Changing jobs per se is not a bad thing. It might be a necessary move for others to improve their current situation.
Employment trends show that people change jobs more often than many would think. According to a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report, Americans switch jobs every 4.2 years. This pattern is most prominent among 35-year-olds and younger.
When you apply for a new job, interviewers often ask why you resigned and transferred.
Although there is no right or wrong answer, there are better ways to relay this information. So be sure to narrate your experience in a way that will put you in the best possible light.
Why do interviewers ask about your reason for job change?
There are many reasons interviewers ask why you changed jobs. But, mostly, they are trying to look into your career history.
Interviewers would want to ensure that you had good relationships with previous employers and workmates. If not, it could mean that you are a problematic worker.
Also, interviewers are assessing your intentions for transferring. If you moved for better job opportunities and other positive reasons, they would be more comfortable accepting your application.
As 73% of hiring managers employ behavioral interviews, an interview structure that predicts future behavior based on past actions, applicants should be careful in explaining the events of their transfer.
How to come up with the best answer for job change in interview
The “best” answer depends on your situation. The tips listed below do not guarantee you will land every application, but they will help trigger a positive response from interviewers.
Here are our top recommendations on how you should communicate your reasons for a job change at a previous company:
1. Review and understand the job description for the new job
Before making it into the interview room, do a little research about the job you are applying for. Statistics reveal that around 47% fail their interview because they lack enough knowledge about the job description.
For interviewers, not knowing the basics of the job signifies a lack of preparedness and incompetence. Having mastery over the job description is one good way to prepare for a new job. It can also signify your seriousness about the ongoing job change.
This kind of response will give interviewers an idea of your job expectations. If the said expectations match what they are offering, you will gain more chances of getting the job.
2. Identify your strengths
Prioritize highlighting your best assets when explaining why you transferred from a previous job. Convince the interviewer that you can be a valuable addition to the company.
Not every job has a perfect ending. However, you can still make the interview work for you by highlighting your best features.
Discuss your accomplishments and awards. You can also bring up how you managed after the transfer. Although you failed in some aspects, the more important matter is how you rose to the occasion. It shows your resiliency and eagerness to start all over again.
3. Research about the company
Similar to knowing the job description, it is critical to be familiar with your future employer.
When a hiring manager asks why you are transferring to the company you are currently applying to, they would want to know why you are choosing them.
Companies have different work cultures and management systems. So when you choose to apply to one, hiring managers may expect that you already see yourself fitting into the company.
You do not have to know everything about a company. Try to gather enough information to strike a meaningful conversation.
4. Be optimistic
Although you keep seeing signs that you did not get the job after an interview, do not lose hope!
According to a recent poll, 36% of professionals believe that employers look for applicants with a positive attitude during an interview. You do not have to be excessively bubbly, but some sunny disposition would help.
When it comes to changing jobs, an optimistic perspective gives hiring managers the impression applicants are excited to take the job.
Hiring managers are experts at perceiving human emotions. Besides speech patterns, they also observe applicants’ body language. So, do not forget to prepare yourself mentally if you have an upcoming interview.
5. Be honest about your current job
Honesty is still the best policy, even during interviews. Being honest adds credibility, believability, and trustworthiness to your answers.
When you are changing jobs, you have to be transparent with the reasons for your transfer and the events that happened. Doing so informs your potential employers about your tendencies. Additionally, it also keeps their expectations realistic.
Employers do not look for perfect employees; after all, no one is. When you are the best candidate in their job search, they may be willing to overlook your past issues and find arrangements that work best for everyone.
6. Be straightforward
Before answering any questions, identify what the hiring manager is asking for. Then, after analyzing the question, answer it in the most comprehensive way you can.
Remove the frills. Stop the chase. Prolonging your answer, especially when you are no longer making any sense, will not save your interview. Be brief if you must, but try not to be too abrupt.
Do not try to confuse your interviewer either. If you think that something in the past could raise a red flag, address it. Own up to your mistakes and share what you have been doing to improve.
7. Consider different perspectives
When asked why you changed jobs, try to look at the question from multiple perspectives. It would help deepen your understanding of the situation.
For applicants, it is ideal to look into the interview through the lens of employers. Try imagining that if you render a specific type of performance in an interview, will you be willing to hire yourself? Be honest with your answer.
Answering problem-solving interview questions is an effective way to expand your view on interviews. The queries will train you to be more critical with every detail.
8. Show your ability to adapt
You cannot erase what happened in the past, but you can strive to be better in the present. Show your interviewer your willingness and ability to adapt to a new work environment.
Saying that you are ready for bigger challenges will not convince many hiring managers. Instead, prove your intentions through actions.
You do not have to be grand. Simple gestures such as knowing what to bring during an interview will create a lot of differences.
Ideal ways to answer why you are changing jobs
No matter how negative the situation is with your previous job, do not take it as an opportunity to attack others. Interviewers are not interested in that.
Instead, interviewers would like to hear how your experience changed you for the better. After all, hiring managers keep looking for applicants that can be valuable assets to their company.
When you don’t like the previous company
Refrain from spreading gossip about your previous job. Although you dislike the people and its work culture, remain professional throughout the interview process.
Restraint is a strong indicator of maturity and professionalism. If you need to bring up something negative, try to be neutral while relaying the information.
Instead of opinions, state facts. Back your claims with statistics and reports whenever possible.
When you don’t like your previous job
Always start on the right foot. State the things you enjoyed with your previous job and how it made you a better professional.
If you must criticize your past position, do it constructively. Be grateful for the positive experiences that you have had. You could also say that you had other plans and that your past job could no longer fulfill them. Provide context so that the interviewer may understand you better.
When you are looking for a higher pay
In 2021, low pay was a leading reason workers left their jobs. According to a Pew Research Center study, 63% of Americans who quit their jobs think their pay is insufficient.
If you are one of them, try not to be bitter during the interview. State that you had a low-paying job without hints of sarcasm.
After this, explain why you deserve higher pay. Inform the interviewer how good of a worker you are and that you will not put the employer’s money to waste.
When you’re looking for more opportunities to grow
Besides better work conditions and pay, workers want more chances for career development. Climbing up the corporate ladder encourages people to work harder.
If this is your reason for changing jobs, explain to the interviewer your needs. If you think that the company can provide them to you, summarize how it can come into play.
Hiring managers also appreciate ambitious applicants. You could get brownie points if you explain why having more growth opportunities matters to you.
When you’re looking for a better work-life balance
Work-life balance is an abstract concept that changes meaning for every person every day. It is an outcome of being in a healthy work environment where workers can keep doing their jobs without the imminent fear of burnout.
When you want to change your job for a better work-life balance, make a realistic explanation of how your new job can satisfy the said need. In this case, applicants often say they find compatibility with the company’s work culture.
Unlock your career goals
For many, changing jobs is an essential part of career development. If you use the above mentioned tips effectively, it will not take long until you notice signs that an interview went well.
Respond calmly the next time you get asked why you changed companies. Collect your thoughts and be intentional with your points.
If you are a fresh graduate, do not fret. Follow reliable tips on how to nail a job interview.
Lastly, continue to practice. Every interview is a brand new chance to showcase your communication skills. You will eventually land your dream job.