301 — Why Now?
I ll be honest, this is a bit of a sandbaggy question. You are always entering the question at a disadvantage. Well you are interviewing aren’t you. “And now is as good a time as any” will not cut it. Seriously, don’t joke about it.
So the right way to think about it is that you have bookended a journey and are now ready to start another one. The bookend can be either
- I have finished the project I started and was a resounding success
- I have achieved all the goals that I set out to do when I started this job and I wanted the opportunity to level up
- If you got laid off, repeat after me — “it wasn’t a fit and I am now wiser in my job hunt because of that experience, also grateful for that experience”
If you have spent any time in a role and you are interviewing for that role, this should be straightforward. The recipes are pretty easy to go figure out. These 2 are generic -
- Working with a great team — Every company believes they have a great team. If they didn’t, then why would they ever try to hire you. Because after all, the assumption is that you are pretty great too.
- Making a difference — This is actual a bigger category with a couple of salient points rolled into it. You could be making a difference because 1/ the industry is amazing or more likely 2/ the problem you are solving would make a huge difference in peoples lives.
As you can tell, “huge”, “difference” and “people” are all highly subjective things.
Then you add one or more of these criteria to give it a personal touch -
- Higher impact — If its a smaller company, you make an impact by being part of something on the “ground floor”. You make organizational impacts etc etc.
- Professional growth — Its hard to say this without sounding a little selfish. But you basically want to demonstrate that you have acquired skills in prior jobs that you want to “level-up”. Its super generic but hey, it works. Also, only use this when you have something to level up to. When switching careers, do not ever use this.
- More responsibilities — Goes hand in hand with the point above but is, broadly speaking, a better worded point. Because you will strike the company as someone who likes responsibility and wants more of it. You basically cannot go wrong here.
Do not say this things -
- “Just wanted a change” — Makes you sound flaky. And being unreliable is a death knell for most applications
- “You sounded great” — At least pretend to do your research
- “Really need money” — Bills y’all
Of course, if you are graduating college, humor is encouraged — “The student loans won’t pay themselves off”