Preface: I'm currently very satisfied with my job, and it's everything I wished for when I finished my Masters (4 years ago). Now, I'm considering applying for a new job, because my current company is not doing well, and I think some of might be laid off in near future.

The job I'm applying for is in the same field I work in now (say energy efficiency of buildings), but instead of being a consultant to construction firm as to how they can reach their goal, I'll now be selling heat pumps.

They want an engineer with technical experience, not a person specialized in sales. It's relevant, I know about heat pumps, but I like the technical aspects, the analyses, computations etc.

(Assuming I'm called into an interview:)

When I apply for this new job, should I be honest when the interviewer asks:

  • "Why do you want to get a new job?"
  • "Because I like new challenges, and this seems like a natural step up from being a consultant. Also, the firm I work at now is not doing well financially and I would rather work at a place where the morale is high and where there are things to do."

or even (this is a borderline dupe of this. The difference is: I'm not laid off yet, but I might be later):

  • "Because I like new challenges, and this seems like a natural step up from being a consultant. Also, I've been given a (formal) warning that people in my company might be laid of in the near future. I would rather work at a place where the morale is high and where there are things to do."

Normally I think the answer would be: Don't say anything about the financial situation, it's irrelevant for the job you're applying for, and normally I would agree. However, the field I'm in is small, and the moment someone at my firm gets a message saying the company might have to lay off someone, the people at the other firm will know straight away. I have reasons to believe that some of us (or all) might get this message before the other company decides who to hire.

I believe this will put me in a bad light, because they'll probably see through it and assume (correctly) that I applied because of the situation my company is in now. They'll also think I'm dishonest. If I say it as it is in the interview, I will have "control" of the situation (but maybe reduce my chances at getting a job).

What should I do if I think such a warning might come, but I haven't received it yet? And what to do if I get the warning before I'm called in to an interview?

Edit regarding the potential dupe:

IMHO, I don't think this is a duplicate. It's known that the company is not doing well. The mother company is listed on the Stock Exchange, and the financial records for 2015 of the daughter company I work in are publicly available. Most companies in my industry struggle at the moment, and many companies have already had several staff cuts already. It's not a matter of ethics towards my current company (I won't reveal anything not publicly known), it's a matter of appearing professional and honest. If I say nothing about the financial situation being a motivator, and the news about staff cuts are out in the media two days after then I have some explaining to do (if I even get to come back). I could say: "The company is having financial troubles but that's not why I'm applying for this job", which would give me better odds, but it would be a lie.

  • The linked question doesn't seem quite a duplicate. You've not been laid off yet.
    – Brandin
    Oct 26, 2016 at 6:48
  • I wouldn't mention it at all. It's really not relevant. Oct 26, 2016 at 7:42
  • Don't need to be blunt. Say it between the lines like John stated in an answer. Saying the truth does not mean you have to say whole truth because that will might create wrong impression. Not super ethical? perhaps, but unfortunately that's how interviews work. I don't think people would hire me if to the question "why do you want this job" I would answer "I like not being homeless and eat sometimes" although it would be hilarious. Oct 26, 2016 at 8:15
  • It's a duplicate, because the different details between the two don't fundamentally change the situation or the advice. You could apply the answers there.
    – jimm101
    Oct 26, 2016 at 11:39
  • IMO, I can't apply the answers there, but I guess I haven't been able to explain my case properly. It's fair enough, it's my fault. Unfortunately I don't think I'll be able to explain this any better. Thanks for the link though @Lilienthal, there were somethings in there I can use :)
    – CG.
    Oct 26, 2016 at 11:49

2 Answers 2


While the potential to be laid off is a factor, I wouldn't be so direct. You could say that you are looking for something more stable, more long term, while also seeking new challenges.

Unless you are actually laid off, it is not the reason for leaving.

  • The more stable, more long term part sounds good :)
    – CG.
    Oct 26, 2016 at 11:38
  • Yes, those keywords ('stable', 'long term') are code that any interviewer is going to recognize as meaning your current job isn't either, but you're tactful enough not to say so outright.
    – SWalters
    Oct 26, 2016 at 15:00

Personally, when I was in this situation, I was upfront. The company has become unstable, and my position is likely to be eliminated. I am looking for a job/career that offers a greater sense of stability.

If this new company feels they are a stable company, they will appreciate that you value that. If they do not, or are not stable, that is not somewhere you want to be anyway.

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