Why Did You Leave Your Previous Position?

John Scott
Posted by

During a job interview, it's common for the potential employer to ask about your reasons for leaving your previous job. For applicants, it's a challenge to come up with a truthful answer without being overwhelmingly negative. In the customer service field, honestly and tact are key, and by bringing both traits into play when answering difficult interview questions, you can demonstrate your ability to handle tough situations with grace. By following common-sense interview tips about honest answers, you may gain the edge on other candidates for the job.

As companies find new and exciting ways to serve customers, many customer service professionals are seeking out more exciting job opportunities. Regardless of the circumstances, the way you explain your departure in a job interview can have a significant impact on the way you're perceived. One of the most important interview tips you can follow is to prepare an answer that will communicates to the employer how you will benefit the company.

By asking you why you left a previous position during a job interview, employers are searching for information about your motivations. The tone of your answer can speak volumes. A negative answer—low pay, unpleasant working environment, lack of challenges, or an incompetent boss—can communicate to the potential employer that you are likely to leave when the going gets tough. Because customer service can be a challenging and emotionally taxing industry, employers may be reticent to hire a person who is likely to leave without warning.

Instead, it's more effective to frame your answer in a positive light during a job interview. If you left your last job because you were bored and unchallenged, focus on your accomplishments. List the programs you implemented, customer service goals you met, and ideas you generated, and mention that you're ready for a new challenge. This lets a prospective employer know you're committed to getting results and building a strong, effective customer service department.

If your job change was necessitated by a negative experience with a boss, co-worker, or customer, it's crucial to find the line between honesty and maligning your old company during a job interview. Customer service professionals are particularly sensitive to the ways a negative comment can affect the reputation of a brand or person, so it's important to reassure your potential employer that you can be truthful without casting aspersions. Instead of speaking about the negative aspects of the old company, focus on the positive aspects of the new one: the collaborative working environment, the supportive management staff, or the potential for internal promotion.

By framing your reasons for leaving a job in a positive, constructive light, you can stand out from other candidates at a job interview. A thoughtful, prepared answer shows an employer that you're a dedicated and positive employee who will bring the same traits to everyday customer service tasks.

(photo courtesy of Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net) 


Become a member to take advantage of more features, like commenting and voting.

  • Marc B
    Marc B
    Examples and answers would have made this article even stronger.
  • Michelle H
    Michelle H
    Good information but what if you were terminated, how do you answer that without sabotaging yourself.
  • Bonnie B
    Bonnie B
    What if someone is nearing retirement age...and the company, that they work for, is down-sizing, with the results of laying off, people,  how does one answer the question of "wanting a more exciting career?   The (new) employer most surely must feel that the person isn't going to stay all that long.
  • Kathy F
    Kathy F
    Well, I left my last job because I was not treated right at the one store, I was shoved around 3 different stores a week. I did not like that at all. I like working at one store only. The one store I worked at I felt like a slave, because I couldn't get the help I needed for getting those totes off the floor when I had a lot to get off myself. The manager didn't treat me right. She pushed me around like a basketball. They said I was rude to the customers, well if I was , I didn't mean to be because I try to be nice to people when they enter into the store. I don't believe in being rude to customers because it looks to bad on the companies part. I enjoy helping, and talking to customers for their needs.But that's why I left. I did not like the way I was treated.
  • Rachel F
    Rachel F
    I find this article very helpful because this is a question that I have been asked on an interview. You definitely do not want to be unprepared.
  • Octavia C
    Octavia C
    I think that this is so true. If you were terminated from a job and are about to be interviewed for a new position, it's wise to never answer with a negative answer. That negative answer will speak volumes about you as a person and as a professional.

Jobs to Watch