Woman looking down, illustrating article about why are you leaving your current job?

If you’re in the market for new employees, you probably already know how important the interview process is. But you may be unsure exactly what types of responses you are looking to hear. A lot of this will depend on the specific position you are hiring, your company culture, and how much training and experience you want candidates to have. But some responses are automatic red flags. You might want to think twice about a prospective employee who gives one of these answers to the question, “Why are you leaving your current job?”  

Scheduling Issues 

Everyone has their own biological rhythms and commitments outside of work.  It’s perfectly normal for job seekers to look for a position that matches their preferred hours. But if the open position requires rotating shifts, overtime, or other scheduling irregularities, and the candidate’s primary reason for seeking new work is a scheduling concern, then it may not be the right fit. Follow up to determine whether the availability you need matches the candidate’s desires.  

Conflict 

People have differing personalities, and not everyone will click. In addition, some workplaces are genuinely toxic, and employees have strong reasons for wanting to leave. However, it’s not professional for a job seeker to badmouth their current workplace during an interview. It’s possible that their current boss is a jerk and their coworkers are impossible, but it’s also possible that the candidate is a drama queen (or king). Note that statements like, “I want to move in a different direction” or “the company wasn’t the right fit” are generally not red flags, but rather a sign of a responsible employee wanting to move forward. But if the language is confrontational or dismissive in nature, it could spell trouble.  

Boredom 

Once again, context and language matter. Every job has its boring aspects, and someone who quits when he or she gets bored isn’t likely to stay long in any position. But there is such a thing as a dead-end job, and no one should be expected to remain in one for too long. Statements such as, “I learned everything I could in that position” or “I’m ready for new challenges” tend to signify a motivated and engaged employee, but a simple statement that the employee got bored could be a red flag.  

People get nervous in interviews, so it’s best not to place too much importance on any single statement. If the candidate expresses any of the above reasons for leaving, take it as a sign that you should ask follow-up questions. With a bit of clarification, you can determine whether the statement is a reason to think twice about hiring the interviewee.  

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