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Why are you looking to leave?

Why are you looking to leave?

If you’ve ever interviewed for a new position, you’ve undoubtedly been asked this question. It may come in various forms and tonalities depending on the interviewer, but you can count on this question being asked at some point in the interview process. As Executive Recruiters, we’ve asked this question thousands of times.  I’ve heard answers ranging from, “you called me, I’m not looking” to “my boss is a jerk and I need to get out of here.” Often times we represent candidates who are not actively looking, but “always open to listening” which is a great place to be. Don’t go shopping when you’re hungry!

As Executive Recruiters, our job is to create an optimal fit between candidates and clients. Good Executive Recruiters achieve this by asking “Why are you looking to leave?” and great Executive Recruiters go one extra step. They investigate if the candidate’s reason for leaving matches what the client can offer. We refer to this as motivational congruency.  For example, if a candidate is looking to leave because of an impending reorganization or restructuring, the candidate likely wants to know “how stable is the organizational structure of the company they’re interviewing with?” Essentially, we need to ask, “can the client scratch the itch of the candidate?” Do we have motivational congruency?

Like other sales qualification processes, the first reason a prospect or candidate provides is never the entire story. This is not done to be intentionally deceptive, but our first reaction as humans is to provide a narrative that makes sense and sounds seamless. Often this can present as guarded and keeping your hand close to the vest. So, let’s go to the next level and make sure everyone’s time is being valued.  Time is the one resource we can’t get back so make sure you’re working with an Executive Recruiter who will value this precious resource.

Written by Jim Schafer