I left because I was miserable and constantly being micromanaged. It started to affect me negatively and couldn't enjoy anytime off that I had. My husband told me to quit because we had money in the bank and I would be able to get something else. When I go on interviews the question always comes up and I try to answer it, but it seems hiring managers think I got fired. The manager that I had no real mgmt experience, she was a puppet to the VP.

  • 3
    Why not just tell the truth?
    – Aida Paul
    Jun 28, 2020 at 16:42
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    @TymoteuszPaul Because the truth looks bad for her, and will not get her hired.
    – Jim Clay
    Jun 28, 2020 at 17:56
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    @ethgirl You are bad-mouthing the manager.
    – Jim Clay
    Jun 28, 2020 at 17:57
  • 1
    Does this answer your question? What do I say about my previous job, which was horrible, in a new job interview?
    – gnat
    Jun 28, 2020 at 19:33
  • 2
    Just say it wasn't a good fit, and if they want you to elaborate further, just say you don't want to get into details because it might come off bad mouthing. Jun 29, 2020 at 10:37

2 Answers 2


Presumably when you took the last job you didn't expect to be micromanaged therefore it could be a more positive answer to say that you didn't have the autonomy you expected to have and you decided to look for something else.

Obviously when you left your last job you did something with the time - Only you know what you did but if you spent time with your family or learning new skills you could say something like this:

"When I took my last job I was hoping to be able to use my own initiative, after some time to settle in, it became clear that the job did not offer the autonomy I had hoped. At the time I had XXX to take care of in my family so I decided to do that first and then look for something more suitable when I had things sorted out, now I'm looking forward to getting back to work and if I am successful this role will, I understand give me the opportunity to use my initiative."

This is not lying and it is not slating your previous employer either so hopefully something like this will work out better for you.

  • 1
    Thank you. This answer is really good and it is what I felt like while working there. I'm currently working as a contractor now and been working there for over 8 months and hoping to become perm soon. I wanted to ask this question in case I have to interview again and the question comes up.
    – r1030
    Jun 29, 2020 at 23:31

I have interviewed quite a few people. If you told me what you posted I would probably not hire you unless you had stellar skills and we really needed you. Why? Because one of two things happened:

  1. You are not telling the truth and you were fired.
  2. You are telling the truth and you will leave as soon as you are unhappy. You quit once, it's even easier to quit the next time, and there are few practical reasons for you to stay (i.e. you can live off of your husband's income).

Honestly, #2 would probably be worse to me than #1. You are probably saying to yourself, "But it was really, really, bad. The new job would probably not be that bad." Maybe so, but I still don't want to hire someone who I'm afraid will quit as soon as things get tough- i.e. when we most need you.

What do I suggest? Tell the truth, but emphasize other parts of your story. Something along the lines of, "I was working long hours and feeling a little burnt out. I decided to take some time off and spend more time with my kids. I'm feeling rejuvenated now and now need a little time away from the family (laugh) and want to get back to work."

Just an example. And like I said, tell the truth, but tell those parts of it that will help you.

  • Sounds like you're suggesting lying by omission.
    – Bwmat
    Jun 28, 2020 at 18:12
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    @Bwmat whether it be for resumes or interviews, it is quite standard to omit negatives. We wouldn't tell someone with a criminal record to list it on their resume. Jun 28, 2020 at 18:55
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    Yeah, I'm aware this form of lying is socially acceptable, lol. It's kind of disillusioning though
    – Bwmat
    Jun 28, 2020 at 19:13
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    @Bwmat: what you call "lying by omission" is what others call "presenting yourself in the best possible light". This is actually good: it's the best way (in practice) to have everyone answer consistently, which allows interviewers to "calibrate" a candidate's answers more accurately. So complaining about the last job, no matter how politely, is something to avoid. After calibration, it sounds like whining and makes you come across as high maintenance and high risk. So the "don't complain" advice is good; best to focus on the positives and don't say anything negative.
    – Richter65
    Jun 29, 2020 at 19:22
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    The woman who thinks it and doesn't say anything at least understands that it would be crazy to say it, that she needs to restrain herself. This is a little like OP. Being straight with the interviewer about why she left implies (though it may not be true) that she doesn't understand how much an employer dislikes that attitude. Not talking about it at least would show that she understands that it isn't acceptable, and would look bad, hence she would be more likely to avoid it in the future.
    – Jim Clay
    Jun 29, 2020 at 23:11

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