I recently quit my first full time position after just 6 months. I have had several internships in past so it was not my first position.

My main reasons for quitting were,

  • Very long working hours: 10 hours/day compared to 8 hours/day which is normal here everywhere.

  • Micromanagement: Lots of it. I had to give update 2-3 times a day.

  • Too heavy a workload: Staring at screen constantly without being able to take a break also used to hurt my eyes.

  • No vacations: Although I was allowed x paid vacations per year, they were always rejected every time I applied for them during my time. Later I was also suggested to ask 1-2 months in advance in future.

  • Lack of senior developers: My colleagues were around same level as me, and I am not even a senior developer.

  • Lack of quality code or even initiatives: It was development agency and their goal was to ship product ASAP without proper testing whatsoever. I tried to take initiatives in ways such as refactoring code I am working on, but my boss used to push me work fast and deliver working results, rather than spending time doing this.

So far, the only reason I have told recruiters is that I quit was due to poor working conditions, and when they ask, go on to tell about the 10 hour days.

My friend suggested it's not a good enough reason to mention to a recruiter and that it may reflect poorly on me.

How should I handle the question "Why did you leave your last position" in the future?

  • 3
    I'm not sure where in the world you are, but in the US, it's very uncommon to be allowed to use vacation in the first 3-6 months. 2-3 updates a day may not be that unusual either, depending on the project and priority. Commented Apr 27, 2018 at 18:30
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    I have worked forcompanies that require a month's notice on vacation if it was for more than a day. There is nothing odd about that. It is so they can plan for your absence in the project plan. Nothing you described is reason to quit without another job. Working 18 hours a day, personal safety especially if there have rape attempts or assaults, medical reasons. Those are all good reasons to quit without another job. Just because the place is less than perfect? No. Because all places are less than perfect. Think about this for the future.
    – HLGEM
    Commented Apr 27, 2018 at 20:55
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    "...which is normal here everywhere" Where is here everywhere? Commented Apr 28, 2018 at 6:27
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    @HLGEM, I think your comment is really sad, since it shows that nowadays exploitation is accepted as normal. Expecting someone to work 2 h a day for free is not normal and shouldn't be accepted. It's also illegal in the country I live in. Whether it was strategically reasonable for NotaQuitter to quit without having an alternative is another question of course.
    – BigMadAndy
    Commented Apr 28, 2018 at 8:46
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    @HLGEM I want to repeat the same. You are basically saying letting others exploit yourself is fine because you had it too. And why I quit without another offer in hand is other question, and there are several reasons. It's unrelated and It rather not discuss it here. Commented Apr 28, 2018 at 9:09

3 Answers 3


I agree with your friend.

Focus on the "forced us to ship without enough testing" and "lack of senior developers". Anything else could be misinterpreted by the recruiter who could weed you out just because that recruiter does not know any better.

That being said, make sure that you don't end up with a similar employer again in the future.

When being interviewed, and near the end of your interview, you can ask to speak to your future co-workers and ask questions such as what is your typical work day here.

For instance, at what time did you go home last night? And at what time did you come in the morning? Is that pretty regular? And what about crunch time? What happens if you have a deadline? Until what time do you work? Do you also work on weekends?

And if they ask you "why", "Would that be a problem?", you could just say, no, no problem. It's just that if you work 12 hours a day, I know to ask for way more money (since I'll probably be exempt from receiving overtime pay).

  • It was a small software development agency. And small software development agencies are in my blacklist now. I am being very careful when choosing a offer. Quitting so soon look so bad on resume and now I have to explain it to everyone. I also recently rejected a well paid job offer because I suspected something similar. After posting this question, I got rejection after final behavioral interview at a big company yesterday and now I suspect they were not happy with my answers (most probably the reason to quit) Commented Apr 28, 2018 at 10:16

The best policy for any interview question is always, be honest.

However, within the realm of honesty, you obviously need to tailor your responses to meet your goals.

So - before thinking of your answer, you need to ask yourself: what is my goal during this hiring process?

If your goal is to avoid working for a certain type of company, then you can tailor your answer appropriately. That may result in you not getting a job offer (as has already happened per your comment on another answer) but sometimes, not getting an offer is a good thing if the company would have been a poor fit.

Besides honesty, another good interview policy for any answer is, when talking about negatives, take the time to show how you've learned or grown. Once again, you need to balance this against your own goals. You mentioned being unhappy because your last employer had no senior developers. I'm guessing that made you upset because it meant there was no one to mentor or guide you. So: instead of just saying, "they had no senior developers," you can say,

what I've learned is that I'm interested in an environment where I can continuously grow, regardless of my own level of seniority or experience. My last employer really wasn't able to offer any sort of mentorship, continuing education, or other growth opportunities.

That way, you're being honest, you're helping them understand a factor that's important to you, and you're avoiding the impression that you just like to complain about your past employer.

All that said, as a footnote: It's important to also take time to reflect on your own contribution to the problem of "poor working conditions." You mention things like vacation requests requiring a certain lead time - that's common with lots of employers. And having to give updates 2 or 3 times a day seems pretty reasonable for a junior employee who may need extra guidance. Make sure you're learning from this experience about the importance of understanding and reviewing policies as appropriate, upfront, and taking things in context, before blaming the employer.

  • Thanks. I finally found a great job recently. There are pretty much what I was looking for (senior developers, (I'm the most junior developer here, unlike my last position), flexible working hours. They also have very relax vacation policy and no manager constantly asking me for update (it doesnt mean I am lazy, now I just tell my manager as soon as I finish the task, rather than other way around) Commented May 30, 2018 at 13:54

You could say the position was not a good fit for your skills, and as such you left the company to find a position that did. If they ask what a typical day entailed, you can briefly tell them what went on, but not elaborate unless they ask.

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