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Is it fine during a job interview to affirm that one my reasons to look for a new opportunity is boredom in my current position?

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    Translate it to 'looking for new challenges'. – user207421 Nov 22 '16 at 3:53
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    Why are you bored? What would you rather be doing. Does the new job do what you'd rather be doing? – Nathan Cooper Nov 22 '16 at 8:45
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    Only if you don't actually want to get the job. – RedSonja Nov 22 '16 at 12:10
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    Well, if you don't mind that "I was bored" leaves so much room for interpretation, go ahead. But "I was bored doing my job" sounds suspiciously like "I don't really want to work and am really incompetent, and I'll leave your company as soon as my mood changes". Try to avoid negative things like this - it's quite counter-productive say all those things that bothered you about a job. Find the things you want from a job, not the things you don't want. "Interested in juggling multiple projects at once, exploring new approaches and technologies, boldly go where noöne has gone before". – Luaan Nov 22 '16 at 14:55
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    @Kyle - what Luaan said. "I am bored" can be translated by a busy and stressed interviewer (who may also be bored) as; I only want to do fun jobs, the nuts-and-bolts can be done by lesser mortals; I'd rather surf the web than work; I am too dumb to find or ask for something useful to do; I can't be bothered to test or document my work, it's done when I lose interest; etc etc. – RedSonja Nov 23 '16 at 8:33
126

Is it fine during a job interview to affirm that one my reasons to look for a new opportunity is boredom in my current position?

It's fine as long as you have a great answer to the question "Why should we expect that you won't get bored and leave here?"

You might be safer keeping the boredom aspect to yourself.

As @DoritoStyle points out, it might be better to rephrase the problem in a more positive light (For example: "I'm looking for more challenging & rewarding work!")

And if you take that approach, be ready to answer "What about your current job isn't challenging enough?" and "What about your current job isn't rewarding?"

Think hard about what you could see in a company before you sign on that would indicate you'd be bored again. Then when it's your turn, ask questions to that effect during your interview.

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    Along those lines, it might be better to rephrase the problem in a more positive light (For example: "I'm looking for more challenging & rewarding work!"). – user30031 Nov 21 '16 at 22:46
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    Spontaneity will generally polarize an interview. Either you knock their socks off and they want to hire you on the spot, or you crash and burn and they bin your resume. Generally, I'd stick to the script you practiced in an interview and leave any spontaneous elements at home. Plenty of time for strokes of genius after you get hired. – corsiKa Nov 22 '16 at 20:41
  • @corsiKa Oh yes. Being interviewed is as much of a skill as doing the interviewing. It's incredible how many people thing it's fine to wing it, on both sides of the fence. Practice, warm up before the interview, make a list of things you want to cover (don't forget about what you want in a job)... if you're good enough, you probably won't get enough interviews in your life to really get a feel to drive that spontaneity, so crash and burn is probably a lot more likely, especially if you don't practice :) – Luaan Nov 23 '16 at 9:21
100

No.

Being bored is simply a state of being. It doesn't even need a cause. You can be bored of anything.

The key is you (hopefully) go beyond boredom and analyze what is going on. Are you unchallenged? Is the work repetitive? Are you working too far below or above your skill level? List the aftermath analysis instead of simply "it was a boring job."

The term "being bored" also has close ties to being entertained. I can assure you no employer cares about entertaining you, nor will they hire you for your entertainment. To put it bluntly, being bored is literally your problem. You need to show how you solved that problem.

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    Being in an interview shows how they solved the problem. It's also why it's something i'd expect candidates to flatly lie about in an interview setting, in much the same way we'll tell a candidate it's an exciting and challenging opening, when it's neither of those things. – Sirex Nov 23 '16 at 20:55
  • @Sirex Being in an interview is NOT how they solved the problem; rather how they ran from it. You are partly correct about the lying part, though, but I'd say that's when the candidate doesn't have anything better to offer. Otherwise, there are really answers that can be given in place of having to lie. – cst1992 Nov 24 '16 at 5:54
  • You often just can't solve boredom in a job. You can live with it, or change the job, or change job. If you've no leverage for the middle option (which is often the case), your hands are tied. I'd rather interview someone that had the courage to take the risk of leaving a job than someone that put up with it for years and ended up bitter and stale. – Sirex Nov 24 '16 at 19:53
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Never complain about your current job. Say that the company is great and you enjoy the work, but you have found that you're ready for position that lets you use or grow a specific skill set - and make sure that skill set is what they're looking for. Then pivot and talk about how exciting the opportunity is to you.

When the interviewer asks you why you're leaving a job, they want to see if you're really into the opportunity at hand, just looking to get out of a current work situation, or trying to get a job offer from them so that you can negotiate a raise from your current employer.

If they prod you for more information, make a sheepish face and say "Let me reiterate that I've really appreciated my years as Acme, but currently there's no upward path of mobility for my position. I see myself as a senior "<job position>" in five years and I'm hoping your company will allow me to grow in that direction."

  • 1
    Spinning it as having "outgrown" the current position is very positive - "I'm hoping your company will allow me to grow in that direction" is a great thing to say, especially if that company is hoping someone will grow in that direction. It's always worth emphasizing that you plan to learn and grow on the job (and thus make yourself a more valuable employee). – pjmorse Nov 22 '16 at 18:20
11

I have interviewed a lot of people. If someone answered boredom as why they were leaving their current job, to an interviewer, that would be huge red flag. All jobs have boring aspects and boring days. All of them.

Saying you were bored would make me wonder if you will be challenging to work with or have unrealistic expectations. It would make me wonder why your current workplace didn't feel the need to move you to more challenging tasks and I would wonder if that was because they considered you a poor performer. It will make me think you are less than mature and didn't have the judgement to know what not to say which is critical for good performance above the most junior level.

Bored is actually one of the worst things you can say about your current job even if is boring.

  • 1
    I emphatically disagree, and see my answer for detailed reasons why. It depends, and it depends on the specific details why - whether the role is below their aptitudes, offers zero progression, or not. – smci Nov 24 '16 at 15:54
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No. You can say it plenty of other ways, but simply stating on paper that your reason for leaving was 'boredom' makes it sound like it's all about you. Employers want to know how you can help their organisation be more successful. They aren't interested in providing refuge for overly gifted staff to be constantly stimulated.

You can spin it plenty of other ways, however. Is it that you are 'bored', or is it that you feel that "your position doesn't allow you to create real impact for the organisation?". As a manager who has recruited countless staff over the years, I can't tell you how valuable it makes you appear when you come to me wanting a job because you want to create impact in the organisation. It should not be about you - it's about your prospective employer and how YOU can help THEM.

During the interview it's a different story. If they are a 'people' organisation, they'll probably sense that you are bored anyway, and ask you to talk more about that, as well as understand what kind of work you need in order to feel challenged and engaged.

3

Don't do it

First, that might be consider as you are person who needed to be guided entire time, and can't find find work (or challenge) for yourself.

Second, might imply you wan't be good in performing simple boring tasks. Let's say honest, even if you are working on most interesting project in the world. There will be some amount of simple and boring tasks to do.

Third, in general talking bad about old job during interview is consider as bad practice.

2

The only correct answer to this question is "I'm looking for better opportunities, to better utilize my skills and with more opportunities for growth"

Just stick with that.. it vague enough to mean anything, says you have talents and expresses the desire for long term employment with growth (Ie promotion)

Yes you are not really answering the question but that's not the point, ALL answers to interview questions should server your purpose/agenda. Even if the answer of "bordom" is not held against you, it's still not a good answer because it does nothing to help you.

  • @dan1111: not so. Looking at this and my answer, there are clear cultural differences between US and European interview-speak (you're in the UK). Obviously, after deploying that phrase, the interviewee needs to have specifics about how they can and will make a difference, the role, their specific aptitudes etc. – smci Nov 24 '16 at 15:45
  • @smci, I agree that it's fine if you back it up with specifics. This answer, however, appears to argue for sticking only to generic platitudes, even suggesting "vague enough to mean anything" is a good thing. That is what I was reacting against. I don't think this is a US/Europe difference (currently working in the UK, but I'm American and have spent most of my life in the US). – user45590 Nov 24 '16 at 16:47
2

tl;dr not being challenged is not necessarily a disqualifying character flaw as the others seem to think. Depending on the circumstances, it could be a very good sign or a bad sign.

Rather than use the b-word outright, which would come across as slightly unpolished, you should use the vernacular which is 'lack of challenge' (EDIT: in US resume/interview culture). Try to have a couple of specifics: did you want to build a product/ an API, lead a team, solve a specific problem...?

And expect that they'll (explicitly or implicitly, at some point in the interview) counter with "Why should we expect you won't get bored here?", and be prepared and able to turn that around into a constructive and relevant list of things you can do for them, which is where you show you've done your homework; this is often a very good way to redirect the conversation back to learning what their priorities are (or aren't).

(Caveat: don't do this when applying for a junior job or a genuinely boring job, obviously.)

PS: I've also interviewed quite a few people. Like most technical types, I appreciate people being clear, honest and cutting the crap, just as long as they keep it upbeat, constructive and truthful. So, if you aren't challenged, don't be afraid to admit it. Sometimes you can tell just from the resume, or their personality, or their current employer and title, whether they're not being challenged, before you ever meet them in person. The last thing I want to hear is fluffy stuff like "your company will give me opportunities to grow".

There are different types of boredom. If you are doing a task that is repetitive, I want to see if you can script it, automate it, parameterize it, generalize it, propagate that methodology to other people or tasks. Whereas if you want to move from level-1 customer support (email/phone) into presales AE, or testing/QA, or devops, or development, or whatever, most rational people can get why you would be bored. (Some roles even come with the expectation that you will learn everything there is to know about the role in 18 months; or burn out within 18 months; which is to say if you didn't get bored within 18 months, there's something wrong with you.)

  • For some unknown reason, I'm getting lots of downvoters (+3/-3). If you think is bad advice, or can be improved, tell me why. I'm mystified. Maybe US interview phrases differ to other countries. In the US 'more challenge' or 'more responsibility' is canonically considered a good reason to give for changing job; what that actually means (type of work/responsibility/compensation/seniority) is left unstated until they get to that. – smci Nov 24 '16 at 15:30
  • @JoeStrazzere: You may not be aware of this, but some roles, such as outsource level-1 support or callcenter jobs, have zero progression opportunities, and 40+% turnover; everyone's simply on a tour-of-duty. As told to me by veterans of level-1 support, VPs of customer applications and others. Not everyone has a permanent employer, let alone one that actually genuinely does career progression and takes the time and effort to understand what to do with its people. Do you claim this is not the case? And more so for contractors. – smci Nov 24 '16 at 15:52
  • @JoeStrazzere: again, it depends. If "level-1 support" consists of merely telling customers why feature X doesn't work, and/or has had a bug filed against it for the last 5 years, and R&D are "looking into it", but "at this time we can't give a specific release commitment", then both that person, the support dept and probably the company don't care much about their customers. Most action-oriented people would either move into development and fix stuff, or at minimum raise detailed bug reports with reproducible testcases and make things happen... – smci Nov 24 '16 at 16:15
  • ... But being content with merely "empathizing" then diplomatically telling the customer to take a hike, would pretty much disqualify them in my eyes, even though at some places it earns you $200K+bonus+stock+car allowance. – smci Nov 24 '16 at 16:17
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    I did not downvote this. But to be honest, I find this answer confusing. You start off saying no, don't say you're bored. But the response in the second paragraph seems to be to someone who did say that. And also your "cut the crap" point would seem to suggest you should say that you are bored. The last paragraph is a good point, but it's not clear how that should translate into the interview. Overall, I think it just needs to be clearer what you are advocating. – user45590 Nov 24 '16 at 16:53

protected by Jane S Nov 23 '16 at 20:22

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