‘Why Did You Leave Your Last Job?’

There’s no good answer to this question, is there? Especially if you left your job because your last boss was a horrible micromanaging maniac.

But you’re going to be asked it, almost guaranteed.

Here, a selection of options other than insults to try if you’re asked this question, culled from comments on the Ask The Headhunter blog:

  1. “What would you say if I said I left because (insert real reason here)?”
    If interviewer is negative to your hypothetical, lighten it with humor and say “Well, then I’m not saying that!” and play off their response.
  2. “I needed a job at the time, and when this one came along, though I knew it wasn’t the right job for me, I took it. I’ve given them excellent value in the time I’ve worked there, all the while knowing that when the right job for me came along it would be time to leave. I believe that working with you is the right job for me, and that is why I am here.”
  3. “I’m happy to share with you my career history and motivations for moving, but I’m more excited to discuss what impact I can make with this company, is that okay?”
  4. “I’ve given this issue a lot of thought. I’m doing very well at work, and my current organization is an industry leader, but the recent changes in the economy prompt me to be proactive. Although I’m sure my company is the best at what they do, I’m just not sure what will happen to our industry.”
  5. “The work environment was not healthy and did not align with my expectations, so I chose to leave.”
  6. “It was time to make a change and that is why I am here.”
  7. [After a boss ignored employee’s initiative-taking in building an office system] “I left because I am interested in being innovative and using my initiative to design efficient office systems to benefit the team.”

There’s a wide variety here. Are you more of the short-and-sweet type or the honest-but-gentle type?