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How to Explain a Reason for Job Change in Interviews

Cover image for How to Explain a Reason for Job Change in Interviews

Whatever your reason for job change, it’s never easy. It’s challenging to make career changes, facing the uncertainty of whether you made the right decision. There are many reasons to quit a job. Sometimes, it’s a professional move for your career as there isn’t scope for progression in your current company. Other times, it could be because of toxic workplace culture or a difficult manager or colleague.

During an interview, hiring managers often ask, “why are you looking to leave your current position?” No matter the circumstances, it’s essential to have a positive response that makes sense to the interviewer.

This article looks at the primary reasons for job change and provides examples of ideal responses to the question, “why do you want to leave your current job? So you can nail interviews like a boss and get your dream job in Web3 or your chosen industry.


What are the Main Reasons for Job Change?

Gone are the days when people spent forty years in a miserable work situation. Whilst there are dozens of excuses to quit a job, we’ll focus on the ones we hear the most from people contacting CB Recruitment looking for a career change.

#1 Employees Want a More Flexible Working Life

In 2020, the pandemic signified a shift in peoples working lives. Employees discovered working remotely with flexible hours improved their work/life balance. They no longer faced a commute to the office and subsequently had more time for hobbies and with loved ones at home.

Removed from the politics of the workplace, employees gained more autonomy for their time and work results. Some organisations insist on employees returning to the office. If that’s the case, many employees seek alternative employment, offering flexibility in their careers.

Another problematic issue for remote workers is a manager that micromanages, constantly checking employees are working and not watching Netflix all day. Even remote workers can suffer from burnout if a manager calls them too often or wants unnecessary online meetings.

Example of what to say during an interview: –

I have really enjoyed working remotely for twelve months. I found I was more productive and motivated and could structure my time more effectively.

After my employer said the staff had to return to the office full-time, I realised that spending three hours a day travelling is not a productive use of company time. I am self-motivated and committed to the vision of your company. I believe I could make a significant contribution working from my home office, helping the company to grow.

#2 Not Feeling Valued or Appreciated at Work

79% of employees feel unappreciated. It’s not enough to pay employees a good salary without showing some appreciation for their contribution. It’s easy to forget an employee who turns up daily and does a good job, but positive feedback from management can make a significant difference in employee engagement and retention.

Managers can help increase employee motivation by highlighting their efforts and occasionally giving them a quick “pat on the back“. Alternatively, management can hold weekly or monthly one-to-one appraisal meetings. A regular get-together keeps the employee on track and helps them feel appreciated.

Another bonus of a regular meeting is the early detection of issues. For example, an employee may be experiencing personal problems, bullying at work or other issues.

Example of what to say during an interview: –

I know we all have to make a living and need an income, but I also enjoy the reward of recognition for a job well done. I work best with leadership that endorses positive reinforcement, and I understand that your company is good at showing appreciation to employees. Your reviews were terrific and excited me to start working here.

#3 Employees Want to Earn More

As living costs increase, most employees want to earn a little extra without taking a second job. Ask for a pay rise if you think your salary doesn’t reflect the value you bring to the company.

Lifestyle changes may have increased your living expenses, such as a baby arriving in the family or other financial commitments. Wanting to earn a higher salary is one of the top excuses for quitting a job.

If an employer refuses to raise your salary, try negotiating benefits such as extra holiday, every Friday half day or more time working remotely.

Example of what to say during an interview: –

Refrain from saying you want more money. Instead, focus on the value you can bring to an organisation.

I am ready to take on new challenges and motivated to create exceptional value to achieve my financial goals. I enjoy working with a team, aligning with the company’s values and objectives, and I feel motivated when my work actively contributes to its growth.

#4 Insufficient Resources & Opportunities for Employees

Employees are happier and more engaged with a project when they can use their skills and abilities. It helps to build confidence, and they derive a sense of accomplishment. People get pleasure from overcoming challenges that lead to self-improvement. It gives them a sense of achievement and connection to a purpose.

Employees who feel their job growth is stagnant will find an excuse to quit. They should be encouraged to accept new challenges that take them out of their comfort zone. If an organisation lacks resources and opportunities for professional development, it can expect motivation and morale to fall, leading to lower retention rates.

Example of what to say during an interview: –

When discussing your previous company, focus on the positives and express regret that the opportunities or resources weren’t available to progress your career.

I thrive on new challenges and learning new things, and am excited to take on more responsibility. My personality suits working with a team on a project that helps develop leadership skills. Your company has a positive culture of encouraging others to do their best work, and I believe I would be a good fit for your organisation.

#5 Lack of Job Satisfaction

Spending 35-40 hours weekly doing a job you hate is no fun. You may be bored with the routine and lack of challenges. Every organisation has mundane jobs, and someone has to do them. However, once an employee achieves unconscious competence doing the job, it’s time to help them transition to something new that offers more scope for critical thinking, problem-solving and career development.

Bored employees do not do their best work and will find a reason for job change to another company.

Example of what to say during an interview: –

I thrive on challenges and love problem-solving, and enjoy working with a team on a project where I can develop my skills and get out of my comfort zone. Ongoing training and learning new things excites me as I am ambitious and believe I can contribute a lot to your company.

#6 Poor Leadership in the Workplace

A top-down positive approach to leadership encourages its managers to become leaders. Poor leadership is one of the top reasons for job change. Good leadership aligns with a healthy workplace culture that promotes and supports employee development.

Clear and benevolent leadership reduces employee uncertainty. According to a research report, only 48% of employs view their company’s leadership as high quality. Coupled with a clear mission statement and company values, employees feel more connected to an organisation’s vision, roadmap and targets.

Why does a sense of connection matter? Above all, the worst thing for a company is a bunch of disconnected employees that do not care about customer service, product development, company policies or growth.

Example of what to say during an interview: –

It’s important to me that I feel connected to a company’s values and mission statement. Nothing is better than the buzz of engaging with a team and project, working together towards the company goal.

I learned from my research that this company has excellent leadership and encourages employees to stretch to become leaders, which excited me. I am ambitious and would love to develop my leadership skills.

#7 Employees Relocate

As living costs rise, more people consider leaving the big cities for more rural or suburban living. There can be multiple reasons for an employee to relocate, such as family problems, illness, starting a family, moving abroad etc.

If the employee is a valued member of the organisation, there could be an opportunity for remote working. However, whatever the reason for job change, it can sometimes be a smokescreen for the genuine reason to quit a job.

It’s advisable to be transparent with your employer about the reason for job change because they may be able to offer you something better.

For example, Julie worked in telesales but wanted to become a sales representative. Her employer hired sales representatives on commission only, but as Julie had a large mortgage, she needed the security of a regular salary.

Julie handed in her resignation letter explaining her reasons for leaving. During the leaving interview, the company told her how much they valued her as an employee. Subsequently, the company offered Julie a sales representative position with a basic salary to cover her bills. In addition, they would provide a monthly bonus and commission on sales. Julie was delighted and retracted her resignation, happy to stay with the company and do what she loved.

Example of what to say during an interview: –

Tell the truth, and be open about why you relocated.

My wife is expecting our first baby in seven months. We want to be closer to our families, so we have support after the baby is born. I was very happy with my former employer, but unfortunately, there are no positions in this location and remote working isn’t available.

#8 Personal Reasons

Occasionally, life presents us with challenges that are tricky to overcome. Some organisations are fantastic at helping employees navigate personal problems, others not so great.

For example, you may have a sick child or parent that needs round-the-clock care. Working from home may not be an option, but it’s always worth discussing with your employer.

If you are relocating for personal reasons, be transparent with your employer. If you are a valuable member of the team, they may provide solutions as a way to retain your services.

Many times, we change jobs due to family and personal reasons. In such situations, if appropriate, you can tell the employer the exact reason for changing your career.

Example of what to say during an interview: –

Never try to cloak personal reasons for leaving an employer. If you had to leave a company because you were ill, be honest whilst showing the hiring manager that your illness will not interfere with your job performance.

Unfortunately, my mother became very ill, and I had to take care of her. As she lives 200 miles from my home, I could not stay with my previous company as sadly they couldn’t offer remote working whilst I sorted out the situation.

I have permanently moved to this area. We have a full-time carer for my mum and I am eager to return to work and connect with a purpose again. I think I would be an excellent fit for your company because (and tell the interviewer why).

#9 A Toxic Work Environment

There is nothing worse than hating your job. Working in a toxic environment impacts your mental health. High levels of stress can lead to sickness and even injury, and employees working in a toxic environment get swept up in disputes, office politics and personal dramas. It’s exhausting and can lead to burnout if not addressed.

Moreover, a company with a toxic culture almost always has low engagement and retention rates. Nobody should have to work in intolerable conditions in the workplace. It’s one of the most often-heard excuses to quit a job that we hear.

Most employees start looking for new jobs if the company fails to improve workplace culture. Organisations generally take mental health at work more seriously, and there are many companies with a healthy workplace culture where it is a pleasure to work.

Example of what to say during an interview: –

If you’re attending an interview with a competitor, the hiring manager may know the problems with your previous organisation. However, try not to bad mouth the company. It’s possible to reframe your answer, so the hiring manager understands your point.

Thank you for the question. I enjoy engaging with a cohesive team of people working towards the same goal. I thrive on a positive and appreciative workplace culture that is leadership led from the top down.

My experience taught me that job performance is higher when people have autonomy, feel safe, and a company promptly addresses potential workplace issues.

Your company has an excellent reputation for relaxed, drama-free work culture, and you have high employee retention rates, which attracted me to apply for the job.

#10 You’re Fired

Sometimes things don’t work out as planned with a job, but it’s tricky to explain a good enough reason for a company firing an employee. As long as you didn’t commit something unethical, immoral or illegal, the best thing to do is to come clean with a hiring manager. However, you can positively frame the situation.

Example of what to say during an interview: –

Never talk negatively about a previous employer, no matter how awful the company or leadership is. It is better to keep your reason for job change targeted on the positives and the lessons you learned from your experience.

Unfortunately, I realised I didn’t have the right skills for my last position, and I fully appreciate that my employer needed someone with more expertise. I have learned from the situation. I’m looking for a career that better matches my skills, and I am also taking a training course to upgrade my skills.

Conclusion: How to Explain a Reason for Job Change in Interviews

There’s always a good reason for job change and hiring managers are curious about why you left your previous job or want to leave your current employer. They see a klot of candidates, so measure your answers for whether you are a good fit for the company. They want to hire responsible, motivated individuals who aren’t job hopping continually for the sake of it.

Most candidates have genuine reasons for leaving a job but forget to reframe their answers to challenging questions. Remember, it is never acceptable to bad-mouth a previous employer or criticise a manager or team member.

Likewise, refrain from saying you hate your job because it’s boring or you have to work unpaid overtime. Don’t discuss office politics or disclose anything negative about the company, poor working conditions or culture.

The best way to explain a reason for job change is to focus on the move as a progression, career development, or seeking new challenges. If you have personal reasons, always frame the reason for leaving in a way that shows you have resolved the issue or managed it so that it won’t interfere with your job performance.

One of the most notable traits of an excellent candidate is a positive attitude. Be someone that shows passion and enthusiasm, and a keenness to learn. For jobs in Web3, every position advertised attracts hundreds of applicants. Hiring managers seek skilled individuals that stand out among the crowd.

If you attend a group interview, maintain a great attitude and show the ability to work in a team. Even if questioned in an open group environment, keep your cool, be transparent and answer positively.

If you’re looking for a new job, contact the CB Recruitment team for a chat about how we can help you transition to a new career.

About Author

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Jan Barley

Jan is a SEO copywriter, brand advisor, content strategist & case study specialist writing for crypto, recruitment, and SaaS companies. Jan lives in the Cotswold's UK with two rescue dogs. Since 2020, Jan has written hundreds of SEO articles for various crypto companies including CB Recruitment & Coin Bureau.

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