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What Do I Say in a Job Interview About Leaving a Job Because of Management Issues?

by Ellie Williams

During interviews, employers invariably ask why you left your last job to assess everything from your loyalty, to your ability to build and maintain positive workplace relationships. If you exited because of disputes, poor relationships or other issues with management, you’ll make a better impression if you avoid criticizing your former employer and instead focus on what you hope to gain by taking on a new position.

Be Upbeat and Discreet

You should never let your interviewer hear you criticize your past supervisor or your past company's management, according to a Money.USNews.com article. Keep in mind that if you do this, what you're doing is raising questions in the interviewer's mind. For example, he might wonder what the other side of the story is or if your expectations concerning your manager are unreasonable. Regardless of how poorly you were treated in your last job or how toxic the workplace environment was, you don't want to bring it up during your interview. Employers want to see that you know how to handle yourself during a business conversation and openly being critical of the management in your last company isn't appropriate. Gloss over the management problems the best you can, offering a vague answer that focuses more on what you desire in a position and why you’re excited about the job for which you’re interviewing.

Don’t Blame or Criticize

Concentrate on your career goals instead of on your disappointment with your previous employer. Rather than detailing what your last boss or department did wrong, focus on why the situation didn't match your vision for your career. For example, don’t say that management didn’t recognize your talent and refused to promote you. Instead, explain that you’re ready to step up to a job with greater responsibility. By taking ownership of the situation, you avoid making your last company look bad or inadvertently portraying yourself as bitter or resentful.

Demonstrate Enthusiasm for the Future

Rather than dwelling on why you left your last position, focus on how you’ll benefit from making a job change. For example, instead of describing your last boss as a micromanager or saying the corporate culture was oppressive, say you’re excited about working in a more team-oriented environment. Instead of saying members of corporate leadership at your previous job were incompetent, point out that you’ve heard great things about the management team at the company where you’re interviewing. Emphasize that you’re eager to learn from their expertise.

Focus on the New Job

If you haven't left your last position yet, but seem too eager to jump ship, employers might worry you’ll do the same to them if you’re dissatisfied. Portray your job change as an opportunity for growth instead of a desperate attempt to flee a bad situation. Devote no more than a sentence or two to your last job, and then quickly shift the conversation toward why you want the job for which you’re interviewing. For example, say, “I didn’t feel my last job took full advantage of my knowledge and skills, which is why I’m so excited about this position. I know that here I’ll have the opportunity to make the most of my talent and experience.”

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