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How Do I Respond To “Why I Left My Job?”


In today’s market are many factors that may impact your employment status. The following reasons are some of the events affecting why one may be unemployed.

Challenging Events to Explain in a Job Interview:

-Mergers & Acquisitions

-Right-Sizing (Down-Sizing)

-Oversaturation of the Casino Gaming Industry


-Elimination of Position

-Poor Performance


Other Factors and Explainable Events:

-Career Change

-Desire to Seek a Better Working Environment

-Family Demands

-Illness Amongst a Family Member

-To Seek Formal Education


Given any one of the above events except for job performance, it is easy to explain to a prospective employer that this situation has occurred. However, in the event anyone of the first items termed as Challenging Events to Explain in a Job Interview, should happen, the following tips and suggestions will prepare you to respond to such questions:


Mergers & Acquisitions

-This is an event that has been very common in the past several years. Be prepared to respond to industry trends. Recite the number of companies that have merged in the recent past and the number of employees that have been adversely affected. Much of this information is common knowledge accessible on the Internet, or from a library and can demonstrate that you were caught up in a natural event.



- Many companies have looked at their organizational structures and have adjusted reporting relationships, amended the workflow and have reengineered processes to enhance effectiveness. Often those that lose their jobs may be those that have skills weighted in areas in which companies no longer wish to engage. Or, there are too many employees with similar skills, which initiates a selection process to keep those they value, but who may not necessarily be better performers. Be prepared to respond to why you were not selected as a “keeper.”

Oversaturation of Gaming

- Lured by the tax revenue generated by the gambling industry, many states have been eager to cash in on casinos. Consequently, there aren’t many places in the US where a player can’t drive three hours or less to get to a casino. When gamblers frequent more casinos, the amount of revenue at each gaming establishment is reduced. To attain the desired profit goals, casinos must reduce expenses commensurate with revenues. Hence, oversaturation results in a streamlined workforce of employees who are cross-trained to fulfill multiple roles, both across departments, or within a department. Most HR Departments understand that oversaturation of gaming can lead to layoffs, or reducing FTE's by hiring more part-time than full-time employees. Sometimes this reduction in staff occurs based on seniority, which may not take performance into consideration.


- Many companies have engaged in cost cutting approaches that may benefit an organization, however, it has also been proven that cost cutting can be too deep and too swift. Be prepared to once again review the strategy of the organization and to site where in similar industries, this approach has worked or not worked. Again research is needed before responding to such questions.


Elimination of Your Position

- Companies frequently review products and new market segments, before they redirect their focus, eliminate workforces and hire new ones for the new venture, versus training existing staff. Often decisions are made to keep existing teams intact, honor seniority, or, your company may no longer be committed to areas in which you have strengths. These are all honest and valid reasons for you having been selected to leave the organization.


Job Performance

-Provided you were not terminated for business conduct, or the defiance of business policy/procedure, although a bit tricky, this is an explainable event, as well. You need to carefully review and consider to what extent this needs to be explained. Consider that one’s job performance has many phases of assessment and sometimes “underachievement” can be explained as relative to finding your present position unchallenging, thus motivating your desire to change your profession for a more challenging opportunity. Remember though, that whatever rationale you provide, can be verified via a reference check.


Other Factors-Explainable Events:


Career Change
- Six out of ten unemployed people say they are willing to switch to a new line of work to find a job. Whether you were happy in what you did, now is the time to make sure that since you have left your former position, that you find one that is fulfilling.


Below is a small representation of information that is available in various sources; if you are interested in knowing similar information, please email us and we will provide you with the source.


Note that most Americans switch careers three times in a lifetime. For example, in certain careers note the average number of years spent in that career:


Accountant & Auditor- 8

Civil Engineers-13

Computer Programmers-5

Hairdressers- 9


Sales Representatives- 9

Waiters & Waitresses- 4

Desire to Seek a Better Working Environment

- Since you have been in the working world for some time, consider the following questions as reasons that further support why you have left your job and are looking for a new position:

Sit back and consider if you had to do it all over again what job would you want to do? Be practical. Wishing to be something that requires years of training is unlikely if you need a position right away, but you must prepare yourself to respond as to why you see an opportunity to now move into a new position that is a side step from what you have historically done. So list your favorite career choices and narrow your choices down.


Family Demand

-Demographics of a family is the reason for employees to change their jobs. In many respects if an employer does not provide childcare facilities, flexible hours, four day work weeks, shift work etc., then, you may have chosen to look for a job that is more accommodating to improve your quality of life.


Illness in Yourself or an Ailing Family Member

- With aging parents and a more friendly approach taken by companies and the Federal Government to permit employees to take time off for ailing family members under the Family Leave Act, this needs very little rationalization, but be prepared to deliver a precise account of the circumstances. Additionally make sure to point out that the matter is under control, thereby resulting in your ability to return back to work.


To Seek Formal Education

- This excuse is a very rational approach to why you have left your position, particularly if the firm you left did not provide you with a flexible alternative to seek formal education, nor were they willing to subsidize the program.


As you consider your next career, ask yourself:

  • Will you enjoy the work?
  • Will the job present more opportunities professional and personal growth than your previous position?
  • What was the nature of the organization that you worked in and to what extent are you looking for an improved working environment, (i.e.. one that values cultural diversity and is less political and bureaucratic)?
  • Will you be able to afford your present lifestyle with the pay that you expect to receive?
  • Is the company financially stable and meeting budgeted goals?
  • What is the likelihood of another layoff, job elimination etc.?

If there are any other reasons that you left your job and wish to get our thoughts on how to respond to the question, please email us and we will try to assist you in formulating a response.