3 Pieces of Advice on How to Answer 'Why Are You Looking for a New Job?'

3 Pieces of Advice on How to Answer 'Why Are You Looking for a New Job?'

During an interview, you get asked all sorts of questions. Some you're confident in answering, whereas others you don't know which approach to take. Before any interview, it's best to prepare yourself ahead of time. Knowing how to respond will set you up for success instead of the other way around.

At some point, an interviewer may ask the question, "Why are you looking for a new job?" The first thing that may come to mind is something like, "I haven't gotten a raise in three years, and I'm tired of it!" But being blunt during an interview isn't going to cast you (or your past employer) in a good light.

When encountering this question, be prepared so you'll pass it with flying colors. Here are three pieces of advice (plus a bonus tip!) that'll guide you on how to best respond to this question.

1. Arrive Prepared

Before any interview, your number one priority should be to arrive prepared. If you don't, you may not perform to your full potential. You may think that you're ready, and it's good to believe in yourself. Still, brush up on your interviewing skills so you'll impress your interviewers.

Besides rehearsing your answer to "why are you looking for a new job," there are other ways to get ready in advance.

Here are a few ways to prepare for your interview:

  • Rehearse answers to common questions (such as "why are you looking for a job").
  • Wear professional and appropriate clothing to the interview.
  • Arrive on time (or early if possible).
  • Know where to find the place where you're getting interviewed.

It's also wise to look over your existing employment contract. Check and see if you’ve signed off on any terms that could interfere with your job search.

For example, with physicians, restrictive covenants are a common part of employment contracts. Read over the agreement before going full steam ahead with your job hunt. That way, if you get the job offer, you can accept without any hesitation!

2. Take a Positive Approach

Circling back around to answering, "why are you looking for a job," don't cast yourself or your employer in a bad light. Luckily, there are ways to stay positive. Knowing how you'll answer back will allow you to put your best foot forward when asked the question.

Here are some acceptable answers that will work in your favor:

  • I want to take on more responsibility and be in a leadership-type role.
  • I'm relocating and am looking for a job that compliments my skillset.
  • I'm looking for a position that'll help me improve my work/life balance.
  • I want a shorter commute to work and a job that aligns with my career goals.
  • I expanded my education and am making a career change.
  • I desire to gain new skills and use my current skill set more.

3. Keep it Short and Sweet

Are you the type of person who over-explains everything? Then you should practice making your response short and sweet. Going into too much detail can backfire. That's precisely why it'll be helpful to rehearse your answer ahead of time.

Here’s how you should practice:

To keep things professional and to the point, first, cover the question. Then, use the end of your reply to transition into talking about your skills. For example, you could say: "I enjoyed my job but wanted to be more challenged. I feel that this job opportunity could help me grow and expand my skill set."

The more emphasis you place on how you're a good fit for the job, the better. Don't spend too much time reflecting on your past position, even if it's unavoidable to answer the question.

Bonus: Don't Make it Personal

I'd like to take the time to explain another reason why having a short response is helpful. If your answer is short, you're less likely to make it personal.

Again, the last thing you want to do is say negative things about your past boss. Or, you find yourself going into how you're frustrated you didn't get a raise. Instead, take the higher road and focus on the here and now.

Employers don't want to hear about your past work woes. It's not going to make you sound appealing if you sit there during the interview and complain about your job.

Companies want someone willing to leave the past behind them and bring value to their company. And they are looking for someone who can explain why they are the person they should choose for the job.

While answering this question and others, always bring it back to how you can improve their company. Provide examples about your experience and skills to drive your message home.

Make a point to stand out and there will be no question that you're the right person for the job.


Finding a new job gives you the chance to start fresh and do something you enjoy. Don't lose sight of what your goal is - to shine brightly and work for a company that's a good fit for you.

When being asked the question, "Why are you looking for a new job?", don't stop and stumble on your words. Be confident in your reply. You’ll know what to say and will no doubt get your dream job!