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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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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 January 6, 2021

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

Everyone has heard the term productivity, and people talk about it in terms of how high it is and how to improve it. But fewer know how to measure productivity, or even what exactly we are talking about when using the term “productivity.”

In its simplest form, the productivity formula looks like this: Output ÷ Input = Productivity.

For example, you have two salespeople each making 10 calls to customers per week. The first one averages 2 sales per week and the second one averages 3 sales per week. By plugging in the numbers we get the following productivity levels for each sales person.

For salesperson one, the output is 2 sales and the input is 10 sales: 2 ÷ 10 = .2 or 20% productivity. For salesperson two, the output is 3 sales and the input is 10 sales: 3 ÷ 10 = .3 or 30% productivity.

Knowing how to measure and interpret productivity is an invaluable asset for any manager or business owner in today’s world. As an example, in the above scenario, salesperson #1 is clearly not doing as well as salesperson #2.

Knowing this information we can now better determine what course of action to take with salesperson #1.

Some possible outcomes might be to require more in-house training for that salesperson, or to have them accompany the more productive salesperson to learn a better technique. It might be that salesperson #1 just isn’t suited for sales and would do a better job in a different position.

How to Measure Productivity With Management Techniques

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to fine tune your business by minimizing costs and maximizing profits:

1. Identify Long and Short-Term Goals

Having a good understanding of what you (or your company’s) goals are is key to measuring productivity.

For example, if your company’s goal is to maximize market share, you’ll want to measure your team’s productivity by their ability to acquire new customers, not necessarily on actual sales made.

2. Break Down Goals Into Smaller Weekly Objectives

Your long-term goal might be to get 1,000 new customers in a year. That’s going to be 20 new customers per week. If you have 5 people on your team, then each one needs to bring in 4 new customers per week.

Now that you’ve broken it down, you can track each person’s productivity week-by-week just by plugging in the numbers:

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Productivity = number of new customers ÷ number of sales calls made

3. Create a System

Have you ever noticed that whenever you walk into a McDonald’s, the French fry machine is always to your left? 

This is because McDonald’s created a system. They have determined that the most efficient way to set up a kitchen is to always have the French fry machine on the left when you walk in.

You can do the same thing and just adapt it to your business.

Let’s say that you know that your most productive salespeople are making the most sales between the hours of 3 and 7 pm. If the other salespeople are working from 9 am to 4 pm, you can potentially increase productivity through something as simple as adjusting the workday.

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to set up, monitor, and fine tune systems to maximize output.

4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate!

We’ve already touched on using these productivity numbers to evaluate and monitor your employees, but don’t forget to evaluate yourself using these same measurements.

If you have set up a system to track and measure employees’ performance, but you’re still not meeting goals, it may be time to look at your management style. After all, your management is a big part of the input side of our equation.

Are you more of a carrot or a stick type of manager? Maybe you can try being more of the opposite type to see if that changes productivity. Are you managing your employees as a group? Perhaps taking a more one-on-one approach would be a better way to utilize each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

Just remember that you and your management style contribute directly to your employees’ productivity.

5. Use a Ratings Scale

Having clear and concise objectives for individual employees is a crucial part of any attempt to increase workplace productivity. Once you have set the goals or objectives, it’s important that your employees are given regular feedback regarding their progress.

Using a ratings scale is a good way to provide a standardized visual representation of progress. Using a scale of 1-5 or 1-10 is a good way to give clear and concise feedback on an individual basis.

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It’s also a good way to track long-term progress and growth in areas that need improvement.

6. Hire “Mystery Shoppers”

This is especially helpful in retail operations where customer service is critical. A mystery shopper can give feedback based on what a typical customer is likely to experience.

You can hire your own shopper, or there are firms that will provide them for you. No matter which route you choose, it’s important that the mystery shoppers have a standardized checklist for their evaluation.

You can request evaluations for your employees friendliness, how long it took to greet the shopper, employees’ knowledge of the products or services, and just about anything else that’s important to a retail operation.

7. Offer Feedback Forms

Using a feedback form is a great way to get direct input from existing customers. There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when using feedback forms.

First, keep the form short, 2-3 questions max with a space for any additional comments. Asking people to fill out a long form with lots of questions will significantly reduce the amount of information you receive.

Secondly, be aware that customers are much more likely to submit feedback forms when they are unhappy or have a complaint than when they are satisfied.

You can offset this tendency by asking everyone to take the survey at the end of their interaction. This will increase compliance and give you a broader range of customer experiences, which will help as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

8. Track Cost Effectiveness

This is a great metric to have, especially if your employees have some discretion over their budgets. You can track how much each person spends and how they spend it against their productivity.

Again, this one is easy to plug into the equation: Productivity = amount of money brought in ÷ amount of money spent.

Having this information is very useful in forecasting expenses and estimating budgets.

9. Use Self-Evaluations

Asking your staff to do self evaluations can be a win-win for everyone. Studies have shown that when employees feel that they are involved and their input is taken seriously, morale improves. And as we all know, high employee morale translates into higher productivity.

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Using self-evaluations is also a good way to make sure that the employees and employers goals are in alignment.

10. Monitor Time Management

This is the number one killer of productivity in the workplace. Time spent browsing the internet, playing games, checking email, and making personal calls all contribute to lower productivity[1].

Time Management Tips to Improve Productivity

    The trick is to limit these activities without becoming overbearing and affecting morale. Studies have shown that most people will adhere to rules that they feel are fair and applied to everyone equally.

    While ideally, we may think that none of these activities should be done on company time, employees will almost certainly have a different opinion. From a productivity standpoint, it is best to have policies and rules that are seen as fair to both sides as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

    11. Analyze New Customer Acquisition

    We’ve all heard the phrase that “It’s more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.” And while that is very true, in order for your business to keep growing, you will need to continually add new customers.

    Knowing how to measure productivity via new customer acquisition will make sure that your marketing dollars are being spent in the most efficient way possible. This is another metric that’s easy to plug into the formula: Productivity = number of new customers ÷ amount of money spent to acquire those customers.

    For example, if you run any kind of advertising campaign, you can compare results and base your future spending accordingly.

    Let’s say that your total advertising budget is $3,000. You put $2,000 into television ads, $700 into radio ads, and $300 into print ads. When you track the results, you find that your television ad produced 50 new customers, your radio ad produced 15 new customers, and your print ad produced 9 new customers.

    Let’s plug those numbers into our equation. Television produced 50 new customers at a cost of $2,000 (50 ÷ 2000 = .025, or a productivity rate of 2.5%). The radio ads produced 15 new customers and cost $700 (15 ÷ 700 = .022, or a 2.2% productivity rate). Print ads brought in 9 new customers and cost $300 (9 ÷ 300 = .03, or a 3% return on productivity).

    From this analysis, it is clear that you would be getting the biggest bang for your advertising dollar using print ads.

    12. Utilize Peer Feedback

    This is especially useful when people who work in teams or groups. While self-assessments can be very useful, the average person is notoriously bad at assessing their own abilities.

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    Just ask a room full of people how many consider themselves to be an above average driver and you’ll see 70% of the hands go up[2]! Now we clearly know that in reality about 25% of drivers are below average, 25% are above average, and 50% are average.

    Are all these people lying? No, they just don’t have an accurate assessment of their own abilities.

    It’s the same in the workplace. Using peer feedback will often provide a more accurate assessment of a person’s ability than a self-assessment would.

    13. Encourage Innovation and Don’t Penalize Failure

    When it comes to productivity, encouraging employee input and adopting their ideas can be a great way to boost productivity. Just make sure that any changes you adopt translate into higher productivity.

    Let’s say that someone comes to you requesting an entertainment budget so that they can take potential customers golfing or out to dinner. By utilizing simple productivity metrics, you can easily produce a cost benefit analysis and either expand the program to the rest of the sales team, or terminate it completely.

    Either way, you have gained valuable knowledge and boosted morale by including employees in the decision-making process.

    14. Use an External Evaluator

    Using an external evaluator is the pinnacle of objective evaluations. Firms that provide professional evaluations use highly trained personnel that even specialize in specific industries.

    They will design a complete analysis of your business’ productivity level. In their final report, they will offer suggestions and recommendations on how to improve productivity.

    While the benefits of a professional evaluation are many, their costs make them prohibitive for most businesses.

    Final Thoughts

    These are just a few of the things you can do when learning how to measure productivity. Some may work for your particular situation, and some may not.

    The most important thing to remember when deciding how to track productivity is to choose a method consistent with your goals. Once you’ve decided on that, it’s just a matter of continuously monitoring your progress, making minor adjustments, and analyzing the results of those adjustments.

    The business world is changing fast, and having the right tools to track and monitor your productivity can give you the edge over your competition.

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    Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

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