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How to Answer “Why Are You Looking for A New Job”

How to Answer “Why Are You Looking for A New Job”

When you’re interviewed for a job, the interviewer is likely to ask why you’re looking for a career change. This may seem like a straightforward question. However, it can be a tricky one to answer, especially if your circumstances are not rosy. Regardless of your reason, it is essential to frame your answer in a way that reflects positively on you.

Failing to provide a good response may create a wrong impression that you are unprofessional or uncommitted, which can hurt your chances of landing your dream job. However, crafting a convincing answer is easier said than done for some job seekers. If you’re one of them, keep reading as we will discuss some tips to help you answer, “Why are you looking for a new job?” like a pro.

Why do employers ask the question?

Before addressing the question, it’s important to understand why the employer is asking you this question in the first place. This will allow you to tailor your response to their needs and expectations. When an employer asks why you are looking for a new job, they’re trying to assess whether you are a good fit for the position and whether you are motivated enough to work for the company in the long term. They would pay close attention to any red flags that may come up during the interview, such as poor work ethic, lack of commitment, or dissatisfaction with your previous job.

Your response will give the interviewers a better understanding of how you will fit in the organization and help them decide whether they should hire you or not. In some cases, the interviewer may phrase the question slightly differently. However, the underlying message remains the same. Here are alternative questions employers may ask.

  • What prompted you to apply to this position?
  • Why are you looking to change your job?
  • Why did you leave your previous job?
  • Why are you interested in working for this company?
  • What made you quit your last job?

Tips for answering “Why are you looking for a new job?”

To nail your response, it’s essential to think carefully about the reason for your decision before you present it to the interviewer. This can help you come up with a suitable response that puts you in the best light possible.  Below are some general tips to keep in mind.

1) Provide an honest answer

When asked why you’re looking for a new job, it is in your best interest to be truthful and honest about your reason for seeking a change. Doing so helps build trust with the interviewer and demonstrates your integrity as a potential employee. However, this does not mean you should give a complete account of the circumstances behind your previous termination or job dissatisfaction. Simply state the facts while providing enough information to support your response. Avoid unnecessary details that could make you appear negative or unreliable.

2) Be concise with your explanation

In general, it’s best to keep your response short and sweet while still conveying your message clearly and effectively. Trying to cover too much ground in a single answer will only confuse the interviewer and may cause them to lose interest. So, make sure to focus on relevant points and the main reasons why you’re looking for a change. Then, follow up with a brief explanation of why the role appeals to you. As a general rule, one to two minutes should be more than enough to summarize the main points of your argument. You may expand upon those points if asked to elaborate further.

3) Keep things positive

Despite the reasons you’re leaving your current job, it’s imperative to maintain a positive and upbeat attitude throughout the interview process. Even if you’ve had issues with your old company, you should still put a positive spin on your response. Focus on the positive aspects of your past work and the lessons you’ve learned rather than the shortcomings and frustrations you may have experienced along the way. This will ensure you won’t come off as bitter or resentful during your conversation, giving the interviewer the impression that you’re ready to move into the future with an open mind and a positive attitude.

4) Focus on the new opportunity

When you explain why you’re searching for a new position, try to focus the discussion on what this next opportunity can offer you rather than what was wrong with your previous job. After all, most interviewers will be more interested in what you can bring to the table than your past issues. Put more emphasis on the unique skills and experience that make you an ideal candidate and convey a sense of excitement about your potential to grow within the company. It’s also a good idea to talk about how the new position will allow you to achieve your career goals and expand your professional network in the process. This can make it easier for the interviewer to see you in a new light and help you gain a competitive edge over the other candidates.

Things You Should Avoid in Your Response

The interview question “Why are you looking for a new job?” could throw you off if you’re not cautious. Knowing what you should avoid will go a long way toward ensuring that you give the best answer to the question without causing more harm than good. Let’s take a look at some of them.

1) Badmouthing the previous employer

It is okay to admit that there were aspects of your past job that were not to your liking. However, badmouthing previous employers, managers, or co-workers during the interview is a big no-no. This could potentially lead to questions about your overall character and integrity. Even if you have a good reason to be unhappy with your previous workplace, you should strive to present the facts in the most positive light possible. When you discuss issues with your past employer, do so in a professional manner without speaking negatively about them or any individual associated with the company.

2) Lying about your reason for seeking a new position

If your reason for wanting to leave your previous or current job does not sound positive, it can be tempting to lie in the interview to avoid a negative impression from the interviewer. But this will only come back to haunt you in the end and tarnish your reputation when the truth inevitably comes out. Interviewers are trained to uncover lies and deception. So be careful not to misrepresent your situation in an attempt to convince the employer that you are an excellent candidate for the job. The best approach to answering “Why you’re looking for a new job?” is, to be honest, but tactful at the same time.

3) Providing vague answers

When the interviewer asks, “Why you’re looking for a new job?”, you must provide concrete reasons for seeking a new position. Avoid giving vague responses, like “I just need a change” or “I’m looking for more challenging work”. Such responses don’t paint a clear picture of why you’ve decided to leave your previous or current job. This could make the interviewer wonder if there’s something you’re trying to hide. A good response should be brief yet descriptive enough to give the interviewer an idea about why you want to change jobs.

4) Focusing too much on salary

A higher salary is one of the most common reasons workers change jobs. While this is not wrong, your salary requirement is generally not an appropriate topic to discuss during an interview. Demanding a higher salary too early in the conversation can make it seem like you are more interested in the pay than what the job has to offer. Needless to say, this would be a red flag to the interviewer and may hurt your chances of landing your dream job. So, make sure to focus on conveying your interest and enthusiasm for the kind of work the company is recruiting for and the opportunities the position presents for you to grow as a professional. If you need to negotiate a higher pay, it is best to way until after you secured an offer.

Why Are You Looking for A New Job Best Answers

Every job seeker has different reasons for exploring new opportunities. While these reasons may vary greatly from person to person, there are some common scenarios that people tend to experience during their careers that are likely to lead them to search for a new opportunity. The list below provides some of the most common reasons why people look for a change and examples of the best answers for each scenario.

1) Better compensation

A good way to communicate this is by emphasizing your value to the company and how your expertise will help the organization succeed. Avoid specifying salary figures or ranges at this stage. The only exception is if the interviewer specifically asked for your desired salary amount.

Answer Example: I want to work for a company that genuinely values the expertise and experience of its employees over the long term, pays them competitively, and provides benefits in line with that value. Your company’s reputation in the marketplace, as well as the value you place on your employees and their professional development, make me really excited about the prospect of working for XYZ Company. I believe that my strengths in project management and data analysis would be a great asset to the business and position me to make a real impact as a member of your team.”

2) Opportunities for career growth

The best way to use this as an answer is by expressing your interest in continuing your career growth within the field and expanding your professional skill set in the process. Describe the goals you have for yourself and explain how they align with the opportunities offered by the job. Additionally, make sure to discuss how you would make the most of the position and the skills you already have in order to set yourself up for a successful transition into the new role.

Answer Example: “I’ve worked in the retail industry for the last 15 years. While I’ve enjoyed the experience and the people I’ve worked alongside, I feel that it’s time for me to explore new opportunities and take the next steps in my career. Currently, I am looking for a role in a related field where I can utilize my experience in a management capacity and apply my skills to a broader range. I see your company as a perfect match for my skills, experience, and career goals, and I believe that I could make an impact on your team in this role.”

3) Toxic culture or negative work environment

Even if you’re quitting a toxic culture or negative environment, it’s still best to focus on how you can benefit future companies rather than criticize the one you just left. Try to use this opportunity to mention how you plan to take the positive parts of your previous role and apply them to the new opportunity. This demonstrates your maturity and professionalism, which is much more attractive to potential employers than complaints about your old company.

Answer Example: “I am seeking to join an organization with a culture and environment that aligns with my values and interests. Reading about your company, I can see that it offers an environment that is both professional and friendly, which I feel would be a good fit for my personality. In addition, I’ve gained a lot of experience in a similar field and am confident that I could leverage this experience to make an impact on the work that you do at your organization.”

4) Industry or Career change

If you’ve decided it’s time to switch industries or careers, you’ll need to clearly explain why you’re making the move and how the new path fits into your long-term plans. When explaining why you are changing career paths, emphasize how your past experience and skill set have prepared you for the new position and how your future goals match those of the prospective employer. Explain that you are open to new experiences while remaining committed to your long-term career objectives.

Answer Example: “After five years of working in sales, I’ve decided that I want to pursue a career that is more aligned with my interest in business development. My sales experience has taught me valuable skills that will be useful as I transition into my new role, including the ability to build rapport with clients and close deals in a competitive environment. I am open to taking on new challenges and gaining new skills that will further my career growth in the new field.”

5) Involuntary termination

If you left your last job or were let go under less-than-favorable circumstances, it is important to be clear about why your employment was terminated and present this information without anger or bitterness. Focus on facts when describing the circumstance of your departure. Avoid being defensive or blaming others for your predicament. Instead of making excuses for your dismissal, focus on how you bounced back from your setback and how you can deliver value to your new employer.

Answer Example: “After four years with my previous employer, I was terminated as part of the company-wide restructuring initiative. The company cited economic factors as the reason for the decision. Although this came as a surprise, I feel that this layoff was the best and have accepted the changes that have taken place. I am excited about starting a new chapter in my career and confident that my experience in marketing would allow me to make a positive impact in this new role.”

Tips to Answer “Why Are You Looking for A New Job”


There are a variety of reasons why candidates might be looking for a job. Some may be leaving their job voluntarily to pursue other interests. Others might have found themselves unemployed as a result of a company downsizing or a merger. In either case, it is imperative to address the question “Why Are You Looking for a New Job?” with a clear answer while remaining positive and professional. Use the tips outlined above to craft a compelling response. If you need any additional help or guidance with interview preparation, feel free to reach out, and we will be happy to assist you.