"Why are you looking for a new job?"
This is often a question asked by interviewers as way to set the tone for the interview. If you answer something like "my boss is a total a**hole," then the interviewer knows he or she can make the rest of the interview fairly short. Why hire someone who badmouths a supervisor, even if the boss is an a**hole?
But if you provide an interesting answer that mentions the skills you can bring to the table, the interviewer is more intrigued.
In other words, the way you answer this question can make or break your chances at moving closer to getting the job.
So, what do you say when asked this kind of question? (There are other variations, such as "Why do you want to work for this company?" or "What interests you about this position?")
Here's a good roadmap to follow:
- Don't be wishy-washy. If the interviewer asks you why you're looking for a new job, describe your reasons concisely without attacking anyone personally (like your boss) or giving some long, meandering question about embracing new experiences. "I am looking for a new job because I'd like to use my skills more fully. Right now, my current employer is restructuring and the constant turmoil has stifled growth. I think your company is more competitive and innovative, and I'd like to explore whether my skills could be put to better use."
- Promote your abilities. Take this opportunity to talk about why you have valuable skills, such as "I've always believed it's important to be proactive in your career, and I'm taking continuing education classes in analysis and data collection."
- Explain why it matters. "As more business and their customers turn to data as a way to stay competitive, including this company, I'll be prepared to hit the ground running the first day because of my experience and education."
Remember, interviewers are busy people. If you grab them from the beginning, chances are they'll be willing to give you more time to see if you're a good fit. By establishing your credentials and interest in the company from the very beginning, you're more likely to receive closer attention -- instead of quickly being shown the door.