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ーー“Reasons for leaving last job?”

How to answer this question during an interview.

People used to stay in the same position throughout their whole life in Japan. However nowadays, job transfers have become more and more common. Despite the normality of the phenomenon of job transfers, the reason for leaving one’s last job can be quite important during an interview. When the HR person asks this question, there is a lot of information they want to get from you. For example, If you answer saying there are other companies offering higher salary, the HR may see that salary can be an important motivating factor in your career. If you answer saying you feel you can’t learn more from your last job, HR may think of that you are seeking career growth. Positive reasons are always better than negative reasons. Also, if you transfer jobs a lot of times, HR might worry you may change your job again after a short while once they’ve recruited you. So explaining your reasons carefully is quite important when you have an unusual number of past job transfers.
There are a lot of reasons for leaving a job, some are quite common, like overtime hours were too long, salary was too low, social insurance was not enough, relationships between co-workers were not good, etc. Actually, these are the problems anyone could come across. How to make the interviewer understand your situation and how to avoid giving a bad impression is something you should work on. There are some rules you can follow when confronting this question.

①Talk in detail when talking about negative reasons

It’s very easy to talk about positive reasons. Positive reasons like seeking a new challenge or career growth can be good reasons. But there are unavoidable situations where you may have to talk about negative reasons, and some people may worry about the proper way to talk about them. Telling the details of your reason can be helpful in this situation, since the details can help the interviewer understand your situation better. For example, we can look at this situation below.

The reason of worrying about the future of the company.
When the management of the company was not good, simply saying that you worry about the future of the company is not enough. It would be better to explain in detail what made you think like that about your previous company. For example, a significantly important management position was kept vacant in the past years, which makes you think about the problems of the management in the previous company.

②To stay neutral and avoid being emotional

When talking about the reasons for leaving your last job, some people may get emotional and say some improper things about the company. If you get too emotional, like crying or getting angry, the HR may have doubts about your ability to recover when confronting failures. Talking about the reason with a neutral attitude is very important. For example, if the reason is low salary, just saying that salary is too low or salary doesn’t meet your expectations is not enough. This may possibly imply bad things about your former company and make the interviewer doubt whether you really have the equivalent ability. It’s better to stay neutral and tell the detail of why you consider it to be low salary. For example, the salary is lower than in other companies for people of similar age, basic salary is lower than average in this industry, evaluation system is not transparent, etc. If your salary is significantly lower than other similar companies, talking about low salary is not going to lower the impression about yourself in the interview.

③To clear the abnormal points in your resume.

For example, the situation when you have lots of job transfers

Having done a lot of job transfers can sometimes be considered as having low organizational commitment. So to make this point clear is very important in the interview. Instead of waiting for the interviewer to ask you, you can tell them the reasons first. When there’s an unavoidable reason like reorganization of the company, it is best to just talk about it frankly. When you have multiple job transfer experience for different types of jobs, talking about the reasons of each job transfer and creating a consistent story is very important in this situation. Explaining what your career vision is, how the jobs in the past help you devote to this career vision and how the new job will give you the opportunity to realize it can be a good structure when talking about your job changes. When your multiple job transfers can be considered as career growth, your story will be successful. If there are some jobs which don’t fit in the consistent story, just talk about your failure in that job frankly and what you have learned from that experience. The important point is to not avoid talking about it, but to tell what you’ve learned from each job transfer. If you can form a keep-learning image of yourself in multiple job transfers, the unusual number of job transfers might even be changed into a good impression.

④Instead of talking about why you left your last job, talk about why you want a new job.

It’s common to talk about why you left your last job in most situations. Actually changing the angle of thinking and talking about why the new job attracts you can be a good way. In this situation, you can avoid the possibility of talking about bad things of your former company and appeal to the interviewer that you have several interests in the new company. The reason why you want the new job can be feeling attracted by the mission of the company, the interesting strategies the company used in different regions or new technology the company engaged with. In this way, a positive image can be easily formed.

Since job transfers are more and more common in these days, stating your job transfer reasons discreetly is rather important. Telling facts in detail with a neutral attitude and changing negative parts into a positive image can be quite useful when confronting the question of reasons for job transfers. The important part is what you have learned from each experience and failure and what attracts you in the new company.