How do you explain why you quit your job?

Home / How do you explain why you quit your job?

So you couldn’t handle it anymore; the boss was a @#^@%$ and the co-worker a #%&$%^$!! and so you just told them to go and have a happy life but without your contribution and you quit![break][break]

That must have felt great the moment you did it and the morning after but then when you sit down behind the computer to search for other job opportunities it strikes you that most recruiters seem to take an interest in why you left the previous job.[break][break]

As is the case with many decisions in our life, all decisions are great at the time we take them. Some decisions, however, we regret years later, some we regret seconds later but a part of taking decisions is that you always may come to regret them later when circumstances either have changed or additional criteria start entering your decision model. Don’t look back too much, you can’t run your life looking in the rearview mirror but keep focused on the path forward. Remember the decision was great at the time you took it so stop blaming yourself and use your brain capacity to work on your next phase in your career.[break][break]

Never lie about quitting the job, you can’t introduce an uncertain situation that they may ever find out what happened at the start of a new career with a different company. My suggestion would be to be realistic and ensure the recruiter looks at it your way, a favorable way. Unless someone leaves for a giant opportunity, quitting a job without the next one lined up is being frowned upon. Although there are as many situations as there are people, and every situation is slightly different, there are circumstances that we see regularly;

  • Job related
    • Job too difficult
    • Job too easy
    • Job didn’t lead to any career
    • Job was not what they had told you
  • Non-job-related
    • Personality conflicts
    • Health related
    • Family related
    • Personal situation


You are probably familiar with the story about the glass; is it half full or half empty (and the engineer will tell you it is not properly sized). You want your prospective employer and their recruiters to get the right perspective on your situation (glass is half full) and so you need to ensure you find the proper way to tell your story like that.

Never try to explain them in detail exactly what happened. They won’t get it, they don’t know the players, they don’t know the company, they don’t know how the interaction was.

If your reason for leaving was job-related, speak in general terms; ” this job wasn’t good for me anymore”. This will suggest that you’ve had a period initially where the job was good but after things developed it was time for you to go. Next explain why you quit without another job being lined up also in general terms, think about things like “Staying would have been the easiest path but I don’t necessary go for the easy path and by leaving this job I could power charge my efforts to progress my career”.


If your reason for leaving had nothing to do with the job content but rather with your performance, or the performance as perceived by your boss, you will need to carefully craft your answers, again, not blaming the past boss but emphasizing the good stuff. Be general in your answer and consider things like: “My work was over time no longer appreciated as it had been in the past. With changes of the people around me, the focus in the company and the views on the path forward, I decided that there are other challenges, like the one in your company, that will fit my ambition and contributions a lot better.” In summary:

  • Never lie
  • Never blame your old boss or co-workers
  • Don’t go into details

We can help you craft your message. Contact us and lets talk  (302) 316-5627 (that’s 302 316 JOBS) first consult always free.