9 good example answers to “Why did you leave your last job?”

Imagine if your boss made you work an extra 5 hours each day without overtime pay. Imagine getting paid overtime, but you no longer have time off work to relax and do some personal things. There comes a moment when you have had enough of everything, and all you want to do is leave your job to look for a better one.

It is common for employees to leave their job for a different company, often because of a better overall employment package. Although monetary compensation and poor leadership are the leading reasons, resigning for other purposes is also common.

Reasons for leaving

woman on her phone

It is unlikely for employees to resign without any reason. Some leave their job because of a single issue. Others choose to move on because of several problems. Perhaps you may not be getting along with other team members. It is hard to pin the exact number, but some of the top ones are here.

Excessive hoursCommitments not followed throughProblematic relationships with managers
UnchallengingLack of personal relationshipsMicromanagement
CultureUnmeaningful tasksLack of recognition
Little to no additional opportunities  

1. Too much to do, not enough time

Having too many things to do can be stressful, even outside work. Most managers would think it is good to let talented and excelling team members work more than they should. Sure, these people will likely get difficult and complex tasks done faster than others. That does not mean you should overload them with responsibilities. As a manager, you may see this as a way of providing validation for performing excellently. Still, it may feel like a punishment to your member.

If you are looking to increase your workload, you should also increase their status. It may be through a promotion or a salary increase. It could be additional benefits or a combination. Failing to do this increases the chance of losing a resource. It could negatively impact the business, resulting in financial or client loss. As a manager or leader, always remember showing recognition. Acknowledging performance should come before an employee tenders in a resignation letter.

2. Commitments that do not follow through

Making commitments to your resources is unavoidable. If you are in the situation of having to do it, keep in mind that you are putting the employee in place. It could either make him happy or ultimately push through with quitting. Suppose you did follow through with your commitment. It would prove that you remain true to your word and trustworthy.

If you cannot stay committed to your promise, it might come across as unreliable and uncaring. It could ultimately push an employee’s decision. Be careful when making commitments to your resources to the managers out there. It could make or break an employee’s decision in staying or leaving.

It may look like only managers should be careful of making commitments. Employees should also assess the situation and not simply accept everything that gets thrown their way. Similar to human relationships, commitment is a two-way street.

3. Unstable or unprofessional relationship with the manager

Most people value their relationship with their superiors and managers. So what happens if the relationship falters or goes downhill? What is worst is not having a reliable connection with your leads. Interacting with your bosses is essential to having a healthy relationship at work. For the most part, they provide guidance and direction. They also connect employees to the rest of the organization, which helps build connections.

Undoubtedly, there are indeed bad bosses. They make workers quit. If you think you can work your way around these types of people, go ahead by all means. But if you think you can’t stand it, leave and look for another job.

4. Boring or unchallenging tasks

Some people like a challenge at work and in life. Assuming you are one of those people, what sort of things at work would you want to experience? Do you want to be challenged daily and be provided with complex tasks? Speak up if there is something you want to do. Let your superiors know so that they consider you in their planning. However, things do not always go the way you want. You will sometimes not have the chance to do what you want at work. It may cause you to feel unchallenged and bored.

5. No friends at the workplace

Having friends wherever you are is helpful, whether at your workplace or around your neighborhood. Human relationships significantly impact one’s happiness and overall mental health. It feels light and easy whenever you have a good time with friends. Now, imagine spending at least nine hours at work per day for at least five days a week without having friends. Imagine eating lunch alone while other people are in groups. Does not it feel lonely?

Not having friends means not having someone that can relate as you share your frustrations and achievements. It will consume you little by little until nothing is left. The best way to prevent this from happening is to make friends. Reach out to your seatmate and interact. Talk to your teammates. If you don’t have friends at work and think it affects you, try to assess the entire situation.

6. Little to no opportunities in expressing one’s abilities and skills

You know you are great at a skill but never get the opportunity to show it at work. Maybe the first few times it happens, you can keep a positive attitude to try again next time. What happens if you constantly try to look for an opportunity, but you never get it? You will likely feel neglected and unappreciated. Acknowledging a person’s skills is a must. It gives employees a sense of confidence and accomplishment. Providing resources with the right abilities is good because it shows how much the company values each employee.

people surrounding a table

7. Micromanagement

Some leads or managers do love to give excessive supervision to their resources. This style is called micromanagement. It is not healthy and can be the reason for your team members to be unhappy and eventually resign. No one is perfect, so you should set it as part of your expectations that your people will fail sometimes. As leaders, you need to be ready to pull them back up. Let them know where they went wrong and what they can do to prevent it from happening again. But it does not mean you should be clinging over their shoulders all the time. Give your team freedom to think and make decisions. After all, the greatest teacher is experience.

Avoid micromanaging. Keep tabs with your team from time to time just enough that you have a high-level understanding of what is happening. Micromanagement only puts unnecessary pressure on people, pushing them to resign.

An individual’s work does not seem to contribute to the company’s business goals.

Some people draw inspiration and strength when they see their work in action. Similarly, some also find joy and satisfaction in knowing that they have contributed to a firm’s business goals. It is a must for managers to inform their reporting resources of the scope of work. These are important aspects of an organization’s overall business plan and strategy. Defining the scope of work also lets employees feel they have a connection with the rest of the company.

Imagine not having a clear understanding of your scope and responsibilities? Moreover, it does not align with the business goals. You will likely feel lost and unmotivated because you don’t see your long hours materializing.

8. Unmeaningful job

Do you think the work you are doing is meaningful? Yes, the meaningfulness of your job plays a vital role in job stability. If you never did find the significance of your work, then it may have never been meaningful to you.

Most employees would want to do something that creates an impact, aside from the routine work that happens at the workplace. Making a difference anywhere would mean contributing to ideas or decisions that result in gains or benefits.

Your lead or superior can help provide meaning to your work. Ultimately, whatever you feel towards what you are doing would stand.

9. Company culture

Every company has a culture. It means an organization has goals and values that characterize a company. Far beyond factors coming from management style, the company culture also plays a substantial part in employee retention.

Employees want to work for a company that promotes an accessible management team and transparent communication. If your company does not have any of these, you may have to evaluate. Ask yourself a few questions. “Whenever I have issues at work, am I easily able to raise my concern to the appropriate person?” “Are important announcements being carried over transparently to the entire organization?” “Does the management team provide support to resources or teams that need it?” These are only some of the questions you should be asking yourself.

Company culture is much, much broader than what you may think. A company that aligns with the culture you want will likely result in a long, fruitful relationship. If the company culture does not align with your values and goals, it may not be worth your while.

10. Lack of recognition of an employee’s performance

Getting recognized by your manager or teammates is a booster of a person’s performance. You’d feel more confident about what you do because you know it is correct, and you get recognition for it. What if it is the other way around? Imagine not getting any form of recognition or acknowledgment from anyone in the company. You know you did your best, and you know you did right. But why am I not being recognized for it? It will make you feel unappreciated, which would open the door for resigning.

young woman with coffee in her hand

Why are you leaving your current one?

This question gets asked a lot during hiring and exit interviews. Folks at human resources find it necessary to know why candidates leave their current jobs. Depending on how the interviewee answers the question, it speaks for character and attitude. It can also give insights into the company’s stats on handling their people. Eventually, the firm can use these data for any process improvement.

It is important to keep in mind positive reasoning for your response. The things you say can and will reflect you as a person. Remember that the first impression does not always last, but it will likely leave a mark. Although resigning from your current job because of a negative experience is perfectly common, you should avoid talking about it.

An interviewer will likely want to know you, but that does not mean he is your friend. Try to think of it this way. You are in a bar venting out all your frustrations about work. Your friends will likely understand and comfort you. But what about those people at the other table? Do you think they also think the same? Probably not. To those strangers, you will appear as someone who loves to complain and pick on everything.

Maintain positive reasoning when talking about why you left a job. There are plenty of options, such as the following:

  • I want to expand my knowledge by learning more, which is no longer possible at my current company.
  • I think I am ready for more responsibilities in the job I’m doing. My current one never gave me the opportunity, so I had to look for an opportunity somewhere else.
  • I need a different environment, one that motivates me to do more. My current environment is toxic, and I have tried several ways to get past it. Nothing is working.
  • I want to learn new skills, which is impossible in the current place I’m at.
  • I no longer feel being challenged.

What to say in an interview if you were fired from your previous place?

If you have been fired or terminated, you need to be ready when explaining it to any future employer. They may not bring it up, but it is best to be prepared for when the question arises. This question may be uncomfortable to most job applicants, but it is a great way to demonstrate integrity and professionalism.

Employers are curious about it. They want to know the significant events that led to termination and if those events reflect on your character. Employers would also need to see how you dealt with the situation and have taken steps towards self-improvement.

When preparing for an interview, keep these five things in mind:

  • Be honest about why you were terminated or fired from your previous job. When coming up with it, pick the most objective explanation and support it with events that show maturity.
  • Do not overexplain. Although your employer would want to know the details of your termination, it is a must to present facts and brief explanations for each.
  • Although getting fired is a sensitive topic, it is important to remain positive when discussing it.
  • Show personal growth as you explain the circumstances behind your termination. Tell them your realizations and what you would have done instead should it happens again.
  • Lastly, promote your abilities and skills. Gradually transition the conversation to what value you can offer to the company. It opens the floor for you to demonstrate what you can offer.

How to explain leaving a job on bad terms

man looking at graphs

Believe it or not, it does happen in real life. If the bad terms are other than termination or getting fired, it would be best not to bring it up to your next employer. However, do not name specific people if you mention this negative experience. Also, highlight the differences between your old and new employers.

How to explain why you left a toxic company

A hostile environment may cause a toll on your performance and even affect your personal life. Here are a few guidelines that can help you in explaining your side.

Don’t say bad things.

You may have had a terrible workplace. You were maybe talking too much about it with an interviewer or colleagues at your new job. It only led them to wonder if you were part of the problem. Not badmouthing your previous boss or company is the most unbiased thing you can do, and you should keep it that way.

Turn the bad into good.

Problems and issues are always a part of the package. Do not dwell too much on it. Instead, find a way to have a hands-on application of the situation.

Let us assume your boss never gave you support. It was an unhealthy relationship that could eventually destroy your career. Instead of saying it as is to the interviewer, try to alter it without changing the meaning of your thought.

Add focus to why you want to join their company.

Shedding some light on why you would like to join the company is a great plus factor in determining your application. Ask questions if there is anything unclear.

Good reasons for leaving a job after a short time

man using a computer

The best and most reasonable explanation is unfit for the company culture. As discussed in one of the previous sections, each organization has its own company culture. If you think the culture does not align, you can peacefully exit the job without paying for anything.

Maybe you are experiencing financial constraints and transferring to a different job would solve your problem. Make sure it is what you want. Is the financial constraint a long-term thing? What are the causes? If it’s unsolvable in the next few months, it is unlikely unsolvable in a year or two.

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