Why Did You Leave Your Last Job?

February 13, 2023

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How to Answer "Why Did You Leave Your Last Job?"

Changing jobs often involves facing common HR questions such as "Why do you want to change jobs?" and "Why do you want to leave your current company?" These questions serve as a way for HR to ensure that the candidate is a good fit for the company and won't leave soon after being hired. In this article, we'll explore how to effectively answer these questions, including the importance of avoiding criticism of the former company and common reasons for job changes.

Avoid Criticizing Your Former Company

It's important to avoid criticizing your former company when answering this question. Doing so may give HR the impression that you may speak ill of the company in the future, which can harm the company's reputation and image.

Instead of a negative perspective, try to frame your reasons for leaving in a positive light. For example, instead of saying "I left my previous company because the team was disorganized," you could say "I was excited to join a company with a more agile culture and efficient teamwork, which I believe your company embodies."

Common Reasons for Changing Jobs

Here are a few common reasons that candidates may have for changing jobs:

Cut from fit

  • If you left a large company, you could say "I am seeking a start-up culture where I can have a faster pace, greater impact, and not be just a small part of a large organization."
  • If you left a start-up, you could say "I am looking for a more structured and organized environment, and the opportunity to work on larger scale projects."
  • If you are attracted to the culture of the job you're seeking, you could mention that, for example, "I am drawn to Amazon's bias for action principle, and I am eager to work in an environment that encourages experimenting and putting ideas into practice."


  • If your previous job was stagnant, you could say "I have been in the same role for a while, and I feel like my personal growth has plateaued. I am eager to challenge myself and step outside of my comfort zone."
  • If you want to specialize in a certain field, you could say "I love front-end development, but in my previous role, I was also responsible for back-end tasks. I want to work in a role that allows me to focus solely on front-end development."

Career Development

  • If you are a user of the company's product, you could say "I have always been a fan of XXX product, and it would be a dream to be part of its development."
  • If you are looking for a job overseas, you could say "I am eager to work in an international environment."
  • If you were seeking a better work-life balance, you could say "I am at a stage in my career where I am focused on finding a better work-life balance."


Here's an example of how to answer the question in a real-life scenario: a job seeker who previously worked at a small software company in Taiwan and is now seeking a job at a large international company in Europe.

"I have been with my current company for nearly two years, and in recent months, I've realized that my role has become too familiar and no longer offers opportunities for growth and learning. After some reflection, I believe a big reason for this is the company's focus on the Taiwan market. While there's nothing inherently wrong with that, I am eager for a broader international experience and new challenges. That's why I am excited about the opportunity to work at a large international company in Europe."

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