While interviewing, your primary goal should be to impress the hiring manager and prove why you, above all other candidates, are the right person for the job. This includes a combination of your skillset, past experiences, and personality to drive how you are going to be successful in the role.
As you are preparing your interview answers, it’s equally important to know the things you shouldn’t say—things the hiring manager will consider a red flag. This can be especially difficult when asked about your previous position, and why you’re deciding to leave that role behind.
“Tell me about your current role and why you’re looking to move on.”
It’s an unavoidable interview question that the hiring manager will ask to get a base understanding of your background and personal motivations. It seems simple but can easily trip you up if you haven’t prepared properly. When answering this question, avoid these 3 common mistakes:
If you are leaving a current company/role, it’s likely you’re looking for a change or have identified improvement areas that have pushed you to look elsewhere. While it’s certainly okay to discuss frustrations with friends and family, it’s important not to let dissatisfactions shine through in your interview. Regardless of your intentions, complaining tends to come off as unprofessional.
Explain how your current company/situation isn’t supporting your career goals. Keep the conversation focused on how you are looking to grow, and what that can do for this new company/role.
It can be tempting, especially if you are in a complex industry, to use a lot of industry jargon to make yourself sound intelligent. But excessive use of jargon can come off like you are compensating for a lack of knowledge and will frustrate the interviewer, or worse, leave them feeling like they don’t understand your skills.
Be aware of your audience and make good judgement calls. In certain contexts, it might make sense to use more jargon, but it’s your job to gauge if the interviewer will know it and will appreciate it. You want to be on the same page as your interviewer, instead of using a lot of jargon try asking thoughtful questions that demonstrate your knowledge.
Don’t Undervalue Your Contributions
When you’re planning to leave one company, and may have a salty taste in your mouth, it can be easy to forget the importance of what you’ve accomplished there. It’s important to not let this affect your interview and remember to represent your past contributions in the best light possible.
Avoid glossing over past experiences and speak with humility about your accomplishments. Review your full resume and pull out the experiences your interviewer might appreciate a deeper dive into. Select the most relevant examples of how you can add value to this new company and fit in culturally with the rest of the team.