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Tough Interview Question - Help Please

By RB_ITProfessional ·
Why are you leaving your current position? The real reason vs. what you should say

At the core of why I want to leave is the fact that my boss is a micromanaging jerk who has alienated everyone on the team. In fact, four employees have quit within the past year for that very reason. I am one of the last few looking to get out.

How should I handle this question in a job interview: ?why are you leaving your current position??

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to furthen your career goals

by w2ktechman In reply to Tough Interview Question ...
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There are ways to say it....

by JamesRL In reply to Tough Interview Question ...

I'm looking for a position that might provide further growth potential.

I'm looking for a challenge and personal growth.

I'm interested in joining a company with a more interesting and complex technical environment.

All of these may be totally true. But not necessarily the only reason, or even the prime reason.

You are caught between a rock and a hard place. The worse answer would be : because my boss is a micromanaging jerk. Because we all face challenges in our jobs and try to overcome them. Changing jobs is a tacit admission that you couldn't overcome that challenge. But don't worry, I hear it all the time.


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Good Responses

by RB_ITProfessional In reply to There are ways to say it. ...

I like this approach. It's a tough situation that I have not been in before, having to leave a job because of the lack of opportunity caused by a micromanager. I am surprised I lasted as long as I did. I thought that by talking with my manager about it (which he encouraged) that eventually he would improve. The other 4 people that left took the hint much sooner than I. He was not interested in change, no matter how much talking about it we did.

Thanks for the suggestions. It gives me a new perspective on how to approach the question.

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I would be honest, but in a spin to it.

by Zen37 In reply to Good Responses

I would say that the working conditions have unfortunately deteriorated in the last few months and there doesn't seem to be any changes in sight, so you are looking for new opportunities.

That's what i answer.

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Walking a fine line

by JamesRL In reply to I would be honest, but in ...

It is seen as a bad thing to bad mouth a previous employer. You open the door to the interviewer thinking you may have been part of the problem.


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by RB_ITProfessional In reply to Walking a fine line

This is exactly why I brought this up. The worst thing I can do is go around bad mouthing a former employer. It's just unprofessional and unnecessary.

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Use Professional Terms ...

by mwiingah In reply to exactly

There are words/phrases that can be used to mean that you're seeking opportunities for growth, lacking in your current/previous job. One way to put it is I was looking for Continuous Professional Development (CPD). Just be mindful not to sound too self-centered

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I agree with James

by maxwell edison In reply to I would be honest, but in ...

I interview a lot of people, and whenever one of them criticizes the former (or current) employer, it raises a red flag. The person conducting the interview has no idea if what you say is accurate or not, or more importantly, if it's your outlook that only "sees" those problems.

I avoid negative-thinkers and complainers like the plague; they're a poison that can spread throughout an entire organization. It's amazing how many people come in and "complain" about various things. It doesn't matter what it is: the industry, the former employer, the bad economy, and so on; heck, I've even interviewed people who complain about racism and sexism in the industry (like I have to hire them to "prove" I'm not a racist! Yea, right!). I'd never hire any of these people because I wouldn't want to run the risk of getting one of those "complainers" who will later infect others in the company.

It's not what goes on around a person that matters, at least not as much as how a person chooses to deal with it and "see" it. I look for attitude and outlook more than anything else. I can always train a person with a great attitude who might be lacking in skills; but I can never train the most skillful person who has a bad attitude to change his/her outlook. Hire for attitude, train for skills; that's my motto.

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That's alright

by Zen37 In reply to I agree with James

If someone being honest with you raises red flags with you, that's ok. You might be missing something good though.

I don't think the answer i give is demeaning to my present or previous employer. Not all managers are easy to deal with. If you do not accept that such situations can occur, I'm not sure I'm the one being "out of focus" here.

I personally would prefer someone be honest with me than **** smoke up my b*tt at the interview process and find out later that the person is not what he or she appears to be.

According to your reply, i take it that if the person who is being interviewed thinks his boss is a micro manager idiot, he's a complainer. But if that person tells you he or she is seeking better opportunities and you hire them. Won't you simply end up being duped?

I still prefer the honest yet polite approach. Anyways Max, from what i can tell from your posts, you and I really don't see eye to eye. If you don't like my answer, that only means that I'm on the right track. (no punt intended) ;-)

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I agree that I could be wrong. . . . .

by maxwell edison In reply to That's alright

.....about any given person who "complains" about his/her previous company. But if I interview a dozen people for one position, I could be wrong about eleven of them, for any number of reasons, overlooking some potentially great people. I know what I'm looking for in people, and I'll freely concede that it might be different than what other hiring managers look for. I've been extremely successful in hiring people, and they often get promoted into other departments after I've trained them. I tend to lean towards the people who see the positive things from any given situation, not the negative things. And if I have to select only one from a dozen, well....... so be it.

I think in the end, the person being interviewed might have to answer that question for himself -- whether or not to appear to be critical of a previous employer. But before he/she answers, perhaps this test should be given to the answer: How could this particular answer help me? Could this particular answer possibly hurt me? I believe that a person can find a good balance between being honest and answering in a way that serves his/her best interest.

You may disagree, and that's alright. I just thought I'd share my perspective with the person who asked the initial question. I'm sure he/she will take it for whatever it may (or may not) be worth, just like you.

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