Interview Questions: Why did you leave your former employer?


Today I have decided to answer one of my fan mail from facebook in this post; one of my fans wrote,

Hi Sarah I enjoy reading your blog, it gives me a reality check each time i read it.

I graduated last year in November and I have been working for an entire year and I have no savings.

I guess I am part of the working poor. In just one year I have been through everything you have written about.


I held a job for six months, no appointment letter, no contract, my boss made so many promises that they did not keep.

There was so much disrespect and un appreciation at my former work place. I made the decision to leave.

I am now looking for a new job and several opportunities have come my way. All my prospective employers keep asking me why I left my old job.

I don’t want to come out and say that I had no contract, no appointment letter, unmet expectations, unappreciative boss etc.

I do not want to bite the hand that used to feed me because I did learn a lot at my old job.

How do I handle this professionally? your advice will be very appreciated

….and then they asked me…why did you leave your former employer?…..


This is quite tricky but I am just going to be honest here, sometimes you’ll clearly have no proper answer to this question because at one point you might have just got bored with your job and just quit.

In another case it might have been a very bad ending packed with animosity because your former employer refused to honor his/her promises, sometimes you might have been fired and it embarrasses you to tell the panel about it.

But how do you then deal with the panel of interviewers waiting for you to answer this question?

I would say be honest with yourself before you go for any interview that is when you’ll be able to be honest with others.

Ask yourself a few questions, why do you really think you got bored with your job and quit?

What do you really think got you fired? What was the source of your dissatisfaction? Once you have those questions answered, come up with a list of what you really want to get from your career.

Then seek out organizations that are going to help you get it. That is how you’ll boldly be able to answer this questions without looking like a troublesome employee.

Below are some answers I came up with that can partly answer this question.


If you have been working for a company or organization that didn’t give you an appointment letter this is the way you can answer this question:

I loved working with my former employer but the position I occupied was part time (because that is the fact) and am currently looking for a company that is willing to give me a permanent position, since I am growing up, I would like to settle down at a job where I’ll have chances to gain more experience in my career.

This answer will immediately tell your interviewer you are not looking for anything short of a permanent job with a contract and the benefits that come with it.

Without giving them all the gory details of your bad experience.


In case you got fired by your former employer how do you honestly answer this question:

I would say tell your prospective employer the truth, don’t lie because the work force is like high school.

Don’t you still remember how the gory details of a new student who moved to your school were whispered around by a certain bird.

Yeah your right!!! even in the work force that bird hasn’t yet been killed. I encourage you to lay it out, there is nothing more attractive to people like an honest person.

Your employer will immediately realize you can be trusted and that alone will set you apart from the crowd as the interviewers will have something to describe you with while on the selection panel ( the girl or boy who got fired).

Please don’t forget to tell them the lessons you learned from your recklessness or whatever it is that got you fired. That is also an added bonus.


In case you got bored and quit, how do you answer this question:

This scenario is the hardest of them all but to be able to answer this one, you will have to mince some truth by saying you left becauseĀ  you were in a process of self discovery.

You had no idea which facet of your career you enjoyed most but after trying your hand at different facets you believe you have found what you enjoy doing and it is in the job your interviewing for.

Make sure you do not use phrases that will make your interviewers doubt you if you are in this category.

Lastly I will say, don’t do interviews for jobs you won’t love, in the end you’ll just frustrate yourself .

Let me hope IĀ  have been of help.





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