The Reasons for Leaving if Still Employed

Interview questions are pointed and meant to illicit responses that reveal your true self.

Many people believe if you have a job in a tough economy, that you should stick with it no matter what your dissatisfaction may be. Others feel that life is too short to work at a job you don't love. If you're on a job interview and are still employed at your current job, a question that often comes up is "Why are you leaving?" The right answer prepared and rehearsed will help you place a positive spin on a tricky question.

1 Favorable Reasons

Employers appreciate workers who thrive on new opportunities and challenges. Tell the interviewer that you have outgrown your responsibilities and are seeking more challenging work. If you feel stuck at a stagnate job that offers no opportunity for personal growth, be honest and express this sentiment. If you want to move up to a management level but are unable to in your current position, offer this as your motivation. Relocation to a new city is also a favorable response; if you move, you need to find employment. If a company restructures and is eliminating your position, this is not your fault, and is fine to give as a reason. If you are leaving your job because you are underpaid or need to make more money, employers won't fault a worker for seeking fair compensation. This is an acceptable response.

2 Unfavorable Reasons

Don't give excuses why you can not perform your current duties, such as lack of child care, problems with your car or difficulty handling the hours. Don't tell the interviewer you hate the work. If the job interferes with your social life or cuts into the hours for your favorite hobbies, keep this excuse to yourself. It places nothing but a negative connotation on your personal work habits.

3 Traps

Stay positive about your current working conditions. Never bad mouth or speak of your current employer in a bad light. Don't speak negatively about your co-workers, clients, boss , or customers. Avoid using words such as "personal conflict," "personality clash" or excuses that will cast a dark shadow on your personal integrity, maturity or temperament. Using negative words will make you look vindictive and not a team player. Even if it's hard to do, smile and express the positive things you have enjoyed about your current position and employer.

4 Considerations

It's possible you are interviewing with a potential employer and are not yet fully committed to leaving your current job. If so, don't be afraid to bring that up in the interview. It's perfectly acceptable to field your offers and see what's available to you. Because you are currently employed, you are in a better position than someone who is not. Don't lead the interviewer on or be coy or evasive. Speak truthfully about what you hope to find in a new job. Make your position even stronger by knowing as much as you can about the company you are interviewing with and how it is a great match for your skills and abilities.

Elle Smith has been an advertising professional for more than 25 years. Her work for ABC, CBS and Sony Pictures Television has appeared on radio, on air, in print and outdoors. In addition, Smith has more than 20 years experience in marketing, graphic arts, commercial photography and print production, and is a licensed real estate agent with property management certification in California.