If you have a job when you go to a job interview, one of the questions that they are sure to ask you is why you want to leave it.
Like with all interview questions (e.g. from asking you about how you resolved a problem at work to asking you to describe yourself), there is a reason why they ask you this question. The secret to answering it well is to know what the purpose of the question is (what the interviewers are assessing you on).
Potential employers will ask you this question with the purpose of finding out how loyal you are. Employers don't just employ people because they have the best experience or skills, but also on what type of person they are. For all employers, loyalty and commitment to the company are particularly important personality traits to have in an employee.
So now that you know why they ask you this question, what do you say? How can explain why you want to leave your current job and still look like a loyal person?
To help you to know what to say, I have created the below exercise. Through first reading three good example answers for this question and then doing a quiz/test, you'll not only learn what type of things and reasons to give for wanting to leave your current job, but also how to make your answer sound professional (what phrases/vocabulary to use).
This version of the exercise is mainly focused on learning phrases and words to use in your own answer for this question. So it is ideal for people whose first language isn't English. If you are a native English speaker, I would recommend that you do a version of the exercise designed for English speakers instead.
In addition to this exercise, we have a lot of other free online exercises on CV/resume and job interview question vocabulary and techniques.
Exercise & Examples:
Read the following three answers by different candidates in interviews to the question, 'Why do you want to leave your current job?'.
From the context, try to guess what the meaning of the words/phrases in bold are. Then do the quiz at the end to check if you are right.
'First of all, I would like to say that I don't have any problems with my current employer. I have worked there for over 7 years and have enjoyed my time there. They have provided me with an opportunity to grow both professionally and personally. And from starting as an analyst, I am now a manager of my own team. I am very grateful for the confidence they have shown in me and also the experience that I have gained.
But during these 7 years, I know what I excel in and what I want to specialise in. And due to the nature and size of the company, my opportunities to pursue this area there are limited. So, in order to move my career to the next stage, I have to move on. It's a shame, because I have a very good working with my manager and my team. So, it's not a decision that I have taken lightly. But, I feel that the position that is available here will provide me with the opportunity to focus on an area in which I both excel and love.'
'To be honest, I wasn't job hunting. One of my ex-colleagues forwarded me the advert for the position. I am very happy in my current job. I have achieved all of my goals and I am now in a position where I make a difference for the company.
The only reason I would leave my current position is for something significantly better and having read the roles and responsibilities for the job, this position offers it. This role has more responsibility, plus working in a different environment provides a new challenge, which I am sure I can meet. In addition, it would be foolish to turn down the possibility of doing this role in a company with such a strong reputation as yours. I think this role provides an excellent opportunity for the progression of my career.'
'I've spent 4 happy years with my current employer, but due to the current financial crisis, they are currently downsizing their operations. As a result, it's made a lot of people redundant and although I have been informed that my job is safe, there's a lot of uncertainty. So, I feel now is the time to move on and look for a more secure position.'
See more exercises on CV/resume & job interview vocabulary
Learn how to answer other difficult job interview questions:
Now answer each of the below 15 questions with one of the phrases or words in bold from the above text. To check your answers, press the "Check answers" button at the bottom of the quiz.
The first question already has the right answer in it. Now, you just have to answer the rest.
Now that you understand the 'why do you want to leave your job' vocabulary, practise it by creating your own answer for this interview question.