Learn the best ways to answer “Why do you want to leave your current job?”.

Deciding to leave your current job is no small decision. Work is a major part of life, and life is too short to spend your days unhappy at work!

There are plenty of good reasons for leaving your current role. You might be after a more rewarding pay packet, better hours, more interesting and challenging work or a different location. Or you might not enjoy working with your current boss or colleagues. It’s important to know when it’s time for a change.

However, when it comes to job interviews being asked ‘Why are you leaving your current job?’ can catch you off guard if you’re not prepared. When employers ask this question, they’re looking for evidence of your values and what motivates you at work.

Whatever the reason you’re looking for a new role, we’ll cover the most important issues to keep in mind when answering this question, and how to give an answer that shows you’re focused on what you want to do next in your career.  

Think About Why You Want to Leave

A reliable way to prepare for a job interview is to anticipate what types of questions you’ll likely be asked, including why you’re leaving your current role.

Thinking about the reasons why you’ve decided to start looking elsewhere will help you clearly explain your motivations in job interviews. If you’re clear about what you really want from your next job, you can also use the interview process to decide if an employer is right for you.  

Interview Answers to Avoid

Overall, it’s wise to avoid sounding too negative or annoyed in your job interview, no matter how unhappy you are with your current role. While it’s still important to be open and honest, don’t let your dissatisfaction with your current job dominate the discussion. Keeping your emotions out of the response will help you sound professional.

Conflicts with your boss or colleagues

At some point in our careers, we’re bound to work with a manager we don’t like or feel out of place within a team. As the popular saying goes, employees leave managers – not companies.  However, trash-talking your company, manager and/or colleagues is definitely something to avoid! A Hiring Manager might interpret your grievances as gossip or begin wondering about what part you play in the conflict. Instead, you could say that while there are positive aspects of your current role (and give examples) the company isn’t the right fit for you anymore.

Dissatisfaction with pay

While it’s completely reasonable to look for a better salary or hourly rate, it’s best not to state this as your key reason for wanting to leave your current job. It’s great to be confident about what your skills and experience are worth, but highlighting money as your main reason for leaving can give the impression that money is the only thing that motivates you.

Anything that sounds like a list of complaints

Avoid the temptation to start listing all the problems you’re finding with your current role. Even if you’re in the unlucky situation of working for an especially bad company or team, it’s best not to elaborate on all the details. To avoid veering into complaint mode, focus on what you’ve achieved so far and how you’re motivated to build on that further in a new job. 

Positive Reasons to Leave a Job

Discussing what you don’t like about your current job is easy, but the most effective responses focus on the positives and your suitability for the new role.

Career growth and leadership aspirations

Some jobs simply don’t offer much of a career path. If you’re in a job like this, you’re unlikely to learn new skills, take on new responsibilities and get promoted – so it’s natural to start looking elsewhere. In an interview, be upfront about your desire to learn new things and expand your career opportunities. This shows you’re engaged, ambitious and curious, which is especially attractive to employers.

Changing career or industry

If you’ve decided to make a big change and pursue a completely different career, answering this question is an excellent opportunity to discuss your motivation and passion for the work you’re interested in. Be sure to mention any study or training you’re doing as part of your career change goals.

If you’ve applied for a similar role to your current job but within a different industry, explain how the skills and experience you’ve gained to date will help you make a difference in the new industry.

Company restructure or redundancy

When companies downsize or restructure, the changes made to teams and operations can leave some employees worse off and inspired to look elsewhere. If this is your situation, remember to avoid bad-mouthing the company. Give examples of how the restructure wasn’t working, but also how you tried to overcome the issues before applying for another job. Giving a thoughtful response will help show your maturity and problem-solving skills.

If you’ve been made redundant, be clear about this. Don’t forget to talk about your accomplishments during your time in the role – after all, a redundancy shouldn’t reflect your performance. It also won’t hurt to list any proactive activities you’ve been doing since you were made redundant, such as training or volunteering.


Moving to another city or region, or wanting a shorter commute time, is a simple yet valid reason to look for a new role. In these cases, you can mention why you’re moving and the opportunities you hope to take advantage of by making this change.


The easiest way to explain why you’re leaving your current job is to focus on the positives and your future ambitions. If in doubt, tell the Hiring Manager why you’re interested in the new role and how you think you’re the perfect match. If you’ve happened to work for a less than ideal manager or company, remember to be tactful and discreet about them.

Looking for more interview tips to secure the awesome job you want? Employment Group’s team of experienced consultants are experts in the job interview process for a range of roles in trades, manufacturing, construction and warehousing and office support. To find your ideal temp job, get in touch with Australia’s leading temp recruitment agency today.  

Author – Employment Group