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I've been working in a small company for three years. Recently, I was asked to look for some other place of work. Our company has financial problems, that's why they decided to cut off on certain expenditures.

How to say about that in a winning manner, taking into consideration that I actually had a chance to stay?

Let me explain in a more detailed way:

  • Our company had 6 programmers and 10 people in total.
  • Once, when I was very tired after a sleepless night, I was incorrect to tell the senior programmer that I had thought about changing the workplace.
  • About a week after, unfortunately for our firm, it turned out that the director failed to sign important contracts thus the company faced survival challenges.
  • Director and the senior programmer had a conversation after which I was told to look for another job. (I was told the news in a friendly and polite manner).
  • About 2 weeks later the senior programmer and the director had another conversation, after which I was told that there was actually some big piece of work for me for a long term. If I had the desire, I could have stayed. But I told them I would be able to stay only for a short term due to lack of motivation and the desire to use the chance of changing workplace to its full.

I'm not sure how to talk about this in an interview in a winning manner.

  • 1
    @dan1111, thanks. I'm still employed for a while, but i'm looking for another place. There isn't a contract. The main reason is financial problems. These are real true problems, which the firm faces, not only I was affected. But the fact that I had expressed the desire to change job, probably, had a little stake in the matter. Thanks. – Andrey K. Aug 5 '16 at 11:11
  • "Once, when I was very tired after a sleepless night, I was incorrect to tell the senior programmer that I had thought about changing the workplace." may or may not have anything to do with it. I suggest ignoring that. Concentrate on the fact that if you were "asked to leave" in American English means that you were fired for cause and possibly forcibly removed from the office. – MikeP Aug 5 '16 at 19:42
  • 4
    In this context, it doesn't sound like he was fired and forcibly escorted out -- I was once "asked to leave" a startup that was facing funding challenges, it was a cordial request - they said they weren't sure they'd be able to pay me after a month or two, so they were asking me to tie up loose ends on some projects and leave before that happened. I ended up leaving and then doing some project for for them on and off for a year before they were acquired (and I even made a little money from what I assumed were worthless stock options) – Johnny Aug 5 '16 at 21:13
45

Keep it simple.

  1. Since you are still employed, you don't need to give any reason at all up front. There is nothing odd about looking for a new job, especially after three years' employment. It won't raise any concerns.
  2. If they do ask, give a simple reason. You don't have to go into the whole situation, or even any of it.
    • The best answer is to focus on positive reasons why you want to join the new employer, if possible.
    • If you are applying for jobs that are a step down from your current one, it would probably be good to give a more concrete reason for leaving--otherwise they might speculate what the problem is. I would say something like "My current position isn't secure for financial reasons; I'm looking for a more stable long-term situation."
  • 13
    Great answer. To use the OP's words, he should focus on "the desire to use the chance of changing workplace to its full". Instead of saying he's leaving due to "lack of motivation", he should turn that around and say he's looking for an engaging workplace. – Matthew Read Aug 5 '16 at 18:50
23

You could say that you were informally put at at risk of redundancy. This is an official status here in the UK that is part of the redundancy process: https://www.gov.uk/redundant-your-rights/suitable-alternative-employment

I suspect it will be similar in other countries. I have been in this situation twice and used it to explain why I am looking to leave a company.

They will certainly ask why you are leaving, and it gives you a good reason to explain without saying anything negative about the company or appearing to be mercenary, fickle, or stricken with wanderlust.

19

Based on your bullets, I would say

The company is having some financial difficulties and I was warned to start preparing my exit strategy. They've since told me they will be able to keep some people, and would like to keep me. I'm extremely grateful, but I feel it would be best to explore my options and find something with more long-term stability and growth.

This answers their question as to why you're looking. It also tells them that you've got a good relationship with management that they offered a heads-up about an impending lay off, and that the company still values you and wants to keep you.

The last sentence shows that you respect their desire to keep you, but that you want stability that your current company can't offer, but hopefully your new company can.

4

Spinning this as a positive will be difficult, especially if you're still interviewing when unemployed. You weren't laid off or fired so can't say that you were. You chose to leave without securing employment first and that's a pretty big red flag to most hiring managers. They vastly prefer to hire people who are currently employed. Virtually no one resigns without having another job to start and they're going to wonder at the real reason and you don't have one. Going into the backstory here may confuse people if you can't word it well. If it comes up in an interview you can use a variation of the standard layoff reason:

My (former) company was unable to secure some key contracts and was forced to downsize. As I had expressed a desire to move on in the near future we negotiated a notice period of [x] weeks.

That will work better if you're still in that notice period. In interview when you're already unemployed you'll have to tweak the last phrase somewhat. You can mention the fact that you were given the option to stay. You can further clarify that you felt confident in being able to secure new employment but that only works if you are in fact highly employable and your industry isn't suffering.

Since you're still employed, I'd strongly suggest that you discuss the terms of your departure so that they'll it a layoff instead of a resignation. Apart from giving you a better reason than "I left because I was bored" it can also get you unemployment benefits (which vary by state). Since the company is struggling they may be trying to guilt you into resigning so they don't get another layoff on their record which directly affects the cost of their unemployment insurance.

3

The main part of this is the phrasing used. Nobody has any issue that you were offered and accepted redundancy (ie offered money to quit) but that "accepted redundancy" sounds a lot better than "asked to leave", as the latter suggests they were not happy with you and told you to go away.

So, it simple to tell the truth in an interview, but when writing down the information simply state the reason for leaving is that you were offered redundancy.

You can use it as a positive message, partly that you are looking because you no longer have a job through no fault of your own, but also because you consider it a great opportunity to work elsewhere and pick up new working practices. You don't even need to mention that they offered you some temporary work, its irrelevant to a career more and could only confuse matters.

Oh, and never criticise your previous company, even letting you go can be a positive as it means they are managing their finances properly even if it means losing a valuable member of staff.

1

The core message should be:

You did not see a future there; your expectations to develop professionally where not as you wanted it; due to the company size/structure/finance situation your manager could not offer you this when discussing it.

1

Ok, I am the quastion asker and I will try to give my answer to the question.

But first of all, I would like to give my thanks to all the contributors! Really, it is thanks to you that I now have something positive to say. I got good advises from you. You, probably, made some good contribution to my future.

And the second thing I should clarify before giving my answer is the fact that contracts not being signed actually means that there are no new software development tasks for the nearest future. Well, there is some work for me, but it is old system maintenance work, not new development work. In simple words, there is nothing new, only old. Propbably, it was understandable without my clarification.

In the interviews I will say the following:

I would like to try something more interesting or new. There are no new software development tasks on my present workplace for the nearest future.

  • Exact words may differ in my language, just giving the general idea.
  • I'm comfortable with saying this.
  • These are two simple and short phrases.
  • Sounds to be true.
  • Sounds positive, at least not negative.
  • They look to me to be self explanatory / root reasons.

P.S. I'm not accepting one single answer, because I've come to something accepted after reading all the answers.

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