Why Do You Want to Leave and not Take the Bait!
Step 4 in the Cure for Career Insanity is probably the most important in your job search. It can be done in tandem with Step 3.
Framing Your Job Search for Maximum Effectiveness
What do you tell your next prospective employer when he asks why you want to leave your current position? If you tell him the job stinks and your boss is an ogre, he will say: “NEXT!”
How do you answer your prospective employer’s question of why you want to leave?
Does it come off as negative? It better not!
How are you going to answer this question?
When I left my last corporate position, I was pretty pissed. I was put in a highly unethical position, I watched management abuse employees both verbally and emotionally, and I was sick of the politics. I was worn out—both physically and emotionally.
It was over a year later and I was still somewhat pissed. It did not help that I had people calling me monthly with stories of what was continuing to go on. I was highly trusted by my former colleagues. What I knew not to do is to talk publicly about my displeasure. Except, when I took the bait.
Taking the Bait
I was at a networking event and someone asked me about my experience. I was very politically correct in all of my answers. This person kept probing and probing and probing. I finally bit. I spoke of my displeasure.
This was to someone with whom I had no business connection, he was not in a prospective customer, and I was not looking for a job. It was a rather safe error. On the other hand, I felt miserable the next day. Bringing all of the emotions back to the surface was uncomfortable, and I felt bad about having spilled the beans. That is what I have my wife and therapist for!
In an interview, this would have been deadly. Most of us have these feelings and emotions when we are looking for a new gig. You need to recognize when the bait is being set.
[pullquote]Our goal is to have a response that pivots the response from why you want to leave — to – where you want to go![/pullquote]
It is all about re-framing the question.
You might respond – I am happy in my current position (whether this is true or not) but I am looking for — what this new job can actually provide.
Let’s use Robert as an example. Robert is a Political Science lecturer at a major university in the Midwest. He had been an energy lobbyist until the 9/11 disaster and the Enron bankruptcy put him out of work. He went back to school to get his masters in Political Science and landed a lecturer position at the university where he attended. The problem is that the pay is very low, he has been teaching the same classes for many years, and his ego has taken a bruising.
Robert is the kind of guy who really likes a pat on the back from his bosses…which he does not get. He gets lots of love from his students, but not from anyone else.
The tedium of teaching the same classes has kind of gotten to him. His need for variety to keep himself motivated has become obvious.
He needs to make more money to support his wife and two kids. His position is not on a tenure track and, therefore, it is somewhat of a dead end job.
He wants a position as an energy lobbyist.
How could Robert respond when posed with the magic question on why he is leaving?
One possible response could be:
I really love my job and students, but what I really want is a position where I can get some recognition for my work, where I get to work on wide variety of topics, and where I can make enough money to support my family.
If the interviewer comes back and asks — Do you not get that from your current position?
Robert could respond
My salary is public record and you can look that up. I am focused on where I want to go, and your position seems to meet my criteria. Can I ask you about the variety of topics I would be working on at this position?
He pivoted the response to where he was going and when questioned he used it as a way to pose a question back.
Robert focused on what he wanted and did not to take the bait!
Why do you want to leave?
Does this sound interesting? Are you suffering from Career Insanity?
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