is a statement most hiring managers can relate to.

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