Many experienced professionals face the career crossroad towards staying in their current role or pursuing a job change. For some, it has been a decision in the pipeline for a while, and for others, it’s taking a leap because of a good opportunity. As daunting as the phase can be, it is one which requires significant introspection and planning. This necessary step in the process prepares you to create a strong response to the interview question “Why are you looking for a new job?”
Employers need to be assured that they are making a wise decision in bringing you on board. The essence of their enquiry is to allow them to understand your reason(s) for switching jobs; is it well thought out, does their vacancy align with your aspirations, and will you be a potential flight risk? Do not be daunted by the question as it is not designed to mortify an interviewee but rather add clarity to your interest and even clear up misconceptions. Your response will be the difference between convincing or dissuading the interviewer.
Understand where you are heading in your career and clearly define what is next in your journey. Long-term goal setting is a key driver in mapping out where your career should be heading. Set your sights on the destination and work backward right up to your present role/place of employment. What type of experience do you currently have and describe the skill set required to close the gap which the role you are applying for presents. Articulate your career big picture and the intended growth stages towards your pinnacle. This shows an interviewer that your desire to move into this job is well-thought-out and strategic. Great points to gain in the process.
Showcase what you bring to the table! It’s ok to let your experience and qualifications shine during an interview as you describe why you are chasing after your next big career goal. In as much as you are seeking growth, an employer also needs assurance that you can deliver. Pre-interview, dissect the job description for the role, and identify your transferable skills. Ideally adding relevant experience examples would be golden and be top of mind during the interview to recount. In describing your present skills, you can now position how your potential move can be a good fit with a smart transition.
Be positive about a negative experience. Let’s face reality, sometimes it becomes necessary to escape an environment due to a myriad of concerns that do not support you progressively. Despite this, an interview is not a forum to vent your frustrations. At a minimum, keep it neutral and focus on the positives. Stay honest in your responses without any disparaging examples or perspectives regardless of how passionately you may feel about a work environment, colleague, or boss. Keep in mind through an interviewer’s eyes they are assessing your professional maturity and questioning how well you can fit in the workplace. Thus, it is as important to know what not to say and even more important to identify selling points on why you are interested in the career shift.
Keep it clear and positive! Your decision to pursue a new role, be it lateral or upward, is one which is personal to you. Be certain of your reasoning and in selling your strengths to be considered for the role, plan, practice, and positively impress.