Welcome to the Friday Forum!
Every Friday, we take a question submitted by one of our users and have our professionals field it and provide advice. We then encourage members of the Need a New Gig community to comment below and give their take!
Here is This Week’s Question:
“About six months ago my organization went through a restructuring and there have been a number of changes. I used to love my old boss, but they have shifted him to a new area in the company. Now I report to a new supervisor who has a very different management style. He is very tough to work for, and we struggle to get along. In all honesty, that is the main reason I am looking for a new opportunity. I have been applying for positions and I have an interview coming up this week. Can I tell them that I am looking because of my current boss?”
It is important to remember that interviewers ask questions for many reasons. The majority of the time, they are trying to find out about your experience, and if you are capable of doing the job at hand. At they same time, they are also trying to screen out potential problem candidates. Even if you are not the problem, when it comes to your boss, you have to tread lightly. Any mention of conflict between you and a former/current boss may raise a red flag that you could be trouble.. Even if you aren’t!
So what can you do if you are asked “Why are you looking to leave your current position?”
Say What You Are Looking For
Most of the time when people look for a new job, they are ultimately looking for a change. Even if your bad boss is the main driver of your search, I am guessing that you may also be looking for other things in a new position. This could be everything from more responsibility, better location, flexibility, compensation, etc.
It is important to wrack your brain and think about these things, so you can use them as your reason for looking.
“I am looking for an opportunity that provides a better career path. My current boss took his position about 6 months ago, so there is really no upward mobility – unless he decides to leave. I love the work that I am doing, but I am looking to join an organization that may provide better future growth potential.”
Talk About the Positives
Another good way to spin this question is to focus on the positives. Even if you don’t get along with your boss, try and find the silver lining and think about the experience that you have gained.
“I am looking for a new opportunity because I want to continue to increase my knowledge of International Taxes. My current boss is big on challenging employees in order for them to grow and reach their full potential. I am really grateful because this has helped me learn more about global organizations, and round out my skillset. I feel that this experience will carry over nicely in this role.”
Turn Negatives Into Positives
If you are searching for a new job, it is easy to focus on the negatives as reasons you are looking. The problem is that employers don’t want to hear about the negatives of your past positions. They want to hear about what you bring to the table and how you can be a positive impact to their organization. Use this as an opportunity to showcase how you made the best out of a negative situation.
“I am looking for a new opportunity because I feel that I have gained some great experience in my career, and I am ready to take that next step. My current position is demanding and requires lots of hours and heavy travel, but it has taught me solid time management skills, and I have gained some knowledge that will be beneficial in my next role.”
Don’t Provide Too Much Information
Sometimes less is more, and it is also important to be prepared. You should have your answer in mind and ready to go. Remember that this is only one question in the interview process so if you handle it correctly, it should not be an issue.
Try to keep your answer concise and to the point. I recommend using one of the tips above if you are still unsure on how to answer. If you do not give a clear response, one of two things may happen. First off, you might end up bringing up your bad boss which probably won’t end well. Second, you may dig yourself into a hole trying to explain yourself, which could raise concerns.
At the end of the day, be sure to stay positive and remember that you are looking for an opportunity to better your current situation. It isn’t a necessity to disclose that you and your boss don’t see eye to eye. As long as you are prepared and you keep your focus on the new opportunity, you should be fine. As I mentioned earlier, this is only one of many questions that will be asked, so don’t overthink it! Spend your time preparing for your interview as a whole and you will be fine!
Dan Metz is the Director of Executive Search and Employee Development at the Resilience Group, LLC, and Co-Founder and Contributing Author for Need a New Gig. Follow his blog for more great tips like this!