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Interview Insights | Key Question: “Why are you leaving your current role?”

Interview Question: Why are you leaving your current role?

It’s easy to complicate your response to this question.

It puts you in an uncomfortable situation.

If you are voluntarily leaving then not only do you have to justify why you took the role in the first place but then why it’s no longer the best fit for you.

Otherwise, if you were let go, then it questions the true value of your contributions to that organization.

It’s tricky, so here’s one useful framework to help you get unstuck.

This is one framework that has helped my best clients answer this question so that they come across as the best candidates for the opportunities that they have secured.

  • First consider what you enjoy (ed) most about your current role (or last).
  • Then reflect on what you dislike (d) most about your current role (or last).
  • Connect the dots between these variables with what you envision being the reality of working within the current opportunity.
  • Identify the points you’ve enjoyed that are precisely what this new opportunity would empower you to do more of and say them.

The key insight is that you should quickly and directly say why you are leaving but then swiftly focus on why you are interested in joining the target organization. One way to do this is by saying that the new role would enable you to do more of what you enjoy.

For example:

When I first joined the organization, I led multi-million dollar capital intensive projects as a supplier that focused on renewable energy, specifically hydro-specific work. Yet, the demand for hydro-specific work dwindled due to fluctuations in the oil industry and as you know hydro initiatives are quite dependent on the volatile needs of our local oil industry. As a result, I’d like to now work for you because you are the owners of various hydro assets and I’d like to help you figure out how to more predictably figure out the flow of your work despite that volatility as well as how to ensure that existing assets are being optimized during these “downtimes.”

Are you struggling with the best response to this typical interview question? Leave a comment below and I’ll provide the guidance you need to get unstuck.


Melissa Llarena’s craft is coaching top executives on how to strategically dissect and deliver the perfect job interview. Get instant access to a 20-page interview preparation kit that will give you an edge. Join the thousands who’ve read her career insights in Forbes and The Huffington Post. Follow her at @CareerOutcomes.