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INTERVIEWS: How to Answer the Interview Question: “Why did you leave your last position?”

Written by Jacqui Mills, Employment Specialist with Next-Steps Employment Centre – Don Mills

An employer may inquire about your reasons for leaving your last position. No matter the real reason for why you left, always answer this question honestly and concisely, and avoid any negativity.  Rather than only discussing your last position, spend time to emphasize that you are looking forward to this new opportunity to demonstrate your skills and experience.

Here are a few ways you could answer this question:

  • I am looking for a new challenge where I can apply my skills and previous experience to a new industry/ new demographic/ gain new skills.
  • I resigned from my last position as the jobs were being outsourced.
  • My last position ended a few months ago. While I learned a lot from that experience, I am now looking forward to applying my experience in a new industry where I can continue to be challenged.
  • After being in the position for several years, they changed the qualification requirements and I did not have the updated certification required.
  • The new manager came in and wanted a new team, most of whom came from his previous company. I took the package that they offered.
  • There was a massive lay-off in the department, I had the opportunity to apply to other positions within the company, however I wanted a change.
  • I left my last position in order to spend more time with an ill family member, circumstances have changed and I am ready for full time employment with no outside distractions.
  • I had to take some time off due medical reasons, I was given a clean bill of health from my medial team and I am 100% ready for full time work again.
  • The company was downsizing and I took advantage of an early retirement package. I took some time to travel and now I am ready for a new challenge.
  • I was not considering a change until my mentor recommended this position to me. It sounded like an amazing opportunity and an excellent match for my qualification and skills.
  • I was commuting and spending hours in traffic. I would prefer to be closer to home.
  • I have been volunteering for the past 3 years and really enjoy it; however I would like to apply my skills in a full-time, paid position where I can grow in the role.


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