NEVER criticise former (current) employers or colleagues

It’s a common question by potential employers at an interview to ask. ‘Why did you leave ……  position?’

It might seem to you to answer and justifiable to say:

  • ‘My manager didn’t have good managerial skills. I feel my knowledge and experience was carrying them.’
  • ‘I was working more hours than management for half the salary.’
  • ‘Their expectations were too high.’
  • ‘They failed to recognise my potential, even when I pointed it out to them, but it’s their loss.’

Your boss or colleagues may have appeared that way to you, and everyone is entitled to their own opinion, however if you feel like this I would strongly advise you speak with your employer and make them aware of this. Allowing them to understand what you are feeling, and to see can this be rectified. Sometimes a conversation is all it takes to open the lines of communications, in order for everyone to have that understanding and put things right.
If it’s beyond that stage, and you feel any of the above statements, don’t use an interview – which is about you to express this annoyance.

Many potential employers will view this that you have brought negativity to the interview, producing a red flag to the panel. The first thing you have done, is give a bad bitter vibe off about you. Please remember hospitality is a small industry, and the panel may know your manager extremely well. At the very least they will question your loyalty – not in terms of how long you stayed in the role, but in terms of how professional you are even after whilst working / leaving an organisation.

Please see how important it is that you always maintain professionalism in an interview, this will very much reflect on you!

ALWAYS Keep your emotions about past employers and work-related experiences under control. Venting and expressing your feelings about past employers or colleagues, does not portray a good picture and potential employers will not want to bring that vibe into their organisation.

Don’t sabotage yourself during job interviews. They are hard enough to get right now and think of the all the preparation you have put into getting to this stage, so don’t to undo all your hard work with unprofessional comments about past employers or colleagues.

Always keep the tone of the interview professional, and let your true personality shine through. Engage with the panel on other topics that you have spent hours preparing on delivering.

Think of other reasons to answer the question like:

  • You are looking for better career prospects, professional growth and work opportunities.
  • You want to join a larger company that development opportunities are available to develop within.
  • You want a change in career direction
  • You are looking for new challenges at work
  • You were made redundant.
  • Your company was restructuring
  • Your company underwent a merger or an acquisition – rebrand.
  • Your job duties have been reduced, or your job outsourced
  • You have to travel on business too often
  • You are employed on a short-term contract.

You have to keep the reason for leaving consistent during both the exit interview at your old workplace and the job interview at your new one. This way, your new employer will have no misgivings about you after performing a reference check.