You Can't Tell Them Your Boss Is A Jerk – Explaining Why You're Looking For A New Job

 iStockphoto.com |  AntonioGuillem

iStockphoto.com | AntonioGuillem

A common reason people look for new jobs is because they hate what they’re currently doing. It could be that the work is a grind, the boss is a jerk, and the pay is insufficient for the level of responsibility – or some combination of these factors.

If you’re in this situation, it’s understandable that you’re on the job market.

But here’s the problem. They don’t want to hear you say that your current work is a grind, the boss is a jerk, and the pay is insufficient.

When you’re in an interview with a potential employer, he or she is looking for a candidate who is upbeat, positive, and would add to the overall morale of the office. Negative talk about your current employer could knock you out of contention.

It’s not that your reasons for seeking new employment opportunities aren’t true – they are all probably quite valid. But appearing to “trash talk” can raise concerns to a recruiter or hiring manager, such as, “What is this candidate going to say about us when he discovers something he doesn’t like?”

The interview process is a dance, and answering the question “Why are you seeking new opportunities” is a step in this dance. And. like any dance, it’s best to approach it with finesse so that you don’t step on any toes in the process. Here’s how to prepare to answer this difficult question.

  1. Understand Your True Motivation For Changing Jobs. Every job comes with its own annoyances and frustrations; we tend to tolerate the negative aspects of the position because they’re often outweighed by the positives. Dig deep and ask yourself, “What is it about the position that’s truly making this job more trouble than it’s worth?” The rest is just noise.

  2. Identify The Aspects Of Your Current Job That You Have Enjoyed. Maybe you truly love your day-to-day core duties, or perhaps the company has given you great training opportunities, or they’ve exposed you to new career growth avenues.

  3. When Presenting Your Reason To A Potential Employer, Sandwich The Negative With The Positives. By starting and ending your explanation the the things you like about your current job, you provide valuable context and soften the negativity.

Here’s an example:(Positive) In my current role as a project manager, I absolutely love the scope of responsibility I have – I’m able to work on a variety of programs with some truly wonderful customers. (Negative) As the years have progressed, the company has gone through several reorganizations which have made the role more difficult. (Positive) I’m very grateful for the opportunity the company gave me – I’ve been promoted multiple times and I work with wonderful people, but when this role with your company was posted it seemed like a good fit for the next stage of my career.”


Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, and career coaching services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at scott.singer@insidercs.com, or via the website, www.insidercareerstrategies.com.