In this video tutorial, watch an example of how two people answered the common interview question why did you leave your previous company. Valerie Sutton, director Career Services at Harvard Graduate School of Education, analyzes their answers and offers tips on how to best address this interview question and ways to improve.
- Let's examine some examples of job candidates answering the question why did you leave your previous company? Sound reasoning is key to answering this question. Be sure to focus on what you are seeking in the new role that might have been lacking in the past. The first candidate, Tom, is interviewing for an entry-level position as a UX designer. - Why'd you leave your last company? - The last company I worked for, they were great, my direct supervisor was brilliant at user design, but I wanted something to show off my skills in the role that I could play in the company and so that would be able to show off my Illustrator skills and the design skills that I learned and so that's why I'm so interested in your company.
- Great. - Tom focuses on the company doing great things and that his previous supervisor was talented. He tackles the difficult situation by discussing his needs in seeking a new position. Now let's take a look at how Donna, a more senior candidate, answers this question for training and development position. - Donna, tell me why you left your last company. - There was a phased reduction in our company, a total of 300 workers, and we were a small human resource office so my focus moved from training and development to managing the layoff process.
That is why I'm particularly excited about this position because it focuses on my area of expertise, which is training and development, and I'll be able to use those skills geared toward the professional development of your staff. - Great. - Donna takes a difficult situation head on when she answers this question. At the same time, she refocuses the discussion to her expertise and how it will contribute to a new role.
- Tell me about your strengths
- Tell me about your weaknesses
- Why are you interested in our company?
- Why did you leave your previous company?
- Tell me how you handled a difficult situation
- What questions do you have?