Here's a bit of background regarding my situation:

I don't necessarily want to leave my current job. In fact, I'm quite happy there. I'm only considering interviewing for a similar role at a company that contacted me via a recruiter because they are one of the top companies to work for as a software engineer.

What's great about my current role:

  • Both of the managers I've had have been amazing.
  • The work I do is challenging, and there is a good deal of freedom to be a part of the conversation about what part of my team's product I can work on next. If I wanted to move teams, I could probably do so.

The one thing I don't like, which I'd like to be able to communicate without being negative about my current employer:

  • Work/life balance is amazing, but maybe a little too amazing. In the office I work in, which is the primary location, the culture has become: Monday/Wednesday/Friday most people come to the office; Tuesday/Thursday most people work from home. On my team of three, one of my coworkers gets away with only working three days a week, and this largely goes unnoticed. If it is noticed, it doesn't seem to be a large concern, and this person usually gets an average review with an average raise each year. Having enough people like this around can make it more difficult for me to be productive throughout the week, and so I often feel like if I need to work on something that I can't do alone, I get my best work done on M/W/F, and its hit-or-miss on T/Th. I really would like to be at a company where the "average" person is much more engaged than this.

I know that the company I'm interviewing at has an environment that's much closer to what I'm looking for, but how to I convey this without being negative about my current employer?


I know that the company I'm interviewing at has an environment that's much closer to what I'm looking

So focus on that, what you want to gain without stressing the current employer as a negative.

It's not a zero sum thing, you can be positive about what the role offers without running down your current role.

If the reason for moving was a million dollars, you'd stress that, not that your current employer doesn't offer a million.


If they contacted you, there is nothing wrong with answering "I'm perfectly happy at my current company and they are happy with me. Your opportunity looks very interesting and I'm excited to explore this but I wasn't actively looking".

This actually puts you in a very strong position:

  1. It demonstrates that you are good at picking jobs and that you can operate effectively as a team player.
  2. It makes it clear that you in no way depend on them making an offer. If they want to get you, they will have to make an effort.

If the company is looking for someone who is desperate that they can get for cheap, than this may be a show stopper, but that's probably the right outcome.


That's easy:

I'm happy where I'm at, but this looks like it may be a good opportunity to advance my career.

You're right to not say anything bad about your current employer or co-workers.

In a way, this is sort of a trap question - the interviewer is really asking "are you the kind of person who blames others and/or would say bad things about us when you leave?"

Whatever you say, make sure it's interpreted as "I don't point fingers or say bad things about others, even if they're true".

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