“Ask Patra!” Column … Edition #009

Posted by Patra Frame

Each week, Patra Frame, a frequent presenter at the Cleared Job Fairs will answer a job seekers question. These are questions that are either asked at the Cleared Job Fairs or sent into Patra. The questions can range from job searching, interviewing, or career strategy.

This week’s question:

Q: I am currently searching for a new position after leaving my job after 4.5 years. When prospective employers ask me why I left my job, I’ve been trying to give a short answer without negativity. The truth is I left due to many negative things going on in the company, but I know it’s not good to be negative during interviews. Prior to this last job, I was at a different company for 6 years, so clearly I’m not a job hopper. I’m finding prospective employers wanting to know more details about why I left and then the conversation goes negative. Maybe it’s that their surprised I would leave a job without having another one lined up? How can I get around this?

A: Leaving a job without having another one does make most employers assume one was fired. When you feel the need to do that, you do need a good explanation — something along the lines of a combination that it was your problem and that you felt you could not do an effective job while doing a job search. So you might say something like:

“I loved my job and company but then there were some changes in management (or ethics/whatever) that directly affected my role and I did not feel I could do an effective job there any longer. And while I know it is easier to find a job when you have a job, I felt as if I could not do my best work for them and do a real job search so I decided to leave. I think the right employer will understand why and will look at my qualifications and ability to add value to their organization.”

Develop your answer to be short and simple. Then, so as to give your explanation comfortably, practice it with a good friend or peer. Otherwise your body will betray you and the interviewer will keep probing.

About Patra Frame

Patricia Frame is an experienced human resources consultant and executive. She has managed development of HR and administrative functions, organization development, employment, process restructuring for productivity, compensation, training, and the human resources aspects of mergers, acquisitions and divestitures. For more information, please visit

This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 18, 2009 5:28 am

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