I have about 16 years of IT work experience. Until 4 years ago I was a self employed contractor but I switched to an employee position.
When I was a contractor, I always chose contracts with this characteristic only: the contracts that paid the most. I didn’t care about languages, frameworks, technologies, company peculiarities, duration of the contracts, company ethics, etc. I have always looked only at money.

When I became an employee, it was for one of the companies I was a contractor at that time, so they didn't even interview me. Then I moved to another company, where I was hired thanks to my friendship with the (at that time) company CEO.

I am looking for a new job right now, and I am confused as to what to answer when the interviewer asks these 2 questions: why are you looking for a new job? Why would you choose our company? My honest answers are: to get more money and because you pay more than competitors. Of course I usually try to dodge the question, giving generic answers about company importance, technologies used, etc.
But I feel that lying openly in an interview is not the right thing to do.

Should I continue with political and completely false answers (I don't give a damn about those things) or should I be honest (I want my money)?

  • 3
    I have to ask, why did you switch into being an employee in the first place?
    – Aida Paul
    Commented Sep 29, 2020 at 7:01
  • 2
    @TymoteuszPaul Because of taxes: in the last years I was a self employed contractor I paid up to 30-35% more than an employee with the same income. Commented Sep 29, 2020 at 7:53
  • 3
    @Kilisi To receive prepackaged politically correct responses Commented Sep 29, 2020 at 8:04
  • 2
    Give them what they want then
    – Kilisi
    Commented Sep 29, 2020 at 8:05
  • 4
    If you're making less as a contractor than as an employee you're severely undercharging.
    – jcm
    Commented Sep 29, 2020 at 9:58

6 Answers 6


Like it or not if you want to succeed, you need to learn how to sell yourself as an employee and play the politics.

Very few people will hire you if your only motivation is money.

why are you looking for a new job?

So it's because you pay less tax as an employee, but that's a terrible answer. You need to rephrase it.

Something like: I've contracted for x years, and now I'm looking for a change. - You can add to this with something positive, but nothing about money. Maybe you would relish the opportunity to work more closely with a team, or maybe there are types of projects you couldn't take on as a contactor, but this job will allow you to

Why would you choose our company?

This is a harder one. You never say it's because they offer more. Find their website, look at what they do. Find something about them that you like and use that. Find what their values are.

Almost no one chooses a company, usually you're applying to a job advert posted by a recruiter so usually the only reason is money and location at first...

You have to look at their company and find a reason.

eg. You have x years of experience in x field, you like x about them and it will be a great opportunity to use your x skills.

You shouldn't lie, but you need to rephrase things to sound appealing to your future employer. No one wants to hear blunt honesty. (I've tried it, never heard back from those interviews)

Ironically you say you only care about the money, and don't want to give a political answer etc... but to get the job and the money you'll probably have to


Answer truthfully, but in a way that shows your value.

Why are you leaving?

Because I feel I've grown as much as I can in my current position, and I want new, greater challenges.

Why do you want to work for our company

Because you are a leader in this field

Both are true, from a certain point of view

But beyond that, I would caution you that pursuing the money alone is going to get to you eventually. Nobody on their death-bed ever says "I wish I had spent more time at work".

Not that there's anything wrong with making money, I fully endorse the idea. Just have a care to make sure it isn't your only motive.

  • I look for money because I spend a lot of money :) Commented Sep 30, 2020 at 6:29

Only you can judge what the prospective employer expects.

Some employers wouldn't want mercenary types, especially if a particular staff function is relatively small and they want a steady hand for the long-term, or if the nature of the work requires a strong psychological investment in craftsmanship, or if they know they are second-rate employers who simply cannot match the salaries of the best.

In these cases, they're basically fishing around either for those who value things other than salary, such as good conditions, long-term job security, or else they are fishing around for those who lack confidence and will accept (and stick with) a shoddy offer with no redeeming features.

But on the other hand, if they are a big, powerful, profitable employer, who are trying to add capacity quickly at the coalface, then mercenary types may be exactly what they want: people with the best skill, experience, and discipline, whose track record shows they deliver solid value quickly and consistently, in exchange for precisely the top-whack remuneration they are offering.

Obviously it would be possible to overshoot this narrative - if it conveys unreliability or exploitative contempt - but it is also possible to align it with an employer who themselves have a somewhat mercenary agenda or culture, and to flatter their own perceptions of themselves as a firm that can afford to attract the best people in the market (assuming they have such self-perceptions).

Also, I'm not endorsing that mercenary types are in fact those with the best skill, experience, or discipline. I'm simply suggesting that this is a narrative that can ring true, provided there is a strong flavour of quid pro quo, and equal emphasis on the value being provided in exchange for the money.

So not so much "because I want more money", but something like "because I'm amongst the best in my field with a solid track record as you can see, and your firm has a reputation for paying good money for good people".


You're not alone, this sentiment is pretty common and every interviewer knows that most of the applicants seek paycheck boost. I.E why would someone with almost two decades suddenly change a job ? At that age we simply stop chasing dreams and get real (paycheck, work-hours, insurance or some other number-games or tradeoffs).

You can just give whichever generic answer is acceptable and relax, as long as you perform your job and make a fit, no one cares about private details unless they get in the way.


Contrary to some of these answers I think saying "being competitively rewarded in compensation is a huge motivator to me" - that's code for "seriously, it's about the $$$". But I do think you want to frame it in such a way that you are NOT effectively saying "if another company offers me $5 more I will quit this job for that job" - as that's a very bad bet for a company - most companies really want to have you stay around for a few years so that you can really learn the best way to do your job and to do it at max effiency for a least a year or two.

So you may also want to frame your answer as "it's not just money in the short term, but in the long term" - as in:

  • you want to join a company that has aggressive/exciting potential to get high revenues for itself, and you want to be part of making that happen -- insert what the given company does and why you feel it's like to make a lot of $$ for itself.
  • you want to continue to build your skillset to stay professionally competitive - both in doing THIS job at peak quality but also in having a marketable resume across the board. Insert what cool things are in the current role, and why that's good for you.

By making it a little more about the long term than the short term (ie, in the next few years, both you and the company will make a lot of money together, vs. in the next week, this company is the one that pays the best) - you can phrase it in more of a win-win point of view that makes you more desirable to the company without actually lying.


You're going to die, one day. And as you die you're going to look back on your years and wonder what you did. You could have done anything - acting, veterinarian, run a bar, whatever. In any case you chose (most likely) programming, a career you don't like because you only pick roles based on money.

I would suggest you live your best life and find something you like. If you cannot think of a reason to join a company - look, there's one doing ai to help politicians find hot button issues - if you only want more money from the role - look, there's a company helping farmers in developing economies earn more money - then two things spring to mind.

  1. you're not very good at your job. good tech ppl earn millions a year, either at top companies or as entrepreneurs
  2. you're wasting your time, which is a crime because while some ppl think time is a resource, it's not. it is a luxury given only to us living, the dead and those never to be alive have none.

So don't look at this as some tricky interview trap. Look at it as a message, from God on high, to find what you want to do.

  • 2
    So what if things that the OP likes don't pay at all?
    – guest
    Commented Sep 29, 2020 at 11:54
  • 1
    The usual way to use the one life seems to be to earn money in whatever way and spend this money on free time. Not everyone sees work as a fulfillment (heck, I would bet most single mothers would rather want money for spending time with their children than for working in a supermarket)
    – guest
    Commented Sep 29, 2020 at 12:18
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    @guest anything can pay if you are good at it. Professional video gamer players can make a small fortune. Commented Sep 29, 2020 at 13:07
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    @Old_Lamplighter: Most people, unfortunately, do not have one particular skill they are so good at to earn money. (Also, not everyone who is good in gaming can become a professional video gamer.)
    – guest
    Commented Sep 29, 2020 at 13:36
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    @guest you're coming up with a lot of reasons to not live your best life. but it's in you, not myself, nor lamplighter, for you to live happily. you get to choose how you spend your time. if it's doing something you don't enjoy, then it is your choice, and you, and only you, live with the consequences.
    – bharal
    Commented Sep 29, 2020 at 13:56

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