Employees have spoken! These are the Best Places to Work in 2022. See the Winners!

Interview Preparation

Effective Answers for Why You Are Changing Jobs

Posted by Glassdoor Team

Career Advice Experts

Last Updated June 29, 2021

Guide Overview

Reasons interviewers ask why you are changing jobsHow to explain why you are looking for a job changeExample answers for why you want to change jobs

Guide Overview

Understanding the reasons for a job change

When preparing for an interview, it is important to be prepared to answer why you've decided to apply for that position. A hiring manager will typically inquire about your reasons for a job or career change because they want to know how well you will fit into their company. Providing a positive response to explain your reason for a job change can show an interviewer that you are a good candidate. Let's look at why hiring managers ask about your reasons for wanting to change jobs, see how to give a good answer, and review some examples to help you prepare. 

Reasons interviewers ask why you are changing jobs

Interviewers ask why you are looking for a job change because they want to gauge if you will be a good fit for their company and if you are looking to build your skills and advance your career. Every question posed, including your reasons for looking for a new job, is an opportunity for you to highlight your skills, abilities, and qualifications for the position you seek. Your response can show how well you will adjust to the culture of the company and how you can contribute to the overall mission and goals.

Discover companies hiring by job title, location, and industry

How to explain why you are looking for a job change

When explaining why you are looking to change careers or jobs, you may want to consider focusing on the positive aspects of your career move. Although your reasons may be many, keeping your response upbeat and optimistic can show you are a worthwhile consideration for the role. As you formulate your individual response, keep these steps in mind to help you provide the best answer for why you are looking for a job change:

1. Understand the job description

Revisit the official job description often listed on the company website. Read through the details of the roles and responsibilities and determine the keywords and skills required to perform the job successfully. These are the components that you can try to focus on and be passionate about when discussing your own skill set that you bring to the role.

2. Determine your strengths

Evaluate your abilities and identify a few of your strongest attributes and transferable skills. Compare your abilities to those required to fulfill the job responsibilities and select those that best coordinate with the job requirements.

3. Research the company

Conduct some background research on the company you are interviewing with. You can start by visiting their “About us” page typically located on their website. Additionally, search for outside media outlets and articles that have been published which detail any sort of fundraisers they take part in, events they host, or non-profit organizations they support.

This information can reveal the values the company supports and can clue you in to the company culture. For example, their efforts to support the city recycling program can indicate they value environmental conservation. This information can help you inform your response and indicate to the interviewer ways you can fit into the culture of the company.

4. Show optimism

When explaining your career change, focus on your reasons for selecting the company rather than explaining your reason for leaving your previous position. This slight focus shift can help you express confidence in your response and create a positive attitude, even if you left your previous place of employment under difficult circumstances.

5. Express honesty

Explain your qualifications by focusing on the skills you have and the attributes you already possess. Be honest about skills on the job description you may not have as much experience with, but express that you’re willing to work on those skills.

6. Consider perspective

When composing your response, consider how your answer can be interpreted by others. The hiring process can be time-consuming and require many resources for organizations, so the hiring manager might be looking for someone who will stay with the company for a long time. If your answer indicates that you simply like change and can’t stay in one position for too long, they might not be as interested. If it’s relevant, you may want to explain that your job change was to seek a leadership position or for upward mobility within your industry, as these changes show determination and dedication.

7. Be direct

When responding, be certain to focus on giving a detailed response and try not to ramble. Sometimes clarity in your answer may mean that the response you offer is brief. If it is direct and gives a quality reason that is pragmatic and hopeful, it should satisfy the interviewer. If the hiring manager needs elaboration, your brevity gives them the opportunity to ask clarifying questions.

8. Exhibit adaptability

One of the best characteristics of a quality employee and an admirable trait of a strong leader is the ability to adapt to change. Show enthusiasm at the opportunity of having a new job and express an eagerness to learn new things or procedures and meet different people. Change provides an opportunity to grow and network.

Example answers for why you want to change jobs

There can be many reasons for wanting to change jobs and seek out new opportunities. Read through the examples below and consider them when crafting your own unique response to why you are looking for a job change:

Example 1: Learning opportunity

During my past five years at SML, I have had a great opportunity to really focus on improving my skills and using my expertise to help others. I have served as a mentor for three different new hires and led professional developments to introduce innovative techniques. I have been the source of information and I revel in the opportunity it has afforded me to guide others. I feel I need to learn from experts in my field as well. I want an environment that challenges me and resources to help me improve on the skills I already have. 

Example 2: Seeking a leadership role

My interest in this field began when I was attending college. I admired my mentor and looked forward to the moment when I could offer my experience and knowledge to help others. Although I loved my previous position, I want a place where I can contribute to the growth and development of others in my industry. I’d like the opportunity to guide and develop procedures to help a company grow and I feel that the position available will afford me the opportunity to help others succeed. I see this as an opportunity to challenge myself and develop my leadership skills while helping others evolve as professionals in our field. 

Example 3: Desire for a better work/life balance

I have been working within this industry for several years and my wife and I have put focused much of our attention on our respective careers. I enjoyed the opportunity to help a start-up company grow into the success that it is now, but the hours were very long because we were just starting. I need an established and stable organization with effective policies in place so I can give more time to my growing family. I was there for the company’s firsts. I want to be present for my child’s firsts as well. I am excited to have the opportunity to change careers at this time in my life and anticipate all the changes my life is bringing. 

Example 4: A shorter commute

Much of my time has been spent commuting to and from work. I am passionate about what I do, but I feel like my efforts and time would be better put to use if I wasn’t spending so much time getting to and from work. I want to contribute some of my best work possible and am ready to do so in a new environment that is closer to home and will afford me the opportunity to come to work energized. 

Example 5: Growth from experience

I worked with my previous company for ten years and learned a lot. However, I feel like a change of jobs will help me grow my abilities and expand opportunities for career advancement. I don’t want to become stagnant in this industry and understand that change is sometimes necessary for new experiences.

Answering a question about your reasons for a job change is one of many you may need to tackle during an interview. Discover real interview questions asked for thousands of job titles.

Related Career Guides