Tips for Answering Job Interview Questions About Resigning

Man resigning from a job

RF / Cadalpe / Getty Images 

Did you resign from your job, or are you thinking about it? Not sure how to answer the interview question, "Why did you resign from your job?" or “Why are you resigning from your current position?" You'll likely be asked this question during your interview.

Potential employers will want to know about your reasons for moving on, to help them decide if you’ll be a good addition to their company. When answering this question, you should strive to remain as positive as you can, focusing on why this new job is the right fit for you.

There are lots of good reasons to resign from your job. Some of them are easier to explain than others, and some should be phrased very carefully to avoid placing blame on your previous employer or colleagues. Hopefully, when you tendered your resignation, you were able to leave on a positive note, on good terms with your former company.

Remember to be honest with your response, but don’t mention any negative feelings you may have left with. Your explanation may well make it back to your previous supervisor, during a reference check or other routine contact, and your story should match what they will share.

How to Answer the Question

When answering this question, it’s crucial to try to remain positive. Keep your explanation brief, and turn the conversation to the qualities you have that will make you an ideal employee in the new position. Don’t go into detail about your terrible boss, or the horrible work conditions. You should answer the question honestly, emphasizing what you did like about working there, while explaining the unavoidable circumstances that led to your departure.

For example, maybe the job was ideal for right after college, but now you are ready for more responsibilities. Or perhaps the schedule didn’t fit your situation anymore, but this job’s schedule is ideal.

Along with being positive about your previous experience, you should keep the focus on the new job you’re interviewing for. Once you say why you left your previous job, you can give examples of the reasons why you think this new job would be a better fit. Take the time during your interview preparation to come up with a few examples of how you have successfully used the key skills for the new position during your previous employment. It will help you keep your answer positive while allowing you to segue into why you are an ideal candidate for the open position.

Sample Answers

Below are some sample answers to the question, “Why did you resign from your last job?” Use them to help come up with your answer to this challenging question.

  • I took this job right out of college, and the position helped me develop a number of skills necessary for this industry. However, there was little opportunity for growth, and I felt it was time to move on to a job with more responsibility. This job will allow me to use the skills I developed at my last job while taking on challenges that I know I am ready for.
  • I resigned because the schedule was no longer manageable. The position required me to be on-call evenings and weekends, and it was difficult to arrange childcare on short notice. This job will allow me to continue to use my nursing skills in a more ideal schedule.
  • I resigned because the position was part-time; while I loved the responsibilities I had there, I am ready for a position where I can perform similar duties full-time.
  • My skills weren't a good match for my previous employer's needs; however, it looks like they'd be a terrific fit for this position.
  • I've been working as a temp in the same industry, and with similar duties to the job here. However, I am now seeking a permanent position, so I resigned from the temp agency's staffing roster. I loved my time as a temp, and look forward to applying the skills I learned to a full-time job.
  • I'm seeking to grow my career with a position in a new, forward-thinking company. It was difficult to job search while working at my previous company, so I am now devoted to finding a position where I can put my skills and abilities to the best use. Your company is the type of organization where I think I can add value.
  • I resigned due to family circumstances; however, I have regained the flexibility I need to work effectively in a full-time job.