I've been with my current company for a little over half a decade now. We were acquired by a larger company, and we've gone through most of the headache of the overhaul of IT, human resources, payroll, etc. We're a mostly Linux-centric business (in our particular office, and a few others), but the new parent company's IT department has imposed a mandate: Only Windows machines anywhere in the company.

This means that we'll gradually have to move everything that uses Linux into a virtual machine or container (servers, employee laptops, etc). We've already tested this out for several of our use cases, and the loss in performance is massive. My team and I have voiced our concerns, but we are effectively being stonewalled with "make it work in Windows"). This has caused us to already miss two deadlines when we've never missed a single one in the past five years, and I'm basically being reprimanded for this setback.

I think at this point it's time to start looking for new work, as my team and I can't get our jobs done efficiently with the virtual machine software crashing routinely, the huge performance reduction, etc. What is a good thing to tell interviewers when asking why I left? I'm trying to put a good "spin" on "my employer destroyed our development process" without whining or attacking my former employer, which is never a good thing to do during an interview.

Also, these reprimands could eventually turn into a "performance improvement plan" (PIP, i.e. "we're getting ready to fire you legally without a valid reason), and I'd rather just get on with my life than pursue legal action against my employer for wrongful dismissal.

  • 2
    There's a big difference between badmouthing a previous employer and explaining why you personally want to leave a position. You can objectively lay out conditions present that make you want to leave without "badmouthing".
    – 17 of 26
    Commented Dec 14, 2017 at 15:57
  • Never bad mouth your previous team, management, or employer. Best to simply say you are interested in a certain career goal, and you feel the place you are interviewing best matches that goal. Insert whatever reason you feel appropriate.
    – Dan
    Commented Dec 14, 2017 at 16:32
  • "What is a good thing to tell interviewers when asking why I left?" it is a total non-issue in Software. You are worrying about absolutely nothing. Never, ever, EVER say ANYTHING negative about ANYTHING. It's that simple.
    – Fattie
    Commented Dec 14, 2017 at 18:09

2 Answers 2


"The acquiring company mandated a change in architecture that moved the technology stack into a Microsoft-centric environment. I am a Linux developer, and although we had some success in the conversion, I didn't want to continue on that path."

FWIW: I'm on the other side of the fence (Microsoft), and would feel the same if someone came in and told me to move everything to Linux. You're a Linux dev. I'm an MS dev. Some can do both, but we each picked our path, and no one should be surprised that either of us would want to stay on our chosen path.

  • This is exactly what I was gong to say. The issue is the acquiring company changed the work conditions to ones that did not match your career goals. That does't mean you were right and they were wrong, just that you had different goals. So as long as you say it neutrally as @WesleyLong showed you, then you will be fine. But if you go into an ran about how stupid their decision is, then you will be more worrisome to many interviewers.
    – HLGEM
    Commented Dec 14, 2017 at 20:12

What is a good thing to tell interviewers when asking why I left?

The truth is the answer here. The truth without embellishing in such a way to make your manager, peers, or company look bad. Remember one of the golden rule of interviewing: Never bad mouth a previous manager or company.

Simply tell a prospective employer what changes were made to the environment, what those impacts were, and more importantly how those changes affected your ability to successfully do your job.

Update from question in comments: If you are concerned that your technical expertise may be in question, make sure they understand that you were not the decision maker. If asked what you would recommended instead, lay that out for them, without talking negative about those involved the decision going the other way.

  • 1
    OK, good to know. So, I'm glad I already thought to avoid bad-mouthing them, don't whine, make it known that I was not involved in that decision, but spoke out against it. I guess the only remaining thing is to show that I spoke out about it in any/every way that would have been appropriate, rather than griping once about it and then ignoring it.
    – Kentucky
    Commented Dec 14, 2017 at 13:58
  • 1
    @Kentucky You don't even need to bring the technical aspects into it. Simply say that after the changes the company, the role just wasn't a good fit for you anymore and you are ready to move on. That kind of thing happens all the time and is perfectly acceptable. Then you can explain why you think the role you are applying for will be better for you.
    – Seth R
    Commented Dec 14, 2017 at 15:38
  • "but spoke out against it" NEVER mention crap like that in an interview, dude. NEVER. NEVER. NEVER. in software, everyone moves on every five minutes for the obvious reason, to make more money. If, bizarrely, someone explicitly says to you "why did you move on" just say "for better projects" or "it was time to move on". Honestly, you're dealing with a "non-issue".
    – Fattie
    Commented Dec 14, 2017 at 18:11

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .