How To Address The Unpleasant Question — What Was Your Reason For Leaving?

The reality is not everyone is going to work at the same company for 35 years and retire from there!  So, the ‘reason for leaving’ question will ultimately come up during the interview process.  Leaving a position on ‘good terms’ and with ample notice is what happens in the perfect world, but as we all know, circumstances are not always perfect.  The tips below are intended to assist you in addressing ‘the reason for leaving’ question when it comes up during the interview process.

1.  Google your name!  See what ‘pops up’ when you do this. Even minor infractions, years and years ago, could have been reported to the media or are public record.  If there are any skeletons in your closet, be sure YOU know about them BEFORE the Interviewer does.  Chances are the Hiring Manager will also Google your name, when it comes down to the final decision, as they determine the best candidate to extend the offer to.  So, you do not want anything surfacing at this point, that you have not already ‘explained’ throughout the interview process.  Moral of this story, avoid any surprises.

2. Prior to the interview ‘rehearse’ what you will say when asked your reason for leaving each of your positions.  You do not want your responses to come across ‘scripted,’ but you do not want to be stumbling and searching for the words, either.

3. Be consistent when it comes to your reason for leaving, regardless if you resigned, or were terminated.  As you move through multiple-interview stages, you do not want decision makers hearing you state different reasons for leaving.  This will hinder your credibility, if they each ‘hear’ something different.

4. In the case of a termination, avoid placing blame and pointing fingers at everyone else–your boss, your co-workers, thus painting an ‘everyone was out to get me’ scenario.  State the reason–take accountability–and share what you LEARNED from that experience, and more importantly, how you will AVOID the same scenario from occurring in the future.  We are human and we all make mistakes–as long as you learn from those mistakes and do not continue to make the SAME mistake over and over–you can move forward and demonstrate your newly discovered wisdom!

5. Also, in the case of a termination, prepare and select the companies that you wish to pursue….put your strategy in place, and begin to move forward with your  search within 2 weeks.  Putting off the search and procrastinating will in no way, assist you in securing your next position.

Stay tuned for next week’s blog–’Incorporate The Power of Volunteering’

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