First, I apologize if this too subjective, but I don't know where else to ask.

To sum up, I am legally considered to be "self-employed". Officially, I am a contractor, employed by "Company A" to provide on-site support for customers of "Company B" (the work location is owned by "Company B", the equipment on-site is owned by their customers). The contract is "indefinite", meaning it does not end on a specific date. What this means, is I have somewhat reliable long-term employment with no benefits, no vacation, and I handle my own taxes (they are not deducted from my paychecks due to being "self-employed"). I have been in this position for roughly 10 months. The position is in the US, if it matters.

As of Friday afternoon, I received a phone call from a recruiter with an initial offer of a 6-month contract (with the possibility of permanent employment at the end of the contract) that I would like to take if they offer it (phone interview with the recruiters boss is scheduled for Monday). I don't know if I'm really qualified, but I was honest with my experience, so I figure it's their problem if I'm not. To that end, I don't know how to answer the inevitable "Why are you leaving your current employer?" with honesty, while also not bashing my employer. The short version of it is that basically everything that was described in the interview and job posting was a lie.

The long version is that the position was advertised as semi-technical, with a transfer to a more technical position after 6 months. Neither of which is true as of yet. The hiring manager (the closest thing I have to a "boss" with Company A) is also the CTO, and does not have time in his "very busy schedule" (their words, not mine) to schedule my 30 day, 90 day, OR 6 month review, which are required before they can put in for the raises that were promised as a condition of my accepting the position.

That said, I have no significant issues with my co-workers in our limited interaction (we are generally alone for our entire shift). I like my direct supervisor (who works for Company B, not Company A like me), and as far as I can tell, he likes me. I have no problem with the position itself (in fact, I'm already paid significantly more than my co-workers, as far as I can tell). The problem is the position was "significantly not as advertised", the employer is dishonest, and is not what I am looking for in a career.

How can I answer the question with honesty, but also without sounding like I'm a terrible employee and/or bashing the company to make them look bad? "I am pursuing better career options" just comes off as being entirely too generic. What's to stop me from "pursuing better career options" in another 10 months if they hire me?


Blaming your 'employer' is not a good idea, any detrimental personal comments however true they are should be avoided.

I would say that I was looking for a job with more opportunity for advancement, at present you're in a holding pattern with no way forward. Hired for a specific set of tasks at a rate that which will not change. You're happy enough, but if you kept it you'd still be in the same situation years later, therefore you're looking for a job that has better prospects both in terms of advancing your skills and building a career.

That should make perfect sense to most interviewers. And gives a nice positive aspect to your wanting to move and shows you are motivated. Short and informative is always best. Going in to details about why's and who's sounds like whining and doesn't create a good impression.


Why are you leaving your current employer?

I'm looking for full time regular employment instead of full time contract work.

Just keep it simple and don't bring up any of the drama. Nobody cares.


Why are you leaving your current employer?

Why would you want to say that you are employed when you are not?

People who have shown that they can successfully run a business or work as freelancer are usually more valued than peons, who are viewed to only be able to follow orders.

One reasonable reason to give up self-employment is the time and effort to keep up with the legal and administrative overhead of self-employment, when all you want to do is tech stuff.

  • Smart guy right here ^. – ThatGuy Oct 19 '15 at 0:25

I would emphasise the good points of the new position and how it's a step in the direction you want to go. That drives the specific answer to "why would you leave your current job". Rather than "it's not what they said it would be" you could say "I would like to develop my {whatever the new job is} as I feel that I have reached the limits of my current role".

There is no harm in saying "I am looking for a role where I can expect to be promoted as I prove my worth", but a lot to lose by saying "my current employer promised to promote me but hasn't"... the first question will be "why not?" and you don't want that (you can't answer it, only your current employer can). I think it's risky to discuss this unless you have a really clear explanation for why the promised promotion hasn't happened.

In your case I think you'd be better talking about lack of focus from management and limited involvement, pushing it more as "everyone is really busy so I'm stuck doing the same limited set of tasks all the time". Some jobs are like that, and if that's what you're being offered it may be better to "fail" the interview than get the job and discover it's more of the same. That would be more of a theoretical fail - you won't get offered a job you don't want.

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