You’ve passed the pre-screening round and landed an interview. You’ve answered all the technical questions. You’ve relayed your skills and how they apply to the position’s responsibilities. Finally, the interviewer wants to know why you left/looking to leave your position? What do you say? Do you tell them about your horrible boss? The deplorable work conditions? The answer is “No”, never bad mouth or share negative job experiences and here’s why:
The big question?
You may feel your reasons for leaving are righteous and justified however the rule is simple – Resist the urge and NEVER badmouth a previous employer. Why? Simply put, it raises too many questions and leaves a negative impression. The interviewer may even feel like you may have been part of the problem. You never want the interviewer thinking:
- Is this person hard to please?
- How do they handle conflict?
- Are they going to want to quit as soon as something unfavorable happens here too?
- Are they going to badmouth us also?
What to say instead?
Above all, they want to hear what you will do for them. Why should they make a commitment to invest in you? They want to have confidence that you are the right person for the job. If you have to address a negative event in your employment history, try to be as neutral in your response as possible and keep your answers to those questions brief. In some extenuating circumstances you can speak about those experiences, but remember to always put a positive spin on it.
Instead of throwing your former (or current) employer under the proverbial bus, try to turn the attention of your conversation towards positive outcomes. Focus your responses towards engaging in a more productive conversation with them. You’ll be in a much better position explaining how excited you are about the position and how your work experience makes you qualified to do the job instead of dwelling on the past.