Pssst – hey you. Yes, you over there. Looking for a new job? Got some interviews lined up? Prepared to answer questions about why you are looking for a new job? I’ll let you in on a little secret. You ready? Here goes. Do not bad mouth your current or previous company (or manager) when speaking with your next prospective employer. That’s right. No matter how awful they may have been to you, no matter how much they may have done you wrong, no matter how much they caused you to run for the hills. Always be sure to take the high road, steer away from a negative conversation.
The reality is that you are not going to impress a potential employer by bad-mouthing someone else. Saying something unpleasant about someone else, or playing the victim role, is not going to do anything to convince someone to hire you. Really, why should it? Think of it this way – what if you just met someone and started having a conversation with them, but then they went on and on (and on) about how awful this other person is that they know. What would you think? Would you want to have another conversation with them? Would you wonder what they are going to say about you to someone else? This is probably not someone you want to associate with, am I right?
So, now the question: what should you say when you are asked why you left that company? Do not get me wrong. You should never lie and I would never suggest that you do. What I do suggest is that you focus on the positive. Yes, there is always a positive. Talk about what you did gain while you worked there. Talk about what skills you now possess that will be of great value to a new employer. Talk about what you are looking to do in your next opportunity that will allow you to make a great impact. These points allow them to understand how you have obtained talents that can be better utilized in your next challenge. Plus, it directs attention away from anything adverse. The concentration placed during an interview should be on your skills and what you can bring to the table. It’s true – there is always a positive and that is what you hone in on. Period.
Keep in mind that an interview is a discussion that allows a potential employer to get to know you. That means 1) placing a lot of attention on your skillset so that they know you can do the job and 2) getting to know you a bit as a person. Someone who is positive, friendly, easy to talk to, and can hold an enjoyable conversation is the type of person that most employers look for in all kinds of different positions. These soft-skills cannot easily be taught so if you can show that you have them, even when asked about a maybe not so pleasant topic, this will put you a step above the rest.