HR help -- How To Word It Properly Without Sounding Negative...

I know the cardinal rule of interviews is to never bad mouth your previous employer or boss. It’s a good rule and I understand why it should be adhered to.

In my current job, I feel that I’ve about reached as far as I can go. I don’t really see any opportunity to advance and, in reality, the division I’m working in may be axed altogether as it’s not a part of the core business that the firm is engaged in.

My question is, how would I word that to an interviewer in a way that doesn’t sound like I’m being negative about my current job? Or will most HR types be understanding of the situation and not view it as “negative” if I word it as I did above?


Zev Steinhardt

No, they won’t understand, because they don’t care about your past job, just your applicable skills.
I’ve hired lots of people, and when they want to explain their prior job and why they want out my eyes glaze over and I try to redirect them to the question at hand: What can you do for me here?

Well, this is sort of reversed as it is a job recommendation letter but it might give you some ideas. :wink:

(Always liked this classic)

If asked why you are looking to leave your current job, you can just say that you’re looking for new opportunities for professional growth. Immediately followed by something specific about why the job at this company is such an opportunity, segueing into how all this fabulous experience and knowledge you have can be put to use right away.

A good company will understand that sometimes you just run out of options in a position, and that wanting to learn and grow is a good thing. That’s not “talking negatively about your current job.” Only nimrods would see it that way, or be afraid that you want a position that will give you something back. If they do, then you really don’t want to work for them.

  1. What DangerGnu! Part danger,all gnu said largely applies i.e. ‘what can you do for your new employer?’

  2. If you do want to say something about the past, use your explanation in your OP:

‘I didn’t really see any opportunity to advance because the division I’m working in is not part of the firm’s core business’

In every interview I’ve ever had, they *asked *why I wanted to leave my current job, and a few asked why I had left prior positions as well. I assume they wanted to know that if they hired me, I wouldn’t be likely to just leave on a whim.

This sounds like a perfectly legitimate reason, but I’d make it sound more positive, and if possible, make it about what you can do for them there, as DangerGnu! says. For example:

“I’ve accomplished a lot in my current job, and I’d like the chance to develop my skills and experience further, ideally at a firm where [insert your industry here] is part of the core business.”

Gosh, that’s not even negative! Negative is you hate your boss or they hate you or something really horrible happened. This is neutral or even positive, in that you know you have potential that isn’t being used. That’s easy to spin into what folks have said – I learned and contributed x, y, z (useful to the new job) and look to learn more and contribute in a new way. If they even ask the question of why you are leaving your old job, answer it as why are you looking for something new, switching it into what you have to offer.