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I'll soon be applying for a new position. The new position will be slightly lower pay - public service, the salary is public, any decent HR person will know that the private sector pay more. So I'm concerned I won't get the job because they fear I won't stick around, or that I'm looking because something went wrong at my present position. I have the following reasons I'm applying for this particular position - all of them are true, but should I mention all of them?

  • My current position involves engineering in a sales back-office role - I want to change to a more technical position

  • My current position demands quick work, and it is expected to fudge over details to make a deadline. I want to work more thorough.

  • My last position was mostly X, where the position you are offereing is mostly Y - a subset of X. I look forward to deepen my expereince of Y. Your organisation also does X. Maybe, a few years down the road, there's a possibility of me doing X again - I'd like to talk about that.

  • I don't mind overtime, but in my current position overtime is handled informally and is often uncompensated. As you are public service, and were voted "best employer" multiple times, I expect an arrangement that's fair for all sides here.

closed as primarily opinion-based by Jim G., AndreiROM, Dawny33, Marv Mills, mcknz Dec 22 '15 at 18:25

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    These all sound good to me. – Meredith Poor Dec 14 '13 at 16:15
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    any decent HR person will know that the private sector pay more. - False – IDrinkandIKnowThings Dec 15 '13 at 4:39
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    @chad, care to elaborate? – mart Dec 15 '13 at 9:51
  • also, explain the downvote, someone? – mart Dec 15 '13 at 12:35
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I have the following reasons I'm applying for this particular position - all of them are true, but should I mention all of them?

It's good that they are all true, since it is best to always stick to the truth. But some of these are "safer" to discuss than others in an interview.

My current position involves engineering in a sales back-office role - I want to change to a more technical position

Wanting "a more technical position" is a very valid reason for a job change. This is a good area to discuss. Be prepared to talk about what this means to you. Focus on the parts of the new position that excite you, but don't dwell on the parts of the old position that you don't like - some of those may still apply (hopefully in lesser amounts) in the new position.

My current position demands quick work, and it is expected to fudge over details to make a deadline. I want to work more thorough.

Tread carefully here. When I read this, it comes across as "I don't want to work hard" or "I can't meet deadlines". I would avoid this as a reason for changing jobs. Do you really think your next job will never require any quick work or deadlines?

My last position was mostly X, where the position you are offereing is mostly Y - a subset of X. I look forward to deepen my expereince of Y. Your organisation also does X. Maybe, a few years down the road, there's a possibility of me doing X again - I'd like to talk about that.

Going deeper in one area is a reasonable reason to change. Again try to emphasize the "Y-ness" that you see in the new job, but don't dwell on X - particularly if you see some X in the new organization.

I don't mind overtime, but in my current position overtime is handed informally and is often uncompensated. As you are public service, and where voted "best employer" multiple times, I expect an arrangement that's fair for all sides here.

Unless the lack of strict rules about overtime are a deal-breaker for you, this is not something I would bring up in an interview. If you are interviewing for a salaried position, you will seldom find such strict rules.

People who interview with me and who spend any time dwelling on overtime never get the job. While the jobs I offer in my current company have very little in the way of overtime requirements, it still does happen occasionally, and as salaried employees, it is uncompensated. If that were a big deal with a candidate, then I can't hire them.

You need to decide how important overtime is to you. Then you need to measure that against the kind of corporate culture you see in the hiring company. Expecting some sort of special arrangement just for you may be unrealistic.

Overall - determine what factors are most important to you as you transition to a new job and spend time discussing those, and asking questions in those areas. They want to make sure you are a good fit for the position, you want to make sure they meet your needs.

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Wanting something more technical is a valid reason, but the work level expectations and informal and uncompensated over-time seem too negative and like you're complaining.

Like all reasons, you may need to defend them a step further. If you prefer a more technical position, why did you take a sales position? Show why you've discovered it's not for you. Give examples of how doing technical work is more in your nature.

Focus on why you think this new job is a better company. Acknowledge you are aware of their awards and that you want to work for that type of a company.

For future reference, be careful about wanting to be thorough. Make sure your standards are in line with the business. At some point, you have to ship something. As great as the iPhone may be, it is far from perfect and we're on version what?

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An interview is a two way process so it's probably best to be as open as possible for the most mutually beneficial outcome.

If any of the reasons you are changing jobs does not suit your prospective new employer then it's probably better to find out about this now unless you are really desperate for the job but it doesn't sound like this is the case.

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I'd focus on these two reason most

My current position involves engineering in a sales back-office role - I want to change to a more technical position

This one is already concise and well phrased, when asked why you're looking to move, I'd open with this.

I don't mind overtime, but in my current position overtime is handed informally and is often uncompensated. As you are public service, and where voted "best employer" multiple times, I expect an arrangement that's fair for all sides here.

What you mean to say is your burned out. I think this is a good reason to switch jobs as you'd like more personal time to spend with family and friends.

Can you rephrase this to not explictily mention overtime, but explain why your willing to take a pay cut for better hours? Something like, "My current job is very demanding and I'm beginning to feel burned out." might be a good place to start.

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