If you are working for a company while searching for an opportunity in another one, you may dread the question: “Why do you want to change jobs?”
But no matter how scary this question is for you, answering it with good reasons is not always easy. Be firm that you know why you want to move, and that it’s not just to get out of a bad work situation. When done right, you can use this question to share your overall career motivations, show your personality and explain your values.
Here are top tips from hiring managers and recruiters. What do they actually want to hear?
Why do they ask this question?
Every question the recruiter asks during the interview it is there to determine if you’re the right fit for the job position they are hiring. Also, it is to identify if the company is the right fit for you. They are looking for signs that you are going to get along with the coworkers, the company culture, and values.
In general, this question is asked because the hiring manager wants:
- To understand why you are leaving your current job
- To determine what you are looking for
- To find out if you are serious about the job search
The recruiter doesn’t want to hear that you were fired for some relevant reason or that you are leaving because you don’t get along with your coworkers.
The first step is to prepare yourself and reflect
Before reading some tips on how to answer the question “Why do you want to change jobs?”, it is essential that you reflect on what you want and what are your real motivations. Think about the following questions:
- What would be your dream job at the moment?
- What impact does this new company do that makes you be part of it?
- What is the job description offered for the new role that you can relate and wish to have in your work for the next years?
- When do you actually want to leave your current position?
After reflecting on this you are going to be more prepared to answer the question. The key is to connect your reasons with what the company requires or offers that you can relate to yourself.
Tips to answer the question
Now that you understand what you want better, it is time to frame it in a way that the recruiter is going to catch your real intentions.
When discussing “Why do you want to change jobs?”, the most important thing is to be optimistic about the role. Be careful about the reasons directly related to the previous company and how you communicate it. Frame your move as a path to advancing your career without bad-mouthing your current job.
Some not-so-interesting reasons to give in the interview:
- Don’t like the boss
- Don’t think the company was good enough for you
- Money, from a perspective, that it is the only thing that matters
Best Reasons for ““Why do you want to change to another company?”
- Desire to learn more
- The company’s growth possibilities are low and you want to grow
- The desire for a career change
- The desire for a leadership role
- Desire to relocate
- Desire to improve work/life balance
How to Answer “Why do you want to change jobs?”
So how do you answer this question? There are multiple ways, and they depend on your reason. Below, you can find the most common reasons and some possible answers.
#Ex 1: When you are looking for a new challenge, a new learning opportunity
If you feel that you have spent enough time in the previous company and it is time to jump into a new opportunity and face new challenges, talk about the time you spent in the previous company, everything you learned with them, and how your future learning plans match with the new company. For example, if you joined the previous company after your education, you may feel that now it’s time for a new challenge. You can explore this in your answer:
“I joined this company as a working student in 2014, I got the opportunity to join as a ___ (position). I have learned ________________ (mention what you learned). I’m now looking for a new opportunity because I believe it is time to take on a new challenge and join a company that ________ (describe here interesting facts about the new company and how it looks like a whole new challenge for you).”
#Ex 2: When you are leaving for a higher pay
Nothing is wrong with moving for the higher pay you believe you deserve. Most people change their companies for higher pay. But when applying for a new company, you should keep in mind that your answer should not show only focus on your financial desire to change jobs. If so, the potential new company can think that you are not moving for the right motivations and that you may be in the future the type of worker that is going to change fast to the next company that offers more money. You can quote this desire so that it could present as your reward and motivation for work, not as a primary goal.
For example, instead of saying, “I am leaving because the previous company didn’t pay enough money” you can say: “ I am looking forward to a new challenge. For me, taking challenges and getting awards motivates me to work every day. Financial support works as a reward for my hard work. So, I am looking for an opportunity providing this. In your organization, I can achieve my financial goal while working in my skilled field.”
#Ex 3: When you want flexibility in the job
Sometimes all you need is to have more flexibility at work. If this is the main reason for you it is essential that you show the recruiter that you are a very responsible person and that you need flexibility for the right reasons. Not because you are lazy in the mornings, for example, but because you feel more creative at another time of the day that is not 8am, or because it is fundamental to you to have a good work-life balance.
Here is essential that you as a candidate also pose questions. Flexibility is something that changes from company to company. If this is really important to you, focus on understanding “How is this company flexible? In which sense?”, “Can you work in different time zones any time of the year?”, and “What’s the level of flexibility?”.
#Ex 4: When you want a leadership role
It is possible that your current company has a very stabilized structure and you don’t see the possibility of growing much or becoming a leader as you wish. To explain this to the company it is fundamental to show why is so important to lead people.
Think… Why do you want to become a leader? What does becoming a leader mean to you? You can give an answer where you say something like:
“Although I loved my previous position, I want a place where I can contribute to the growth and development of others in my industry. I am looking for a new opportunity that makes sense for my growth and for my career planning. I’d like the opportunity to guide and develop procedures to help a company grow and I feel that the position available will afford me the opportunity to help others succeed.”
#Ex 5: When you wish to work remotely
Several surveys show the benefits of working remotely. If this is a dream for you and your current company doesn’t allow you to do it, it is totally understandable that you are looking for it somewhere else. There are many companies that have remote work at their core, and you will probably feel more attached to it. Here it is essential to talk about why you believe in remote work. Talk also about how you think that you could work better remote and tell more about previous remote experiences and etc.
However, it is important to not make this your only reason. You can mention why you want to work remotely, but also say that you only consider moving for a company that also fits your values, and where you can contribute to the culture and an interesting business problem in a meaningful way.
#Ex 6 When you don’t like the way your current company is dealing with remote work
Differently from the previous situation, in this one, you are already working remotely, but you don’t feel that the company is remote mature enough. You are not happy with the way the current company leads remote work among the coworkers and you admire from what you see the way the company you are applying to, does it.
Here it is essential not only to explain that this is the reason why you want to change jobs. As a candidate, make your questions about the remote work environment of the new possible company.
How do they work together at this new company? What is the company’s remote culture? What kind of documentation do they use?
#Ex 7 When you got fired
If you are applying for a new job because you were fired, be very well prepared to answer this question. It is fundamental to accept your mistakes instead of criticizing your previous employer or colleagues. It is very important to show a positive attitude and that you are learning from your mistakes.
Depending on the situation, you can say something like “I have done my best, but unfortunately my skills and knowledge were not a fit for this position. I grew a lot, but the work needed someone with different skills. Therefore, I am looking for a job that enables me to work at my best, and in favour of my strengths (list your strengths)”
#Ex 8: When you don’t match the current company’s work culture or values
A matching work culture is important for an employee to strive and be productive. You can talk about how the culture changed over the time you have been there, and how it may no longer be a match for your personality and values.
“I am someone who appreciates working in a well-organized manner that offers friendly work culture. I have heard so much about your organization and thus, wish to work around professionals who would value my skills and effort“
#Ex 9 When you need to move to another city
Sometimes your partner is moving to a new city and you are looking for a position at the new place. This is an external reason. You can directly explain what you have done before, what you are looking for and that you are moving to a new city. Due to unforeseen circumstances, you may have to go back to your hometown or away from your hometown.
“I have worked in this area for ____ (time). Now because of my family, I have got the opportunity to work with this from a different city. I see it as an amazing possibility for expanding my knowledge. I want to move to ____ (name of the city) since I need to be close to my family. That’s why, I am looking for a job opportunity in your company.”
If asked “Why do you want to change jobs?”, remember to show that you have read about the new company and how it can be a good fit for you. Keep it positive. Promote yourself and your accomplishments. At the time of the interview, every question, including reasons, is an excellent opportunity to highlight your strengths and skills.
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