Why are You Looking for a New Job? And why is the Answer to this Question so Crucial?
You’ve likely landed on this blog post because you ran a quick search in Google for, “Why are you looking for a new job?” Among the search results, you probably found some useful articles explaining how to give an intelligent answer to such an awkward interview question. You may have even seen some sample answers which you may have found helpful, but were they?
There is a good reason why so much emphasis is put on formulating an answer to this particular question. The reason is that the answer interviewees give, indicates how much consideration they have given to their application for that role. Therefore, it’s a strong indicator of the level of commitment they are likely to give if offered the job.
With that in mind, if you are looking for a new job, it’s vital to have an answer prepared. But how meaningful is it to be able to recite a pre-prepared stock answer to a prospective hiring manager?
Of course, it demonstrates to the panel how much preparation you have done for the interview. But how helpful would regurgitating a stock answer be in guiding your future career in the way you want it to go? More importantly, finding a genuinely honest answer might just be the key to finding happiness in your future career.
What is ‘Your Why’?
Some people refer to this as finding their true calling, finding their purpose in life or working out their why. Whatever you call it, the differences in levels of job satisfaction between those who take time to work out what they enjoy doing, rather than focusing on a job title, are staggering!
Research indicates that only 10% of employees worldwide can say that they are happy in their jobs. Compare this with 73% of people who are satisfied where they feel they have a purpose.
So, if you’ve never stopped to ponder the question; “Why are you looking for a new job?” you might find yourself stuck in a perpetual job dissatisfaction cycle that looks a little bit like this:
The Job Dissatisfaction Cycle
- You’re bored at work and unhappy in your job
- So you decide to begin conducting a job search
- Upon finding some appealing job adverts, you update your CV and set about writing cover letters
- After some success with your applications, you attend a few job interviews
- Eventually, you excitedly accept a job offer
- You’ve enjoyed getting to know your team and begin to settle in
- But after a while, once you think you’ve learned all there is to know you start to get bored
- And so the cycle repeats itself, and you find yourself looking through the job boards once more
Finding Your ‘Dream’ Job
But what if it didn’t have to be like that? Well, if you genuinely make an effort to work out what the answer to that question means to you, you may find a job you’re happy doing. Furthermore, there is no time like the present for doing a little bit of soul searching to find out what role you want. So where do you start?
Well, for a start, we love this Ted Talk by Celeste Headlee! She has a theory that we should all stop trying to find our dream job because it doesn’t exist. Not that we all shouldn’t love our jobs but that we can focus so much on a job title that we could lose sight of what might bring us job satisfaction.
In other words, you can’t just read a job description and instinctively know that you would enjoy doing that job. On the other hand, you might read the list of requirements within the job advert and pick out elements of that job that you might enjoy.
Try Things Out
We don’t learn by thinking we would like to do something. The only way we can determine whether we enjoy doing something is from the experience of doing it. So, before leaving your current job, aim to try out as many different things as you can.
You could achieve this by going to meetups, taking online classes or gaining a few days work experience in another department. The aim here should be to focus on the elements of your experience that you thoroughly enjoy.
For example, if you enjoy complex problem-solving, you might find job satisfaction in Software Engineering. On the other hand, if you do not enjoy sitting at a desk all day, that could be a terrible career choice for you.
However, if you have a keen interest in technology but get a kick out of leading other people to help them achieve a common goal, a better choice might be Project Management.
Taking time to find out what works through trial and error gives you the chance to rule out jobs you don’t want without risking your career. There’s nothing worse than quitting a job, throwing yourself wholeheartedly into a new one and then realising it’s not working out.
Four Questions that will Help You Find a Job You Will Really LOVE Doing
What do you like about your job?
OK so maybe you went to university to study Computer Science, but now you work as a Software Engineer, you find it’s not quite as thrilling as you anticipated.
If you stop to question why this is, you might realise that while that particular job leaves you feeling unfulfilled, you still have a genuine passion for coding. Maybe all you need to find career satisfaction is to work on projects that you find more meaningful.
What do YOU think you do exceptionally well?
Nobody ever achieved great career success in something they were just OK at doing. Therefore, focusing on the aspect of your work where your strengths lie could point you in the direction of finding a satisfying career.
For example, let’s say you work in fashion retail. Although your strength is helping other people, you don’t feel like you have a real purpose. If Customer Service is your strongest skill, but you want to see the evidence of your results, you might be happier as an IT Support Technician.
What do OTHERS think you do well?
Sometimes things come so naturally to us that we don’t even consider them as being our strongest skills. Although if we ask our friends and family what they think we’re good at, we can usually spot a pattern.
Which parts of all these things do you enjoy the most?
In this cross-section, you will undoubtedly find the real answer to the question; “Why are you looking for a new job.”
When asked why you’re looking for a new job, of course, a well-rehearsed, pre-prepared stock answer would probably be enough to secure you the position. Although by not giving enough thought to this topic, might find you back in the same place in six months. Instead, is it not a much better idea to work out a more meaningful answer to the question?
Of course, there are other important questions you are likely to be asked during an interview. Therefore, the reason why you are looking for a new job should be just one of the elements you focus on as part of your interview preparation.
We hope that after reading this article, you will be in a better position to find a job you love doing! Once you have, you might like to read about tips for starting getting your new job off to the best possible start. If you found this post useful, please share it on social media where others can benefit from it too.