Whenever you are looking to make a career change, you will be faced with the interview question “Why are you changing careers?”
And if you are not willing to answer, it can lead to job rejections and potential failure in your job search.
As a former recruit, I’m going to share:
- How to answer the question “Why change careers?” Interview question (and why employers ask this)
- 9 good reasons to change careers
- 4 answers to a sample interview of the word why you want a new career
- Mistakes to avoid when answering career change interview questions
Why do employers ask this interview question
Employers ask interview questions why you are making a career change because they want to understand your career goals.
In a job interview, they are not just looking to see if you can do their job well; They want to know if you are likely to stay long term and enjoy the work.
And the more you can show them that you have solid and calculated reasons for changing careers, the more comfortable they will be in employing you.
If you seem insecure, there is a lower chance that they will hire you for their organization.
They also want to make sure you have researched and taken the time to understand this new career / industry that you are looking to join.
They are not going to hire you if you do not seem to understand the job and challenges you face.
Finally, they hope to get a sense of whether you have succeeded in your previous career or not.
If you tell an employer, “I’m looking to move on to another career because I’ve received reviews for poor performance in my current job,” he will worry that she may have a hard time succeeding in his job as well.
So when answering this question, it’s best to focus on the good aspects you hope to achieve in your next job, and do not talk too much about the negativity of your past industry.
The only exception is if your industry is struggling as a whole and facing layoffs, downsizing opportunities, and so on. You will see this in the sample answers that will come.
Let’s see how to answer this question now …
How to answer “Why change careers?” In a job interview
When dealing with questions in an interview like, “Why are you looking to change careers?” You must address the question first and foremost with one or two clear reasons.
Avoid slandering your current job, employer, or industry, and focus instead on what you hope to earn in your next career path.
You can talk about how it is more in line with what you are passionate about or interested in, how you feel it is a better industry for future growth and job security, or how you have always wanted to be a part of this industry. Finally feel it’s the right time to change careers now.
Also, emphasize all the ways in which your skills and experience from previous jobs will be relevant to the new career you are pursuing.
If you can point out how your past job will help you succeed in this new job, it will make the interviewer feel better with the offer to offer you the job. And it will also explain why you want to move on to this new career or job.
It is also better if you point to one specific career that you are currently pursuing in your job search. If you tell the interviewer that you’re looking at five different new careers, it’s going to be questionable if you know what you want.
I will discuss this more in the “Mistakes” section later in this article.
In conclusion, there is no one “right” answer here, but you have to be direct and frontal. Avoid slander, and stay positive in your answer.
Do not worry if you are still not sure what to say why you are changing careers. In the following, I will give you sample reasons why you want to change careers, and I will give examples of a verbatim interview.
Why make a career change? 9 good reasons
- More opportunities for long-term career growth and higher pay.
- Personal interest / passion in the field.
- Create a greater social or community impact.
- Uncertainty about the long-term prospects of your current industry. (This is not considered defamation if you simply share your unemotional observations about the industry in general.)
- Looking for new challenges and personal growth.
- Getting a job that better suits your skills, experience and / or personality.
- Following colleagues from a previous company who made a successful career change and recommended you this new job / career.
- Higher wage potential. (It is best to combine this with another reason above.)
- Start a new career that better fits your idea of your “dream job”.
4 sample answers to “Why are you changing careers?”
Example Answer 1:
I want to change my career path to future growth potential and new challenges. I feel that my skills and experience will go well into this new career. For example, I saw that your job description was reminiscent of communicating with clients and being able to lead projects, which were key parts of my recent work. And overall, I have received career advice from several colleagues who have made the same career change successfully and recommended it as a way to grow, earn more in their careers and find new challenges.
This is a great answer to “Why make a career change?” For several reasons.
You point to your relevant skills and experience.
You mention a few colleagues who have successfully made this change, which will put the recruitment manager’s mind on whether to “train” in this new career.
And you explain your personal reasons for wanting this new career path … like a higher potential for career growth and profits.
This is a solid answer to an interview why you are looking to change careers. Let’s look at more examples.
Example Answer 2:
My current industry is struggling and I feel like this industry has a lot of overlap with my current industry and role so I can use my skills quickly to contribute, instead of starting over and learning from scratch. For example, in my current role, I manage projects for four to five large clients simultaneously and use many of the skills listed in your job posting, such as team leadership, meeting meetings and interacting with clients to provide progress reports and updates. So I see this as a way to move to a healthier and more stable industry while maintaining my relevant skills and ability to get to the ground in my next job.
Notice how this answer is positive and direct.
It also shows how you can perform well for this employer based on your previous work experience.
All of these factors make this a good answer that will chart the typical company.
Example Answer 3:
I am looking to change careers to join a company that is more in line with my personal interest and my passion for community service. I want to make a positive impact, not just help a company generate profits, and I love that your company has a focus on social impact and community responsibility. I read about it in detail on your website and in some of your recent press releases and this is one of the main reasons I wanted to apply for the position.
Example Answer 4:
Two colleagues from my previous company moved from the finance industry to the technology industry and said they found the job more exciting and satisfying. They convinced me it was a worthwhile career move, and since I have similar interests and motivations to those of both colleagues, I’m sure I would enjoy working for a company in the technology field. This is the whole focus of my job search right now, and I do not turn to any finance companies. I am not unhappy with finances; I just feel like the technology will be more exciting and more suited to my passions.
Mistakes to avoid in your answer
All of the above answers will impress an interviewer and successfully answer these difficult questions about why you are looking to change careers.
However, there are some mistakes that should always be avoided, so let’s go over each mistake now.
First, always address the question first and foremost. The interviewer will feel uncomfortable offering you the job if you seem to be evading this question, unwilling to answer or uncomfortable answering.
Practice and prepare a direct answer ahead of time.
Never go into an unprepared or unsure interview how you will answer this question because you are unlikely to find a great answer instead.
Then, do not sound uncertain about your decision to leave your industry and previous job. You need to sell yourself by sounding confident in your choice.
You can read again the end of the answer to the fourth example above to see how to do this. In the second half of this answer, you show the interviewer that all your focus is on joining this new industry, and you have no hesitation about your decision.
Employers do not want to hire someone who might change their mind after three months and decide to look for another job. So you need to sound less risky, and you do so by showing that you are confident about your decision to seek out a new career.
Finally, as mentioned earlier, never slander your job interview. Always sound positive and focus on what you gain in your next job and career.
Even if an interviewer asks you, “Why do you want to leave your current job?” This is not an invitation to slander.
Conclusion: Answer why you are changing careers
Answering questions about why you are changing careers should not be stressful.
Practice ahead of time, stay positive and address the question directly.
Show employers that you have strong reasons to make a career change and you will get more job offers.
And do not apologize for wanting to make a difference! It’s not bad to point in a new direction in your job search.
You just have to be willing to answer with confidence the interview questions you have on this subject, because employers will ask.
Your interviewer may even have changed careers in the past (you can research them on LinkedIn to see if this is the case).
They do not seek to deceive you or capture you; They just want to know your motives and reasons.