How to discuss why you’re leaving a job you hate

We recently had a candidate who, for very good reasons, hated the job they were in and had a very bad relationship with their current boss. This came across very clearly at interview and, unfortunately, from the feedback we received from our client, this was a very big factor in why he wasn’t successful.


There are various reasons why slating your current role or boss can hurt your chances at interview;

  • If your language is negative then it can lead to an assumption that you are a negative person
  • Hiring managers are looking for people that can solve problems, not moan about them
  • If you are saying negative things about your past employer/boss, will you say the same about them when you leave?


So how do you talk about negative work experiences?


Be honest, but don’t overshare

If you cannot stand your boss/Karen in HR/the whole marketing department, you don’t have to share that at interview. It is unlikely that this is your only reason for leaving so focus on the other reasons instead.


Make the experience into a positive

If you are looking to leave because you’re bored in your role, highlight that you are looking to develop your skills. If it’s a dead end job, you can say that you feel you’ve developed as much with the company as you can, but that you’re looking to take the next step in your career. At the very least you should highlight at least one positive about the company/role/team before mentioning a negative ie “I have a great relationship with the team but I’m looking to work with newer technologies”. If possible, briefly explain what you’ve done to overcome the problem.


Get advice for more serious issues

If there is a more serious issue which no amount of positivity will overcome, then have a chat with your recruiter about the best way to tackle it. If it is something legal that is likely to come out at offer stage then it’s best to be upfront. If a company is going to have an issue with what’s happened then it’s best to know at an early stage.


If all else fails…

If there really is no way you can make something into a positive or other areas you can focus on, then think about the language you are using whilst tackling the issue head-on.  Make sure you are professional and don’t make a personal attack. Interviews are not places to vent your frustrations – they are there to sell yourself and why you are perfect for a particular job.


Victoria Harlock

Victoria is the Office Manager here at Corriculo Ltd. After working as Recruitment Consultant for 5 years, she moved into Office Management over 11 years ago now. Victoria was one of the first members of our team and deals with all of our administration and accounts. Connect with her on LinkedIn