Why do you want to leave your current job?

  • Post published:16/06/2016
  • Reading time:4 mins read

It’s one of these questions an inexperienced hiring manager or over-smart recruiter may ask you next time you attend a job interview. Hat’s off to you and my respect, if you have the guts to answer: “To be honest, I am not sure I want to leave”.

If you are a candidate who was nurtured and convinced by an executive search firm or a recruitment company to consider an opening with one of their clients, if you agreed to an appointment with their client to explore a new job opportunity, you definitely have the right to say that you are not sure if you want to leave your current employer. If you are an interviewer, read on to learn what you really should ask instead.

What if the interviewer asks you: “How did the recruitment company find you?”

It’s important you never reveal posting your resume on a job board website or sending your resume to a recruitment company. If you tell the HR Manager or hiring manager this, most will often label you as an aggressive job seeker. It is to your advantage to come out of an interview leaving the impression that you are a passive or semi-passive candidate. Not an actively aggressive applicant and job hunter.

You want to create the perception that you are someone that will interview if, and only if, the job and package presented are just right (which is most likely the truth anyway). If you are asked about where the recruiter found you, it is important to only say: “They called me. We discussed the job and once I was convinced it was worth my time, we got the ball rolling. And here I am.” Never reveal anything more than that.

I am not telling you to say anything untrue. Every resume posting or job ad leads to a telephone call or an email. You are simply referring to that call or mail and not going beyond that.

Another question is: “Where do you see yourself in five years?” It’s almost as stupid as asking what are your strengths and weaknesses, will you keep sober at the New Year party or what leadership skills are needed to cook a chicken. Don’t get me going.

I have to admit, more than 10 years ago it was one of my standard questions. But it didn’t last very long because 99% of the Thai candidates told me that they will be business owners or run their own café, mini mart, restaurant or whatever. I still can’t get my head around why someone would not say: “I will be working for your client, probably already promoted at least once because of my good performance”. I mean, is it only me that believes a hiring company would hesitate to invest in someone who at any time soon will resign and start their own business? Oh well!

So instead of asking why a candidate wants to leave his or her current job, the question should be why the candidate turned up today, what was it that triggered the interest in the new job opportunity and company. If you got the candidate through an executive search firm, a recruitment company, or your own HR department, you can ask:

182_microphone_black“When our recruitment partner called you, what did they tell you that got you thinking about this new job opportunity? What attracted you in particular in what you heard about our company and this job?”

PS You are welcome to leave a comment below!

Tom Sorensen

Tom Sorensen is an executive search veteran with over 25 years of experience recruiting in Asia, Europe, and Africa. He has worked in executive search in Thailand since 2003 and is recognized as one of the country’s top recruiters and most profiled headhunters.