What do you want to happen

Applicant question: why did you quit?

If you plan to quit your old job and switch to a new one, be prepared for the following question in advance: “Why did you quit your last job?” Admittedly, the question doesn't sound particularly insidious or tricky, but it is es: Regardless of whether you found your last job boring or your boss annoyed, whether you quit or were fired - you should definitely not say that like that.

In fact, the interviewer lures you into the past with this question: He is interested in your degree of frustration, whether you felt overworked or underpaid and whether you are now careless enough to take the opportunity to really let off steam. Resist the temptation ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Why are HR managers asking the question?

In short: to get to know you better. In the subtext, your frustration tolerance, motivation to change and, of course, possible areas of conflict also resonate.

Sometimes HR managers also ask indirectly, for example: “Why are you looking for a new job?” Or: “How long have you been looking for work?” Or: “What did you dislike about your previous job?” In all of these cases I would like to the personnel decision-maker clarify whether you are looking for a new job voluntarily or involuntarily and where potential problems lurk for the team with you. So the question is a wolf in sheep's clothing.

It is all the more important that you do not react in a panic to the question, but think about a good reason in advance - and remain honest and authentic in the process. Then you can move on to the next question all the faster.

Reasons for termination: Never answer bitterly!

There are many potential reasons for termination - but not all of them should be mentioned. Among the reasons that - at least in this way - should not be mentioned. Some of the bad reasons include:

  • The lousy boss
    It's often true - employees come for the job and leave for the boss. Nevertheless, you should never criticize your previous manager unfiltered. Blasphemy is consistently taboo. That makes you a victim (i.e. small) and something of the thrown dirt always sticks to the thrower.
  • Too much stress
    No matter how great the pressure and workload have been up to now, you will hardly be able to prove this with objectively measurable figures. This leaves a subjective impression on the outside - and makes you look less resilient and organized. More like a whiner. Not good.
  • Too much boredom
    The opposite of stress is just as unconvincing. Because something can always be done against the alleged boreout. The follow-up question would be immediately: Then why didn't you quit earlier? And you no longer look as committed and motivated as your application would have you believe.
  • Difficulty with the team
    That also happens of course: The colleagues just don't fit, play La Paloma on my nerves or even engage in bullying. This is a real reason for resignation, but this information does not give the impression of a confident high performer, but rather the image of a difficult personality who may not be able to join existing teams or who cannot cope with conflicts.
  • Too much criticism
    Anyone who is only criticized will at some point just push the rule. Criticism - whether justified or not - is not a clever reason for resignation. After all, the personnel decision-maker cannot judge whether there was something to it after all. Effect: You look like someone who can't stand criticism and doesn't learn from mistakes.

In general, you shouldn't pester the interviewer here and let yourself be pushed into the past - even if he (consciously) provokes you or puts you to the test. No matter what you say: the answer always has a catch and remains suboptimal.

The reason?

Quite simply: If your answer appears as if you are mainly concentrating on the negative aspects of a job, your future employer will automatically ask itself whether this will not happen again in the new job. And of course you want to inspire the interviewer about your advantages and not complain about all the frustrations and past anger.

Look ahead!

Instead, you should take up the question objectively and professionally - but only to direct your gaze straight ahead straight away, motto:

I had the feeling that in this position I was staying below my possibilities and couldn't find a new challenge to develop myself further.

So instead of saying that the working atmosphere was icy and the culture was modest, you'd better say:

After some restructuring and the realignment of our department, it became clear to me that I am not the best person there. And that always limits both sides - my employer and me.

Even if the restriction (“not the best cast”) appears negative at first glance - it is not: Rather, through so much honesty and self-reflection, you express true sovereignty - even forward-looking and in a positive sense.

So never be bitter with this applicant question, but rather be confident and future-oriented.

Name reasons for dismissal: The answers

The (unspoken) rule of thumb applies to every job interview: Never blaspheme, never say anything negative about previous employers. Instead of getting involved in human dissonances, concentrate purely on the objective reasons for changing jobs - the new, new challenge, the interesting perspectives, the chance to develop yourself further.

So here are a few more examples of possible answers ... examples mind you! Please do not memorize and recite it, but use it as a suggestion for your own answers when looking for a job.

You quit the job: good answers

  • “In my previous position, I increasingly had the feeling that I was staying below my possibilities. Even if the working atmosphere there appealed to me enormously, I feel that the perspective is reaching its limits there - especially in an international context. So it was time for a professional reorientation. "
  • “I really appreciate my current employer and am also grateful for the cooperation so far. Recently, however, it has been shown that my internal development opportunities are limited. That is regrettable, but I would now like to reorient myself professionally and use my knowledge and skills elsewhere ... "
  • "I am currently looking for a position with more responsibility and new tasks where I can better utilize my potential."
  • “I have already been able to gain some valuable experience with my previous employer and have been satisfied with the development so far. For some time now, however, the company has been unable to offer any career opportunities. That is why I would now like to join an ambitious and future-oriented company in order to develop myself further and to contribute the knowledge I have gained so far in the long term. "
  • “Teamwork and an open working atmosphere are important to me. Unfortunately, some restructuring in the past has resulted in major personnel changes. That wasn't always optimal. Your corporate culture fits better with my personal values ​​and goals. That convinced me to change jobs. "
  • “I followed my partner to this region. And now that my partner has taken on a new job, I am also looking for opportunities to develop myself further. "
  • “My current employer focuses primarily on XYZ. However, I would like to focus and specialize more on the ABC area. That's exactly what you offer. I am therefore convinced that I will fit in perfectly with your company and that I will be able to bring my skills to bear here perfectly. "
  • “To be honest, I didn't want to change my job. But then I heard about this job and it impressed me immediately. I believe that I can optimally use my skills and talents here. "

You have been terminated: good answers

  • "The company was restructured, unfortunately my position was also rationalized."
  • “Due to a far-reaching restructuring of the company, my branch was unfortunately also closed. However, due to family obligations, moving is currently out of the question for us. "
  • “My previous employer has hired a new manager who has realigned our previous team and, in some cases, supplemented it. This was certainly the right step for his strategy, but I don't think that it fits my skills optimally. "
  • “I had a brief crisis in the past in which I reoriented myself. This has meant that I also want to change my career and refocus. This process has now been completed and I think that this position suits me perfectly. "
  • “To be honest, I was only fired to avoid being banned from the employment agency. In fact, after many years of good cooperation, we parted ways by mutual agreement. Namely because ... (The above reasons for resignation could come here). "

In order to remain credible at the same time, you should support your arguments with examples:

  • What have you been able to achieve so far?
  • What stages of development did you go through?
  • And above all: Why does this - logically and consequently - have to lead to this point?

The more goal-oriented you appear here, the more convincing you are.

[Photo credit: baranq by Shutterstock.com]

Even more interview tips

➠ Interview: All the tips

Job interview process
➠ Interview preparation
➠ Application questions + answers
➠ Job interview clothes
➠ Introducing yourself
➠ self-presentation
➠ End the interview

Interview types
➠ Second interview
➠ Assessment Center
➠ Stress interview
➠ Job interview English
➠ Video interview
➠ Telephone interview

Typical questions
➠ These 100 questions can come
➠ 25 trick questions + answers
➠ Stress issues
➠ What are your weaknesses?
➠ What are your strengths?
➠ Why should we hire you?
➠ What was your last salary?
➠ Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
➠ Why did you quit?
➠ Inadmissible questions
➠ Inquiries to HR managers

Tips & Tricks
➠ Practice interview
➠ Interview mistakes
➠ White lies in the job interview
➠ body language tips
➠ Overcome nervousness
➠ Where to put your hands?

➠ Confirm the interview
➠ Postpone the interview
➠ Cancel the interview
➠ Cancel the interview
➠ Follow up after the conversation