Interview Insights | Key Question: “Why are you leaving your current role?”


Interview Question: Why are you leaving your current role?

It’s easy to complicate your response to this question.

It puts you in an uncomfortable situation.

If you are voluntarily leaving then not only do you have to justify why you took the role in the first place but then why it’s no longer the best fit for you.

Otherwise, if you were let go, then it questions the true value of your contributions to that organization.

It’s tricky, so here’s one useful framework to help you get unstuck.

This is one framework that has helped my best clients answer this question so that they come across as the best candidates for the opportunities that they have secured.

  • First consider what you enjoy (ed) most about your current role (or last).
  • Then reflect on what you dislike (d) most about your current role (or last).
  • Connect the dots between these variables with what you envision being the reality of working within the current opportunity.
  • Identify the points you’ve enjoyed that are precisely what this new opportunity would empower you to do more of and say them.

The key insight is that you should quickly and directly say why you are leaving but then swiftly focus on why you are interested in joining the target organization. One way to do this is by saying that the new role would enable you to do more of what you enjoy.

For example:

When I first joined the organization, I led multi-million dollar capital intensive projects  as a supplier that focused on renewable energy, specifically hydro-specific work. Yet, the demand for hydro-specific work dwindled due to fluctuations in the oil industry and as you know hydro initiatives are quite dependent on the volatile needs of our local oil industry. As a result, I’d like to now work for you because you are the owners  of various hydro assets and I’d like to help you figure out how to more predictably figure out the flow of your work despite that volatility as well as how to ensure that existing assets are being optimized during these “downtimes.”

This is one of those interview questions that can trip up even the savviest business executives. I can help you nail the 26 others in an easy to download eBook “The Interview-Strategy Playbook for Olympians.”

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  • You will discover and focus on the interview questions that can trip up some of the world’s best corporate athletes and as a result save time and still feel sufficiently prepared.
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Melissa Llarena

Melissa helps movers and shakers up to those in the corner office rediscover what makes them unique so that they can land their dream job in a forward-thinking company where their ideas are listened to, valued, and supported.

She brings insights from having worked in 16-business units (including Human Resources) in NY, Paris, and London. Additionally, in her former corporate career, she worked on billion-dollar brands for P&G and on IBM for Ogilvy & Mather. Later, as the founder and CEO of Career Outcomes Matter, Melissa created a 3-step “sellable strengths” process which has been the centerpiece of her clients' results.

Melissa applies this method consistently to support mid-level professionals up to the c-suite to get into Fortune Global 500 organizations and agencies. She studied Psychology at NYU and earned her MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.


  1. Avatar Divya on August 6, 2015 at 11:30 am

    I need a response to this interview question tht Why I left my previous job?

    I was working as a operations Analyst- Recruiting coordinator role in Pramerica and currently applied for HR Data Analyst in Pramerica again.

    how can I say answer tht question in this context. Plz help

    • Avatar Melissa on August 7, 2015 at 9:33 am

      Sure, so why are you returning? Think about the experiences you gained after leaving the company. Name the skills and say that you left to acquire those precise skills which position you well for this role. Also, after trying a new firm on for size you realized the benefits of working with the firm….which were X, Y, and Z. You’ll also need strong internal references or old bosses to vouch for you. Good luck!

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