Top Culture Fit Questions

How to Answer: Why do You Want to Leave Your Current Role or Internship?

“Why do you want to leave your current role or internship?” is never an easy question to navigate during a job interview. However, it is a common interview question that will likely be asked at many interviews for both internships and entry-level jobs.

So why do recruiters ask this question? They are curious to know your reason and want to make sure that you won’t have the same reason to leave the position for which you are interviewing. How an interviewee answers this questions also says a lot about how they handle people and difficult situations; being able to answer well does involve a certain level of maturity.

Here are different reasons why you may wish to leave your current position and how to address them positively and professionally in an interview.

You dislike your current job and/or boss.

If your reason for wanting to leave is because of an uncomfortable work environment or a pesky manager that you just don’t see eye to eye with, provide the interviewer with this information in a polite, professional way.

Say something like: “Throughout my time in this role, I’ve realized that my team lead and I were headed in different directions. Though it was a difficult decision to make, I feel ready for a new challenge.”

After stating your reasons, try to bring the conversation back to something positive and remind the interviewer why you’re interested in the new job you’re interviewing for.

Here’s the one thing not to say when in this type of situation: Avoid, at all costs (especially during a job interview) badmouthing your current company and/or manager. There are sure-fire ways to say you’re not pleased in your current position or with your current manager, without actually saying it. While it might feel good to get your feelings off of your chest, save it for a friend or family member, as it’s definitely not going to land you a job.

You’ve professionally outgrown your current role.

There’s nothing more frustrating than having to get up every single day to go to a job that you’re just not that into. There are ways that you can try to turn a job you hate into a job you love, but if that’s no longer an option, here’s how you can position yourself.

Say something like: “I have achieved everything that I can achieve in my current role and feel that in order to keep grow during this early stage of my career, it’s time to move on to a new company with more room for growth. I’ve decided to pursue a position where I can learn more about this industry and benefit from strong leaders. I know that this company places a lot of emphasis on mentorship so the opportunity to learn and contribute is something I’m really excited about.”

If your reason for moving on has to do with the fact that you’re currently working in an internship or part-time role and you would like a full-time position, you can tweak this answer to fit your experience.

Say something like: “I’ve enjoyed learning about the retail industry throughout my time with my current employer. For the past three months, I’ve been the number one salesperson on the floor and this has made me realize that I’m ready for a new challenge and a full-time opportunity.”

Try to avoid making comments such as, “I’m bored in my current position.” This kind of talk comes off negatively, and may make the interviewer question if you’ll lose interest in the role and move on quickly. Remember that an employer wants to know that you are loyal and responsible, and that you will not leave after a couple of months when the job is no longer new and exciting.

You want to earn the market rate for your position and industry.

If your current position as a college student or recent grad is volunteer, providing an honest reason (you need a paid position) won’t be perceived negatively by the employer.

However, students and recent grads who are paid the market rate for their work should be careful about saying they are leaving for more money. Employers know that you’re looking to improve on both a personal and professional level and that includes a financially sufficient role. Adding something positive about the potential new employer in your response to the interview question is a great way to highlight your interest in the company while also being honest about your job search.

Say something like: “I’m currently in a volunteer position at a similar firm, and my goal is to find a role that not only challenges me professionally but also compensates me appropriately financially.”

Whatever your reasoning for looking for a new job, be sure that you present yourself in a positive manner during the job interview. No employer wants to employ someone who may potentially bring a toxic attitude to work. Interviews can be stressful, as your career history is being examined under a microscope and you have a limited amount of time to convince your potential employer that you’re the best fit for the job. Remember that with effort and some practice beforehand, you can walk away from the job interview with confidence and a favorable phone call in your future.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How to Get a Job in Sustainability and find answers to common interview questions such as What Are Your Hobbies?