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Unsure How to Explain Why You Left Your Last Job? Here’s the Perfect Answer.

Unsure How to Explain Why You Left Your Last Job? Here’s the Perfect Answer.

This would be an inevitable question which you can’t ignore at any cost. There can be several reasons why you want to leave your current job or why you had left your previous job – and not all reasons can be rosy.

The most important thing is – are you sure about why you want to leave your job? In many cases, people take whimsical decisions to quit and later regret about leaving a place that could have added more values to their career graph. But if you know that your reasons are sorted enough, then you’ll be more confident in approaching you future/ prospective employer and answer his/ her questions in a more convincing manner.

Try to be honest while responding, because one irrelevant answer can lead to another tricky question. If you are honest and stick to your opinions, you’ll have a better image in the interviewer’s eyes. In today’s world of extreme competition in the job market, know that you are your toughest competitor and only you can surprise yourself.

Why Do Interviewers Ask This Question?

When an interviewer asks you this question, it means that he/she wants to understand the degree of your efficiency and commitment that you’ll have towards your work once you be a part of their company.

The interviewer usually tries to find a certain flow in your response, trying to figure out whether his company will get affected in anyway because of you. It is important for him/her to know whether you left your previous job on a good note or not. You can provide the reference of your ex-boss in order to make things simple and smooth – this will easily convince your interviewer that you were not kicked out on some apprehensive note. Did you leave the job because of some personal reason or because you felt you were unappreciated? – If so, then back your reply with proper reasons.

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Express your reasons skillfully and don’t act overconfident. Leave a space for the interviewer to make a positive opinion about you.

To put it more precisely, career expert Duncan Mathison, author of Unlock the Hidden Job Market: 6 Steps to a Successful Search When Times are Tough,[1] says that interviewers ask this question to “understand your motives and gain insight as to how [you] handle work relationships.”

How Should You Answer?

I had also left my previous job which wasn’t actually bad – I had a nice work environment with a super cool boss, but the work wasn’t something that really intrigued me. I wanted something else from life – and I had a very clear idea of what I was looking for.

I realized that the cubicle and the desktop with long hours of editing work wasn’t my cup of tea! I wanted to travel and write about places and people – in a way, I wanted to break out of the shackles of editing and give wings to my words that can reach out to millions of people and inspire them in some way or the other, to look deeper into their lives and to set themselves free.

Before I took to the step of resigning, I went for trek to the Himalayas, and amidst that solitude and eerie silence of nature, I fixated my mind and drew the strength of letting go of a well paying stable job in a skyscraper that looked extremely fancy from outside.

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After a sabbatical of 6 months when I explored the mountains and the beaches of India and spend a month in Bhutan, I came across my present company, which at once caught my attention with its volunteer and travel opportunities and aim of touching underprivileged lives in certain corners of the world. Quite evidently, my current boss also threw the question regarding my earlier job – I guess my views about my life and where I see myself to be, convinced him enough to offer me the job.

How A Well-Structured Answer Looks Like and Why It Is Good

Start replying with a similar statement and slowly built your answer on what type of growth you are looking for and what skills you possess to deal with the challenges that might come your way. If you can, then briefly narrate a couple of situations that you’ve tactfully handled at your previous workplace.

“I’ve worked in the company for quite some time, and at this point I was feeling that my growth has stopped. I am looking for something that will help me inculcate some new skills and values.”

Explain about the project that you’ve finished and how it has benefited you company. Slowly drift to the context of role change and what role exactly you are looking for. Do you feel that this company will be able to provide you with what you are seeking? – If yes, then how? Be clear with the answers, so that it doesn’t create any doubt on the interviewer’s mind.

“I wrapped up a very important project for the company and now I feel it is the perfect time for me to step out of the comfort zone and explore something new. I want to shift my job role, and my company doesn’t have a vacancy to offer what I’m looking for.”

Your honesty will surely be appreciated, and if you can demonstrate your skills and competency through your ideas and strategies, then you’ll essentially make a mark on the interviewer’s mind. Admit that you didn’t get a scope you were looking for and you are expecting to get it in this company.

“The company suffered a huge loss and they are planning to fire few of the newly employed staffs. Since I haven’t got a chance to prove myself yet, I am skeptic about my position. Therefore, I’m looking for a better option to put my skills at use, before I get laid off.”

While apparently it might seem very snobbish to quit a job for traveling, but if you know how much your journeys have taught you and what values it added to your life, then you’ll surely be able to convince the interviewer. Also, you can share some experiences that you’ve had while on the go – for example, some volunteering work that you’ve done, some random situation that posed a challenge etc. This will help him/her to know you better and assess your skills and vigor.

“I wanted to take a break and explore my passion of traveling and photography, something I had wished to do since a long time. I wasn’t very confident initially about doing away with a job, but I later realized that if I’m not happy in my shoes, I can’t help the company move forward. So I decided to quit and pursue my passion. Now I feel that my energy had doubled and my journeys have made me stronger than I’ve ever been. I feel I’m ready to work in a much better manner and fetch a win-win level for both your company and myself.”

Not getting proper appreciation can actually suck and your interviewer will be able to understand your point if you can successfully narrate your stance. Express that you are ready to take up challenges for growth and you don’t mind stretching your limits, if that fetches you good results. After all, a little appreciation is something we all deserve.

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“I feel that your company can provide me with better opportunities that I’m looking for. I realized that I wasn’t properly appreciated for the tasks I performed and the opportunity to grow wasn’t available to me in my previous company and that in order to continue to improve myself professionally, it was time to move on.”

Practice Your Answer Until You’re Confident About What You Say

No matter what, this question is difficult to be avoided at a job interview, and it’ll be better if you prepare the answer on your mind and keep repeating it until you are absolutely confident about what you are going to say. Remember that the key to success is to stay honest, clear and positive. Your mannerisms and body language will also compliment what you are saying – so make sure everything is in a sync.

Avoid speaking negatively about your erstwhile employer. Don’t try to make up stories on points that are irrelevant or unbelievable or may sound extremely gibberish to your interviewer.

Even he/she understands that nobody can stick to a job for an entire lifetime, it’s just that your reasons need to be good enough for quitting your previous job and convincing enough that you are the best candidate for the company!

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

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Reference

More by this author

Riyanka Roy

Travel Writer and Blogger

Unsure How to Explain Why You Left Your Last Job? Here’s the Perfect Answer. 17 Little Things You Can Do To Be A Better Person in 2017

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Last Updated on October 21, 2018

How to Learn Twice as Fast? Get More Feedback

How to Learn Twice as Fast? Get More Feedback

Have you ever heard of the idiom ‘practice makes perfect’? I’m pretty sure someone has said that to you at least once in your life! It’s a common saying, often used to encourage someone when they’re learning or doing something that is new to them.

They may need many tries before succeeding and getting it right. It’s like beginning to ride a bicycle, learning how to drive, taking up a second language, or cooking for the first time. It’s rare for someone to ace it on their first try.

Whenever you want to start learning something new, I’m sure you’re always hoping to get good at it quickly. But the reality is that sometimes it does take days, months or even years before you can confidently master a skill.

That’s simply how learning works. You try, you gain experience, you learn from it, and you try again. And each time, you’re improving and making progress. Everytime you repeat this learning process, you’re going through something called a Feedback Loop.

What separates a fast learner from a slower learner, is not some innate, natural talent. Instead, it’s because they understand how they learn, and have a systematic way to apply it all the time to learn a variety of things. They know how to effectively use their Feedback Loop to speed up the learning process.

So if you’re currently wanting to learn a new skill as quickly as possible, then you’re first going to need to learn how to create an effective Feedback Loop.

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The Feedback Loop

Feedback means getting information about how well you’re performing each time you make an attempt at practicing or applying a skill. Feedback is what tells you what went wrong, or what went right.

A feedback loop is made up of 3 stages:

  1. Practice / Apply – This is the stage where you put what you want to learn into action.
  2. Measure – This is the stage where you’re acquiring information about your performance. This is also the stage that is most ignored… or done ineffectively.
  3. Learn – This is the stage where you analyze how well you performed, and make adjustments to improve and practice/apply again.

It is important to recognize these 3 stages and put them into place each time you practice a new skill.

Many people only have Stage 1 completed, and a very unclear or fuzzy process for Stage 2, which leads to poor results in Stage 3.

A good, smooth cycle will help you continuously make improvements with each loop, creating steady progress and upgrading your understanding of the skill.

How to Have an Effective Feedback Loop

To make sure your Feedback Loop is effective, you will have to look at 3 key factors: Consistency, Speed, and Accuracy.

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Being consistent means having a regular way to get the same quality of feedback. You need to be able to compare every practice or learning experience in order to measure, learn and make adjustments. If your feedback is not consistent, then you’re going to have a hard time knowing what went wrong or what went right.

For example, say you’re learning to play the guitar. If you play a different song every time you practice, you’re going to get very inconsistent feedback. Because the difficulty, rhythm, and pace of every song is different, you won’t have a reliable way to compare how well you played the current song versus the last. So, the best way to learn would be to play the same song over and over again until you get to a certain proficiency.

Seems obvious in this case, but it’s just an example. A lot of times learning is hard because we don’t focus on keeping with a consistent environment or actions.

Let’s move on to the second factor: speed. Having speedy or fast feedback is important because the longer it takes to get feedback, the longer it will take to improve on the skill. That’s why some people spend a tremendous amount of time practicing, but make very slow progress.

On the other hand, the best forms of feedback are almost instantaneous. The shorter the time it takes for one Feedback Loop to complete, the better. This is because you’ll have more attempts, which means more improvements within the same timespan.

How to get fast feedback

So the key to getting fast feedback is to take the skill or knowledge and break it down. Try to breakdown the skill into different components. They could be broken down into steps, subskills or processes, or even by difficulty.

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For example, if the skill you want to learn involves a sequence (ie: there is a step by step process), you can break your learning down by each step. Create a Feedback Loop for each step individually instead of the whole process. Isolate the processes into different parts that you can focus and work on individually.

Let’s say you’re learning to cook. You can break this skill into steps, such as finding fresh and suitable ingredients, preparing and handling the ingredients, preparing condiments and sauces, serving and plating, etc.

Or let’s say you’d like to learn how to play soccer. You can identify the sub-skills that make up the larger learning techniques to playing soccer, and create feedback loops for each of them individually. So you could start by learning how to dribble the ball, followed by passing, and then shooting.

The third and final factor to an effective Feedback Loop, is accuracy. This means having feedback that actually reflects your performance accurately. Since you’re relying on feedback to tell you what and where to improve next time, this is very important. This is why measuring feedback is a key skill to have for an effective Feedback Loop.

How to Measure Feedback

Obtaining accuracy in feedback is a common weak point for many learners, because it’s not always easy to define what “accurate” means.

To get accurate feedback, we have to have a way of measuring it. The reason why we sometimes get poor feedback is because we’re trying to measure our progress without quantifying our performance. Or, we’re using the wrong metrics to quantify the feedback. Worse yet, it might just be that you were never measuring or recording your performance at all.

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In order to find areas for improvement, you have to be able to compare your current performance with your previous performance.

Quantifying something means attaching a number to it. This helps to give objectivity and consistency when comparing two things. Quantifying feedback can give you constructive information that will help you improve during each cycle of the feedback loop.

Continuously Improve Your Feedback Loop!

Are you ready to put your feedback loop into practice? What’s a new skill that you’d like to start on?

Try implementing every stage of the Feedback Loop when learning this new skill and see for yourself whether your learning improves at a quicker rate.

It is essential to continuously improve your Feedback Loop in order to keep up your momentum, and avoid running into the law of diminishing returns. Improving your Feedback Loop means knowing what to measure next, and what questions to ask to find out.

If you’d like to learn more, subscribe to our newsletter. You’ll discover a lot more gems that will help you speed up your learning; and, these skills will push you towards the goals that you’ve been striving for. All your goals are within reach when you master the Feedback Loop!

Featured photo credit: Raj Eiamworakul via unsplash.com

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