After having been employed with a huge banking group for 10 years, I decided that I wanted to try something different within the financial industry. Four months ago I accepted the offer from this small company, thinking that it was a great opportunity.

Ohh boy I was wrong!

These people have no policies, no procedures, zero risk awareness, old fashioned, top-down management, a nightmare. I was supposed to join a team of 3 experienced individuals, while in reality, it is just me and another guy. We are extremely overworked and the manager is a useless lunatic who knows nothing but is great at delegating. The other guy in my team, the nicest person I have ever met, has been with them for 2 years but now wants to leave.

I decided that I want to keep my sanity and I am now actively looking for a new job. I don’t know if I should be honest with a potential recruiter about my motives for leaving my job only after 4 months. If I don’t explain the situation, I am afraid they will think I am not flexible enough to adapt myself to different working conditions, but I also know I should not say anything negative about my current employer which I think is a big mess.

Any suggestions?

  • 2
    Possible duplicate of What do I say about my previous job, which was horrible, in a new job interview?
    – gnat
    Commented Jun 22, 2019 at 16:11
  • I believe my question is slightly different: the other user was not sure about listing a job in his/her cv where he/she had been working for a very short period of time. In my question I am asking how to explain my short stint to recruiters without bad mouthing my current employer.
    – Perla007
    Commented Jun 22, 2019 at 17:53
  • I'd say the fact that the OP hasn't left the job yet also makes the question distinctly different.
    – Ed Grimm
    Commented Jun 23, 2019 at 5:59
  • I was used to dealing with competent and collaborative managers who invest time to build relationships, are open to suggestions and new ideas, handle conflicts in a constructive manner and share control. The person I report to is a clueless and arrogant individual with a personal hygiene problem. I hope this clarifies. Thanks
    – Perla007
    Commented Jun 23, 2019 at 11:36

4 Answers 4


I don’t know if I should be honest with a potential recruiter about my motives for leaving my job only after 4 months.

You can be honest with the recruiter(s) without bad mouthing about your current employer (which is never a good idea IMO). It's not uncommon or wrong if there's a bad fit between a company and employer. It's good that you have identified that a particular kind of work culture is not up to your working style or taste, which is totally fine.

Wise of you to have identified a potential issue and taken up a call without wasting much time. It may become difficult to provide a justification the longer you spend time with your current job.

It's good that you have clarity regarding what kind of organisation best suit your working style. Not everyone is cut out for working in a startup, and not everyone want to work for a big organisation/employer. You can focus your job search to only the kind of oraganisation you wish to work for.

You have had a pretty stable (about a decade long) stint with your previous employer. It certainly plays in your favour by proving that you are stable in a job and have performed well enough to have progressed through it. That is the kind of work culture you should be looking for. You could be honest about this with your recruiter about it. It makes things clear and simple both for you and the recruiter(s).

  • 1
    Being honest with future recruiters also ensures and implies to them that you will leave if they lie to you about job conditions
    – user86742
    Commented Jun 24, 2019 at 17:33

The noncommiting "we were not a good fit" might work in this situation as well.

I wouldn't be totally honest with recruiters since your opinion of your current employer might still be colored a little bit by your current annoyance. You can be a 100% honest with recruiters if you trust them a 100% to be a 100% in your corner. (Hint: that's not very likely. Just think about who pays him/her)

I think you can say something in the manner of:

  • You think that your professional skills are better suited for a different position.
  • The position you are working in is different from your expectation of it.

Just tone the criticism down depending on how much you trust the recruiter.


Not the answer you are looking for:

This could be an opportunity.

If you can stand it, spend the next month documenting what you expected and what is happening. Come up with a plan for what should be happening.

Go directly to whatever person is in charge of personnel and lay out your proposal. With skill, and the blessing of the Gods of the Office, you will get your present managers job, and can rebuild your department the way it should be.

  • Small companies and huge banks should be different. And I'm yet to see a change in management because a 4 month old recruit documented the disorder so well the owner decides to promote him on the spot. Not to mention, the mgmt skillset is quite different from the IC one.
    – Therac
    Commented Jun 23, 2019 at 6:17
  • I have already discussed the issues with the people who hired me and with the HR officer but there have been no changes. In addition, I feel cheated for having been promised things that are not true, such as a team of 3 people and reasonable working hours: the turnover has been massive for years and nobody is happy here because of the unsustainable workload.
    – Perla007
    Commented Jun 23, 2019 at 9:10

It easy if you want to go back/apply to a big company, then I would say something along the lines of:

"The change in work culture and organization level, and the impact on my effectiveness, was larger than I expected. Having worked a long in a well organized, big company, I fully appreciate the advantages which such an organization brings, especially on my focus and ability to perform well".

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