Why do you want to leave

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Probably the most dreaded question in interviews: Why do you want to leave your current job? It
strikes fear into all. Tracey Czakan, MD of SA’s largest staffing organisation, Kelly, says: “Rather
than dreading this question, use this opportunity to turn a negative into a positive. This question
allows you to express your individuality. But, be prepared with an honest answer; saying the
right thing will get the interviewer’s attention and could swing the job your way.”

Kelly’s Czakan continues by pointing out: “It is often not what you say, but how you say it that
leaves a negative impression. You should always be honest. But, never talk about your current
employer or colleagues in a negative manner. This leaves a bad impression with the interviewer.
Rather than elaborating about your temperamental boss or the poor salaries and working
conditions, focus on what the new job opportunity will mean for your career and the value that
you would bring to the job. There is tough competition for talent and skills and often, it’s the
added value that could stand you in good stead.”

Czakan offers advice when answering this question:

     1. A better pay package. Of great importance is whether you have in mind a value that
         is reasonable; that the position warrants and that you’re sufficiently experienced and
         qualified for. If you are unsure; ask the recruiter, but make sure the salary scale on
         offer matches your needs. When calculating your pay package, be accurate. Don’t
         forget most companies now work on a total cost to company basis (TCT). This means
         your basic pay as well as the value of benefits and bonuses.
     2. A more challenging job or environment. Point out that you’re a go-getter and not
         afraid of difficult tasks. This will most certainly leave a positive impression. But, don’t
         forget to be prepared to elaborate on what you regard as a more challenging job or
     3. Looking for better opportunities. Indicate that you are willing to work for
         promotion and that advancement is a privilege; not an entitlement. Again, be
         reasonable and consider whether your experience and qualification warrants a
     4. Prepare for the interview. In addition to preparing for the question of why you want
         to leave your current job, ensure you are thoroughly prepared on the prospective
         employer. Get more information from the recruiter or visit their website. Make sure you

         have a thorough understanding of what the job is all about. There is nothing worse
         than sitting in an interview and realising that this job really isn’t for you. Brush up on
         your interview skills. Never interrupt the interviewer. Clarify any questions that you
         don’t understand. Take you time when answering questions. Make notes during the

In conclusion Czakan says: “Preparation is critical. It will help you go into the interview with a
positive attitude. The fact that you’ve been granted an interview already means you are a
contender for the job. Remember, questions are opportunities for you to sell yourself. Use these
opportunities wisely and you could be the number one candidate.”




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