7 ways to answer ‘Why did you leave your last job?’ in an INTERVIEW

Last updated on February 2nd, 2021 at 08:30 am

I was literally startling the first time I was asked, “Why did you leave your last job” during an interview in Ibadan, Oyo State, Southwest, Nigeria, a few years ago.

I had never been asked such a question since my job search. It was the second job I was hoping to take after I decided to leave my job by the end of the year at the time.

I mumbled some sentences when the panel asked, “Why did you leave your job?” I knew it wasn’t the best answer to give. Right from there I knew my answers would determine if I’d get the job or not.

Right on my way back home, I headed to Google search to read some of the appropriate ways to answer the question, “Why did you leave your last job?”

So, there is no gainsaying the fact that hundreds of job seekers had failed this question at the point of an interview because they never expected it, some of them were caught unaware just like me.

Maybe you left under odd circumstances and don’t want to share the whole truth with your prospective employer or you’re not sure what to say instead.

Either way, this list by a Career Consultant, Kirsty Bonner who is known for her top-notch tips for job seekers on LinkedIn provided an answer to this question.

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Question: Why did you leave your last job?

Answers: I’m going to share seven most powerful answers you can give when such a question comes up during an interview.

  1. Be truthful.
  2. Don’t try to avoid the question.
  3. Give minimal details, unless probed.
  4. Don’t trash your former manager or employer. Be as diplomatic as you can.
  5. Don’t appoint blame to others. Take ownership; be accountable.
  6. Project yourself in a way that assures the interviewer that it was an isolated case and no cause for concern.
  7. Finish by explaining what you learned from the experience.

If you planning to leave your current job, the same answer applies, “You can never go wrong with the truth. Life happens,” Bonner wrote.

“I know it, you know it, and recruiters and hiring managers know it too. If they choose not to hire you because of it, put it behind you, carry on searching and move on to the next interview.

“What one interviewer considers to be a red flag, another won’t. You have amazing skills, qualifications and experience, so PERSEVERE!

“It’s only a matter of time and EFFORT until you find your new professional “home!”

Do you have anything to add to this list? Fell free to share with us.


  • Opeyemi Quadri

    Ope is a finance writer and researcher with 10+ years of experience in content creation. His interests cut across investment, foreign exchange, government policies and politics. Ope is available on Twitter @OpeQuadri.

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