37

I believe in every interview, there is always a question of:

Why do you want to resign from your current company?

I would like to answer:

It's because of too many people have resigned within the first semester.

If the employer is going to ask further, should I not explain further?

The reason I want to leave too is because I have seen too many cases the bosses cannot drive the company very well and how they deal with the clients and past employees.

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    If your problem is too many people resigning, surely resigning yourself would only make the problem worse?!? – Paul D. Waite Aug 3 '16 at 1:59
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    The reason I want to leave too is because I have seen too many cases the bosses cannot drive the company very well and how they deal with the clients and past employees. ... So ...you just gave us the reason you want to leave, which is very different from "because everyone else is leaving". – HopelessN00b Aug 3 '16 at 2:14
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    I think you should focus on yourself and the impact the other company has. Would you still leave your past employer if you got above excellent pay and great career opportunities in spite of many other people leaving? If not, then focus on the effects: many people leaving creates an unstable work environment. And if career opportunities are bad, say you want to have those. – Pieter B Aug 3 '16 at 8:23
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    Just lie. Everyone talks around it, like oh focus on the positive, etc. But in reality, it's just lying. Employers who will hold the truth against you deserve to be lied to, it's a situation they brought upon themselves. – Kik Aug 3 '16 at 13:28
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    "When even the rats are abandoning ship, you have to ask yourself if you are sinking." - Polish Proverb (that I just made up) – Keeta Aug 3 '16 at 15:37
86

If you told me that, it would raise serious red flags about you as an interviewee.

The reason it raises red flags is that it effectively communicates, "I quit when it started to get hard." Or some variant of that. Not positive feelings, that's for sure.

It might be true or it might not be, but either way, you don't want to leave an interviewer with unaddressed red flags.

The simplest solution is to have better reasons for leaving a company. Maybe people are leaving because the company is running out of money. Maybe because there are not good opportunities. There are reasons.

Frankly, you shouldn't leave just because other people have resigned. That's a naive reason by itself. Now there are almost assuredly valid reasons driving that resignation -- focus on them. Don't focus on the "other people jumped ship, so I did, too!" factor.

The reason I want to leave too is because I have seen too many cases the bosses cannot drive the company very well and how they deal with the clients and past employees.

This is a far better explanation than "others are leaving." Though I would still focus on the new opportunities if possible. Bashing your current employer doesn't look good. Focus on your new opportunity. People like flattery, so focusing on the new opportunity and its benefits is great.

If you must, something like:

  • "I'm excited about this new opportunity and chance to do X, Y, Z. I experience some issues related to how my previous company interacts with clients that I do not like and management doesn't seem to want to fix. Your company handles this a lot better and has <other reasons>."
  • While I mostly agree, if most of the staff suddenly upped and quit then that in itself would likely have a huge effect on the company's prospects and may in turn be good enough reason to join them. – Lightness Races with Monica Aug 3 '16 at 8:56
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    "I quit when it started to get hard." seems a very good strategy, especially compared to "I waited until I got fired when things got worse". – gnasher729 Aug 3 '16 at 12:34
  • @gnasher729 sometimes truth shouldn't be told in an interview. :D – Sufian Aug 3 '16 at 13:07
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    @gnasher729 even if so, something like "I quit because my department got understaffed, and it was impossible for 4 people to carry workload meant for 10", or "I quit because there was this impossible task that was given to employees to get excuse to fire them, and many got fired, and it wasn't acceptable" sounds much more reasonable. – Mołot Aug 3 '16 at 13:08
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    @Mołot I would still phrase that a bit differently. "The expectations I had were to work 60 hours a week given our levels of staffing and this is burning me out. I don't mind working a bit extra in crunch time, but I cannot sustain that level of effort for months on end. Management didn't seem interested in fixing that problem" or something like that. – enderland Aug 3 '16 at 15:15
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Leaving a work place because it is unstable is good reasons. However to tell others that you left because others did too would sound bad because it makes it look like you can't think for yourself. Also talking bad about your previous company is just as bad so you should not state that you are leaving because management is bad.

The best way to answer this question is to simply state you are leaving hoping to find a stable, long term employment. That sounds good because you aren't talking bad about the other company and looking forward to the future.

  • That seems to be very incorrect thinking. "I leave because others are leaving" doesn't mean I blindly copy what they are doing, or I assume they must know some bad news that I don't. If many others are leaving, that may change the workplace in a very, very bad way. Projects will get cancelled, bosses will try to overwork the remaining employees, company income and therefore wages may be endangered etc. – gnasher729 Aug 3 '16 at 12:36
  • Like rats from a sinking ship... – Wayne Werner Aug 3 '16 at 20:37
  • @Dan : I knew someone who did because it was the last staff member leaving (he was doing things like working 40 hours without sleeping). The company had ~15 person a year before. And the boss had to close it after that. Most peoples left because of the workload prior him. – user2284570 Aug 4 '16 at 15:33
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I utterly dis-agree with the notion that "this is a good and valid thing to say." And, I would specifically point out the following sentence from your OP:

"The reason I want to leave too is because I have seen too many cases the bosses cannot drive the company very well and how they deal with the clients and past employees."

So, the reason why you want to leave is "somebody else's fault." Uh huh. Just how many "clients" or "past employees" have you dealt with, and just how many cases is "too many?" If you said any such thing to me at an interview, I assure you that the interview would be finished. I would be polite to you, of course, for a few more minutes ...

(Yes, I have sat on "that side" of "that desk" many, many times. I now have over 35 years' experience in IT.)

Maybe the manager is a screwball. Plenty of managers out there manage "a revolving door" of people who quickly move-on to better opportunities. But, what people do not do, is:   "quit."

Say nothing negative about your present employment situation. If you find it disagreeable, and want to quit because it is disagreeable, then any interviewer would realize that you're likely to find their job "disagreeable," too. (So to speak, "every job sucks...") The only reason why you want to move from one job to another is because you see it as "a move up" for you. A better opportunity. A better chance to use your exquisite skills and experience.

You must also be careful to present the impression that "when the going gets tough, I will not 'get going.'" And, you must sincerely mean it.

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    I don't really understand your first sentence. Judging from the rest of your answer, sounds like you actually don't think the OP should say this. And I don't see the quoted phrase ("this is a good and valid thing to say") anywhere else on this page. Can you clarify? – ruakh Aug 2 '16 at 22:57
  • @ruakh: Presumably the quoted phrase comes from a now-deleted early comment or answer, and Mike meant to write "utterly disagree". – Lightness Races with Monica Aug 3 '16 at 9:00
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    Wow, harsh response. Bad situations do exist, and people look for new jobs because of them. While I agree this is not a great reason to give at interview, it doesn't prove someone is a terrible candidate. Categorically rejecting people for minor reasons is not a great approach to hiring. – user45590 Aug 3 '16 at 11:30
  • You're correct: the response was edited by someone to reverse my meaning, as should have been clear from the remaining context. I have corrected the post. – Mike Robinson Aug 3 '16 at 14:18
  • Not meaning to be "harsh," I did mean to be blunt. I'm just telling you how I would react if I were sitting on the other side of that desk, as I have been, so many times now. One thing to remember is: "Does the company need 'you?'" No." What the company needs is a good professional, and it is and always will be a buyer's market. If you give any indication that you are "less than professional," you're not going to get hired because you're basically more trouble than you're worth. They're going to winnow through the fat-stack to find a *pro. (Which is NOT measured in "expertise!") – Mike Robinson Aug 3 '16 at 14:25
5

That is a completely valid reason to resign. When asked about it I would frame my answer as the work culture was not a good fit and there were no programs in place for employee retention.

  • You can say something like, "I am currently looking for long term employment." – Dan Aug 2 '16 at 14:35
  • IMHO that is not a valid reason to resign. It emanates with "sheep mentality". It is nearly 100% of times coupled with a valid reason, and the ability to identify the root cause is quite important. People massively leaving and big rotation are the red flags, but they are symptoms, not the causes. For some professions ability to perform such analysis is vital. Even you naturally give some plausible cause. – luk32 Aug 2 '16 at 21:10
  • @luk32: If 80% of the workforce ups and quits one day, leaving the company unable to function and giving it terrible survival prospects, you really think that's not a valid reason to resign yourself? – Lightness Races with Monica Aug 3 '16 at 8:59
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    @luk32: Splitting up my hypothetical scenario into two separate scenarios and pretending that I argued them each in isolation is dishonest. – Lightness Races with Monica Aug 3 '16 at 9:34
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    @luk32: At least we can all agree that the OP is justified in resigning but needs to rephrase their rationale when explaining it in future interviews. – Lightness Races with Monica Aug 3 '16 at 10:00
4

If someone told me their reason for leaving a previous company was because everyone else was doing so (with no other background information), I'd presume I was speaking to someone who might not be very bright. There are so many intelligent-sounding, valid, reasonable answers:

  • Inability to maintain a good work/life balance
  • Seeking opportunities for growth that you can't get in the current job
  • Family responsibilities
  • Relocation
  • Stable work environment

This is just a few, but there are others. Whatever the case, don't spend a lot of time bad mouthing the previous employer. Instead, resolve to tell the interviewer the POSITIVE things you are seeking in a new opportunity.

Whatever the case, give a response that represents you as a person who's done some critical thinking.

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    Ok. What about the actual question here? What about the actual reason he has? – Dronz Aug 2 '16 at 19:50
  • I would absolutely stick to just positive reasons to leave like seeking new skills opportunities or broadening your experience and then start citing things the new company does well. – Shiv Aug 3 '16 at 0:15
4

You do not need to tell your interviewer everything, and you already seem to be uncomfortable telling them why you are leaving since you are asking here. I will not judge whether telling them your reason is good or not; but if you want to avoid it, then it is perfectly valid to say:

I do not see a future in my old company where I can develop like I wish to, but I am sure you can understand if I do not want to go into the details here.

This statement is absolutely true, and lets your old company keep their honor, so to speak. It lets you stand out as someone who, even while leaving his old company, still is discreet enough not to talk bad about them behind their backs.

Of course you should be prepared for follow-up questions:

Why did you not see a future?

As I said, I do not wish to go into details about the internals of my current employer here. In my future, I see X, Y and Z, and I think in your company I can achieve that...

If they keep digging (which would be quite an offense, if you ask me), you can be more direct:

I really wish not to talk about this; it concerns internal, confidential going-ons with my current employer. I am sure you can appreciate this: you would not want me to talk about internal affairs if I were employed here and were talking with other people, either, right?

1

As a small business owner who is currently interviewing for several jobs within, I would suggest the following:

Give some thought to what the essential reason why you left as it relates to what you like and disliked about your prior experience and provide that as an answer. In other words, if you prefer to avoid or don't do very well in a turbulent work environment, then say that.

That gives the interviewer the opportunity to speak up and say what the new work environment will be like in relation to your stated needs/preferences. So if the new company also has a lot of employees coming and going, you get to know that up front and factor it into your decision as to whether you want to work there or not. That avoids you having to spend a few weeks/months in the new job before determining that you wish to leave for the same reasons as the prior job - thereby wasting everyone's time/energy.

This is likely also the fairest situation for everyone involved.

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