Internal Communication

Why Are You Looking For a Change?

This is probably one interview question that is often asked when an individual applies for a job. It gives you a lot of insights about the invididual’s mindset as much as it tells about how the person’s ability to manage life. The range of responses is interesting to listen to – from ‘broadening of portfolios’ to ‘using the job as a stepping stone to another assignment’; from ‘seeking newer skills’ to ‘willingness to work with better brands’.

 A Linkedin study shows that the true reason for most for changing jobs is career advancement and not much about the managers or other reasons that are often quoted.

However, it is how the individual plans to leave their job that needs to be observed. For example, I have met numerous candidates who shared a plethora of reasons for looking for a change. Most importantly, I have admired their honesty in stating how they feel about their current culture – be it toxic or stangnant and why they want be in a more welcoming environment. Also, that they are having a raw deal with their manager, the policies are stifling and they aren’t given the autonomy to do great work.

However, when I probe about what they are doing while they are there in the system, it gives you enough indication of their personal and professional moral compass and drive. Some have esclated the concerns and been the ‘whistleblower’ to improve the workplace – a move I appreciate. There is no point wallowing in your sorrows and not make an attempt to change your situation or make the culture better for people who follow after you. A few have resigned to their fate and have written off their organization! Yet, others are just wanting to drop everything and be gone.

While coming for the interview, I have noticed that some continue to wear their current organization’s badges with pride – be it a t-shirt displaying the logo or indicating they are on the way to an official event and have taken a detour to do an interview. How does that make the interviewer feel?

However, most stumble when they demonstrate very little about the effort taken to improve their own learning and development and become ready to join the next workplace. Be it gathering enough insights about the culture, the expectations from the role, gaining views from alumni, seeking inputs from the hiring team or wanting to spend time to learn about the ways of working. That reluctance coupled with an attitude which expressees their inability to give back in their roles makes such candidates unsuitable.

Once when I probed a candidate who stated ‘learning curve’ as the reason for looking for a change on what she meant by that phrase. The response was far from convincing! The person begun talking of stagnation, not able to get opportunities, her organization’s inability to give her the next promotion – everything but learning! With such ambiguity in her mind, would the individual be able to communicate her needs in the next role?

My guess is as good as yours.

What do you think? What questions can help you understand more about an individual’s true motivators? Do share them here – I am keen to learn more.


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