Why did you quit your first job

Job interview: this is how you can credibly explain the reasons for leaving the job

Not all job seekers are still employed in the application phase. There could be many reasons why you were or have been terminated. When the job seeker is finally invited to an interview, emotions often fluctuate between anticipation and fear. What do you tell the HR manager when he asks about your resignation? Which are the absolute no-gos? We would now like to clarify these and more questions about the reasons for termination in the job interview for you ...

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1. Reasons for termination and application - what makes it so difficult?
2. When will you be asked about the reasons for the termination?
3. No need to get nervous
4. Lies in the job interview?
5. Only 14 percent of German employees have never changed jobs
6. Tip: Eliminate deficits
7. No-Go: Frustration, anger and gossip
8. Give reasons for the termination in a credible and professional manner
9. Example: You quit yourself
10. Example: You have been terminated

Reasons for termination and application - what makes it so difficult?

There are numerous reasons for termination, always depending on the individual situation. The HR manager can see from your application that you are not currently employed. He will certainly want to find out more about the background in a personal conversation and ask about the reasons for the termination. On the one hand, he wants to find out here whether you have or have been terminated, and on the other hand, to what extent you were responsible for the termination:

  • Were you overwhelmed?
  • Did you have difficulties in the team?
  • Or with the manager?
  • Did you feel underpaid?
  • How high is your degree of frustration?
  • How professionally do you handle the situation?

Your potential new employer simply wants to know what to expect, what your difficulties might be, or what could be a reason for quitting. He wants to know whether you have voluntarily or involuntarily lost your job. However, only a few HR managers ask directly. Instead, many choose formulas such as:

  • "Are you currently looking for work? What's it all about?"
  • "Tell us more about your previous employment"
  • "Why do you want to reorient yourself at the moment?"

When will you be asked about the reasons for the termination?

The HR experts usually follow up if there are abnormalities or irregularities in your professional development in your résumé. These include, for example:

  • Phases of unemployment
  • Change or drop out of a degree / apprenticeship
  • noticeable change of industry
  • Termination of an employment relationship during the probationary period
  • Change between self-employment and employment
  • Internal transfers
  • Regional reorientation
  • or similar

No need to be nervous

But don't worry. Such irregularities in themselves are not a reason for you to get nervous. Many CVs today have at least one, if not several, such irregularities.

And since the world has to be ever faster and the workforce has to be more flexible, this will become increasingly normal in the future. The important thing is that you carefully consider the reasons for your status as a jobseeker, present them authentically, honestly but positively and so can deal with the unpleasant question quickly. Put yourself in the position of the HR manager or practice with friends and get advice. In the end, the potential new employer only wants one thing: to know who you are and what to expect.

Lies in the job interview?

Wouldn't it be tempting to just fool a little? After all, termination for operational reasons due to liquidity problems sounds better than an argument with colleagues, doesn't it? Not correct! In exceptional cases, you may use white lies in the interview, see "Inadmissible questions in the job interview - do lies really short legs?", But only in the case of inadmissible questions. The question about the reasons for termination, on the other hand, is permitted and must therefore be answered truthfully. If your lie later comes to light, the employer may otherwise terminate you without notice - and then you will have a real problem with your next application. Therefore: honesty lasts the longest.

Only 14 percent of German employees have never changed jobs

According to a recent study published on Statista, only around 14 percent of Germans stay with the same employer for their entire life. 66 percent change it around one to five times, seven percent even six to ten times in the course of their careers.


You can find more statistics at Statista

You are therefore not alone in changing jobs. But what are the most common reasons for employees to look for a new job?


You can find more statistics at Statista

61.6 percent of respondents said in the survey that poor pay would be a reason for them to quit. In second place is the bad working atmosphere. A long way to work, a lack of opportunities for further development and more responsibility will only follow at a great distance. Often several of the reasons come together and lead the employee to look for a new job. What was your main reason for quitting? Or have you been fired? Why? Be clear about this and have your answer to a relevant question ready.

Tip: Eliminate deficits

You were fired because you were overwhelmed, your professional qualifications were insufficient or you had difficulties with the team? It makes a particularly good impression at your interview if you can prove that you have already eliminated these deficits. Take a corresponding further education, a competence training or a computer course. You can find such offers at the employment agency or the local adult education center, for example.

No-go: frustration, anger and gossip

Speech is silver, silence is gold. Even if you still feel a lot of anger for your previous employer, are frustrated or feel completely unfairly treated: it is essential to keep the negative facts to yourself. "The job was too boring for me" or "The boss was difficult and choleric" are not the reasons for termination that the HR manager would like to hear from you in the interview. But it may well happen that he will consciously put you to the test, follow up or try to provoke you a little. Do not get involved in this, but always remain objective and sober. You can then let off steam while exercising. But what is the HR manager's intention? He would like to know how professional you are, how you will later represent his company and to what extent you will remain professional and sociable even in difficult situations. After all, if you leave his company at some point, he doesn't want you to talk badly of him afterwards.

Give reasons for termination credibly and professionally

But what does that actually mean: "Stay professional and be honest at the same time"? It all depends on the formulation. Try to deal with the question sufficiently, but as quickly as possible, and then look ahead again and talk about the future. Do not appear bitter and angry, but rather confident and goal-oriented. Focus on the factual rather than the human. This means that you would rather name insufficient development opportunities as a reason than problems with the boss. But don't forget: Always stick to the truth. For a better understanding we have put together a few examples for you:

1st example: You have given notice yourself

  • After the company was realigned and comprehensively restructured, I had the feeling that I had no longer been properly staffed with my know-how in the department. There was a lack of development and professional development opportunities. It's unfortunate, but I decided to reorient myself with another job.
  • It was actually my partner who started a new job in this city, but I also decided to accompany him and look for a new challenge.
  • I had the feeling that I was staying in the previous place below my possibilities. However, since it was a small company with limited career opportunities, I decided to switch to a larger, internationally oriented employer.
  • In my previous position, I stayed far below my possibilities and wished for a new challenge. Unfortunately, even after several discussions with superiors, we were unable to find an amicable solution. So it was time for me to reorient.
  • While the fields of work in my previous position were very attractive to me and I had a lot of fun, I unfortunately found the working atmosphere to be bad and, due to personal differences, decided to take on a new challenge in a company that suits me better.

2. Example: You have been terminated

  • Unfortunately, the company was fundamentally restructured. In the course of these rationalization measures, numerous jobs were cut, including mine.
  • In the course of an internal restructuring, I was assigned new areas of responsibility that did not match my competencies. We have therefore decided by mutual agreement to terminate the employment relationship.
  • In the course of a restructuring, my branch was closed. Moving was out of the question for me because of my family.
  • A brief crisis led me to a personal and professional reorientation. But I quickly found a new focus and I'm sure that this position suits me better and represents the optimal challenge for me.

As you can see, the answer has to be chosen very individually. Always make sure that the job change is presented as positively as possible and that your motivation and skills for the new job are in the foreground.

Do you have any experience, tips or examples on the subject of "Reasons for terminating in a job interview"? Then we look forward to your comment ...

Photo credit: iStock.com/FangXiaNuo

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