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What to Say in an Interview About Why You Want Another Job or Environment

by Rick Suttle

Some interview questions are designed to uncover the motive behind a job candidate's desire for a new position. One such question is "Why do you want another job?" If you are unprepared to answer this question, it can cost you the job. Prepare a plausible answer before your interview and rehearse it with a spouse or friend. Don't blame your impending departure on your boss or company, as you'll come across as a troublemaker or someone who's impossible to please, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Career Growth

Tell the interviewer that the open job offers more opportunity for career growth than your present job. Ideal job candidates are those who want to succeed and stay with the same companies throughout their careers, as their responsibilities grow. Interviewers gladly accept responses pertaining to career growth. Other plausible responses are that you are seeking new challenges that the new job offers or feel the job will make better use of your education and skills. If possible, indicate your desire to work in a specific industry, such as consumer products or retailing.

Higher Income

Indicate your desire for a higher salary, especially if you know the annual compensation for the job in advance. Enhance your response by saying you are willing to take on more responsibilities to earn a higher salary. This response is particularly effective if you work for a small company and are interviewing with a larger one. The hiring manager probably knows you make less, as larger companies typically have more revenue to support higher salaries. Use a salary increase as a reason for leaving a job if you are interviewing for a higher-level position. When using this response, don't mention your salary if the interviewer asks. Just say you have a particular range in mind and then ask what the salary range is for the position -- even if you already know it. Leave negotiations on salary for a later date if you are among the finalists for the job.

More Security

Greater job security is an appropriate reason for changing jobs, according to career expert Martin John Yates in his book, "Great Answers to Tough Interview Questions." For example, explain that you work for a small company that doesn't provide the comprehensive benefits that the new job offers. Stress your desire to work in a growth industry versus a declining industry in which you currently work. Use job security as a response to why you're leaving a company if you can provide a plausible reason for your departure.

Unexpected Events

Explain an unexpected event at your job that is prompting your departure. Your company may be relocating to a new city where you don't want to move. Perhaps you want to shorten your daily commute because you have small children. Both of these reasons are acceptable for leaving a job as long as you can explain your situation. Preface your comments by saying something positive about your employer. Say, "I really enjoy working for XYZ Corporation but my commute is two hours a day. I'd have a much shorter commute working for your company."

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