Answering the interview question: Why are you looking for a new job?


Preparing for a job interview can be exciting and having some responses ready for typical questions can help you feel more at ease and confident during your interview.

Clearly explaining to a prospective employer why you are looking for a new job shows that you are ready to grow professionally and that you are a good fit for the role. You can use your response to this question as an opportunity to highlight your strengths.

Learn the reasons employers ask why you are seeking a new position and some effective answers.

Why employers ask ‘Why are you looking for a new job?’

During an interview, it is typical to be asked why you are considering new employment opportunities. Employers can ask this because they want to know if you have thought through your decision to search for a new job.

They can also use this question to understand why the position is attractive to you and whether you are a good fit for the company.

Providing an authentic answer will help you come across as relatable and honest and assist interviewers in understanding your professional history better.

How to explain why you are looking for new opportunities

It is important to provide the interviewer or hiring manager with a strong answer detailing your reason for seeking new employment.

When preparing your response, follow these guidelines:

  • Stay positive. Whatever your reasons may be for seeking a new position, be sure to focus on the positive aspects of your career change and the reasons that led to it. You might also consider explaining why the role you are interviewing for is a good fit for you, rather than why your current one may not be.
  • Be honest. Although you don’t want to be negative you do want to be truthful in your response. Explain that you are seeking new challenges, the company you are interviewing with has a mission that corresponds to your personal beliefs, or that the position you seek will help you advance your career. Honesty can help you impress during a job interview.
  • Focus on your strong skills. Use your response to indicate the unique abilities you have that can help you fulfil the requirements of the job. Detail how characteristics like ambition and hard work have helped you acquire these skills and how you can apply them to help the company succeed.
  • Connect to the job responsibilities. Explain how the skills you have acquired through your prior work experience differentiate you from the others. Connect your abilities to the requirements of the position you seek and prove you are the best candidate for the job by detailing how your skills can help strengthen the work already being done at the company. It can help to do some background research and become familiar with the vision, mission, and goals set by the company and usually found on their business website.
  • Consider using the STAR interview response technique. The STAR interview response technique offers an easy to remember format and provides a way to help you give a complete and useful answer.

STAR is an acronym that stands for situation, task, action, and result. The format helps to describe important details about a situation, identify the tasks and your responsibilities clearly, show the actions taken, and reveal the impact of your actions through results. Using this you can provide concrete and quantifiable ways you can positively impact a company through your work.

Example answers for why you are seeking a new position

Example 1: Administrative Assistant

‘I love a good challenge and I think it is important to leave things better than how you found them. When I began with my current company, the records were disorganized and the office lacked a system for maintaining important documentation. I helped by creating a uniform method of recording, verifying, and saving incoming paperwork digitally. This decreased the instances of lost documentation by 87% and increased productivity by 20%. I feel that I accomplished my goals and have helped my employer with their goals. I’m ready for a new challenge.’

Example 2: Educator

‘It is my passion to work with inexperienced educators and help them grow and develop their classroom management skills. I have been at my current campus for 10 years and have coached 4 different entering teachers through their first 3 years.

Together, we worked on lesson plan development, implementation of best practices to optimize classroom participation and proper assessment strategies.

I guided lesson development, provided training on differentiated instruction, and created a vertical alignment structure to help students transition easier from grade level to grade level. We raised scores by 20% overall, have increased enrollment by 5%, and have become a recognized campus. I’d like to continue helping other entering teachers.’

Example 3: Project Manager

‘I have been working hard and taking several different certification courses to help hone my skills. I’m looking for a place to grow and a company that has a mission and goals similar to my own. I earned my Project Manager Professional (PMP) certification last quarter and I’m eager to put my new skills to use.

In my current role, I offered support during presentations and as a team, we helped to increase stakeholder interest by 15%. I look forward to a role in which I can be more hands-on and present to our stakeholders on a more consistent basis.’

Example 4: Data Analyst

‘It has always been my dream to work for a large organisation. I have gained much experience helping my current company reach their goals and when it was necessary, I was able to step in for a co-worker and lead a project.

I helped to collect hard to find data to help our clients conduct an environmental impact study. We were able to report back accurate information and helped our client make an informed decision.

I would like to make a similar impact but on a larger scale to make a stronger impact for future generations.’

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