The Biggest Interview Turn-Off Is Dwelling On Your Last Job

The Biggest Interview Turn-Off Is Dwelling On Your Last Job

A recruiter will invariably ask you “Why did you leave your last job?” or “Why are you looking for a new job?” when they interview you. Prepare a short and sweet answer, and stick to it. Over-explaining your previous employment is a major turn-off.

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College Atlas surveyed over 2000 hiring managers for the do's and don'ts of a job interview. Among the 10 most common mistakes, the top two were:

  • Over-explaining why you lost your last job
  • Conveying that you're not over losing your last job

It's common sense that you shouldn't speak negatively about your previous company. But apart from that, don't dwell on that past. Avoid anything that makes you come across as someone with a chip on their shoulder, or too mired in the culture of the place you left.

If you've been let go, it's hard not to take it personally. If you're asked about it, avoid talking trash and prepare an answer that highlights your skills. Take responsibility, avoid assigning blame to anyone, and refocus the answer on what you learned from the situation.

College Atlas rounded up the learnings from its survey in a neat infographic which you can check out at the link below, which has several other interview tips.

34 Crucial Job Interview Tips [College Atlas via MakeUseOf]


  • So over all these job interview tips on what not to do. I wish there was a one definitive article with a list of Do’s and Dont Do’s.

  • “Why did you leave?” is such a loaded question. Thing is, a skilled/douchebag recruiter can find something negative about pretty much anything an interviewer says, if they really want to.

    “They were terrible to work for.”
    “Oh? Will you badmouth us to your next employer, too? Was it really them, or you? Are you a trouble-maker, not a team player?”

    “There was no work-life balance.”
    “So you’re saying you’re not a team player, don’t like working standard hours and have to be ‘special’, or you’re inflexible, or you don’t want to put in effort above and beyond? You can’t be relied on in a pinch, or will expect work to adapt to the needs of your kids?”

    “There was no career growth for me.”
    “So you’re not impressive enough to be promoted? Are you unmotivated, uncompetitive, or prone to personality conflicts with management?”

    “This job pays better.”
    “So you’ll jump ship here as soon as a better offer comes along? What does loyalty to mean to you?”

    “I’ve always wanted to work for this company.”
    “So you’re a brown-noser – why don’t you place any value on sincerity? Why haven’t you applied to this company before? You’re slow to realize your dreams? Can we count on you to bring that timidity and lack of ambition to this role?”

    “I felt it was time for a change.”
    “So we won’t be able to rely on you to follow the routine we need filled? Or you’re prone to following whims and thus unreliable?”

    “This seemed like a great opportunity to pursue a new direction/grow my career.”
    “So you weren’t able to get that role in your old workplace, and have no experience in the role you want; did they not trust you with it or think you had what it took? We want to hire you for this position, not a position higher than this one, why should we pick you if you want to advance out of this role?”

    More often that not, though, they’ll keep that stuff to themselves unless you give some of the more alarming responses at the top of that list.

    Something that seemed to work for me:

    “I applied to fill a role and did so for many years. The company changed their direction for that role a few times over the years, which I was happy to adapt to and support, but the last change in direction was finally too different from what I signed on for that I realized it was no longer my preferred job.”
    “Oh? What was that?”
    “They implemented a sales program in tech support, asking service specialists in non-customer-facing positions to meet sales targets.”

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