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How to keep focus forward, not backward, in job interview

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in Your Office Coach

Question: “I am sick of the job I’ve had for the past seven years. I’m planning to apply to other companies, but I’m not sure how to answer the question ‘Why do you want to leave your current position?’ I can’t say, ‘Because I hate my job.’ So how do I get around that?”  —Puzzled Job Seeker

Answer:  When explaining your desire to change jobs, you want to focus forward, not backward. That means describing the attractions of the new position, not your problems with the old one. Any complaints about your current employer may make you sound like a whiner.  

Before each interview, thoroughly research the company and list everything that appeals to you. Then, when asked about your motivation, outline all the reasons you would like to work there.

If an interviewer continues to probe for feelings about your current job, simply state that after seven years, you’re interested in new opportunities and challenges. These days, no one expects you to join a company for life.  

Applicants should always remember that honesty does not require complete disclosure of all their thoughts and feelings. There can be many truthful answers to the same question.

For Office Coach suggestions on managing the interview process, see Job Search: Interviewing Skills.

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