When you are interviewing for a new job you’ll always be asked different kinds of questions depending on the industry. However, there are some typical questions that hiring managers like to ask which give them some insights into the kind of employee/person you are. Two of these typical interview questions are: why did you leave your last job and why do you want to work here. If you’re an interviewer these are pretty standard questions and depending on the answer can give you some great insights into the prospective candidate. Below we break down each of these questions and provide examples of what are good answers and what is perhaps not a good answer.
Why did you leave your previous job?
Sometimes when this question is asked you might feel the sweat break out under your arms, or your shirt collar start to tighten around your neck. Especially if you didn’t “leave” on your terms. But, as always a question like this is easiest to answer if you broke up with them. If you don’t know what your response should be, have a look at some of the suggestions below and tailor your answer so it best fits your situation.
- I was starting to get bored with the work I was doing. As I like to stand by the quality of my work, I didn’t want my unhappiness to impact my performance
- I realised that there wasn’t any room to grow there. In order to keep advancing in my career I needed to move on
- I’m ready for my next big challenge in my career and ready to take the next step. I felt I couldn’t job hunt and give my full attention to my previous role at the same time
- After working in job role for several years, I want my career to go in another direction and my previous employer didn’t have any opportunities that could accommodate this change
- My family and I are relocating to a new area and I left my previous job in preparation for the move
- I wasn’t planning on changing jobs, but I saw this opportunity and it was too well suited to my skills/the direction I want to take my career to pass up
- They shut the place down and let everyone go
Definitely don’t do this
Whatever you do, if you’re asked this question, don’t give a negative answer. At some point or another, everyone has had a bad experience with an incompetent manager or an unsavoury company, but you definitely shouldn’t give that as the reason why you left. Make sure you don’t bad-mouth your previous boss or your previous company – your interviewer might start wondering if you’ll be bad-mouthing their company next. Plus, your previous employer might have a relationship with your prospective employer that you are unaware of. Always do your best to be positive.
Why do you want to work here?
A seemingly innocuous question that will at times catch people off-guard. The interview will be going well and then BAM! out of nowhere this renegade question appears – why do you want to work here? On the surface it seems so simple. But of all the answers that could pop into your head the obvious one being: I need a job and you have an opening, is not the one you should go with. While it may be 100% true, it won’t win you any points with the hiring manager. Instead you’ll need to dig a little deeper, with some introspection and general research to answer this question properly.
What you’ll need to answer
- Learn about your personal career goals and how this position fits into your path
- Help yourself and apply for a job that you are sincerely interested in, this means you will be motivated to perform if you are hired
- Research: find out everything you can about the company, their industry and the position. If you take the time and do your due diligence, it will go along way with the recruiter
- Based on the research I’ve done, this company is an industry leader. Visiting your website gave me some great information about what you have planned and what you have achieved. This is the kind of company I’ve been looking for, one where I can put my experience and skills to good use to make things happen.
- This company is internationally known for its quality/products/innovation – especially your (specific successful campaign), and my experience in online marketing has me very excited about the opportunity, and to be a part of such a successful organisation
What you should avoid
When answering this question it’s important that you display at least some of the characteristics an employer might be looking for; show them you’re interested in the company and engaged with your career. You won’t be able to do that by giving a generic answer, i.e. talking about the company in a way that what you say could be applicable to any company. Another bad idea is to answer the question and make it all about what you can get from the company: this is a great opportunity for me, it’ll be a real chance for me to grow.
Technically there are no right or wrong answers to these questions, it’s just one type of answer will reflect poorly on you and the other won’t. Whichever way you decide to answer these kinds of questions, your answer should reflect that you have thought about what you want, and you know something about the company. If you demonstrate that you are the right candidate for the role and that this is the company that you want to work for, your chances of landing the role will increase significantly. If you’re looking for your next opportunity, do yourself a favour and see what vacancies have been posted on Everjobs.