Difficult Interview Question: What Was Wrong With Your Last Company?
“Their coffee was legitimately disgusting. Have you ever sniffed something so foul that you could taste it? Imagine actually drinking it with regularity. Just awful stuff. It was like someone died in the coffee beans and we brewed it in a temperature that promoted bacteria growth. Once they refused to buy better coffee I was out of there.”
Chances are you left your last job because it sucked. The work was hard, the hours were long, the pay was inadequate and your boss’s breath often smelled as though he ate the same spicy Mexican food twice. For obvious reasons you do not want to share this with your potential employer, so your best bet is to choose something that is probably true, but wasn’t the first thing on your mind when you quit.
How to Answer:
Acceptable answers for why you left your last company include:
- There were not enough growth opportunities.
- You had doubts about the company’s long term viability.
- Corporate restructuring changed your role within the company.
- You moved to a different city/state.
- You wanted to try your hand at starting a business.
- You want to look for a company that better suited your long term goals.
Chances are if you hated your job, it was unlikely you were getting a raise or a promotion any time soon, so that last answer should be the go-to answer when you cannot come up with anything better. All of those are acceptable reasons to leave your last job. Hating anything about the job is not acceptable.
“My supervisor and I tended to have disagreements over the proper course of action. Over time I felt that those disagreements were starting to cause my anxiety at work, and I decided it was time to leave.”
“I realized that the job did not suit my long term vision. I wanted to work closer to the psychology field, but as my tasks started to change I ended up working closer with sales and marketing. I would like to find a career that I can do the work I am passionate about both in the short and long term.”
There you go. You left because you did not think the company would satisfy your long term career goals. Any time you are at a job you hate that answer is at least partially true, so if you cannot come up with a better answer, you can always go that route. Be prepared to explain what you mean.
Take Away Interview Tips
- Don’t give the actual reasons that you quit.
- Give reasons that are true, even if they were not the primary thing on your mind when you left.