Job Search & Interview

Why “Looking For New Challenges” May Not Be a Good Answer When Interviewing for New Jobs  

If you are considering jumping into the job market, you want to impress prospective employers. This is why you should think twice about telling them you are looking for new challenges.

The truth is, there are many reasons people leave their jobs. Low pay, long hours, bad bosses, boring tasks are just some of the reasons. But who wants to explain that to new employers?

You will want to make sure you have a good answer to why you are looking for another job. Your job interview will likely include a question like this. You do not want to come across too harshly when talking about your current employer.

But you also should realize that recruiters and hiring managers know when candidates are not being forthcoming. They have heard many applicants answer with the claim that they are looking for new challenges. This answer is a signal that the candidate is not being entirely forthcoming or may be hiding something about their previous job.

Avoid the over-used answer “looking for new challenges”

The response is used so much it is no longer taken seriously in job interviews. It is like the answer to the question, what is your greatest strength? When applicants say they work too much, this answer is not considered genuine anymore.

An interviewer is likely to think when hearing “looking for new challenges” that the applicant is just being nice. It is an answer meant to avoid talking poorly about a current employer. While it may be somewhat true, you could always find a new challenge in your current job.

Instead of just saying you are looking for new challenges, point out what excites you about the new job. You can also talk about the type of challenges you would like to encounter. Identify goals such as managing a larger department, learning new skills and starting a new career in a new industry.

The idea is that you can provide an authentic answer that offers insight into your professional goals. You do not need to provide an answer that is too vague and not very original. Your prospective employer will appreciate learning more about your ambitions and professional goals.

Read More: [Interview Q&A] How Often Do You Find Yourself Naturally Assuming Leadership Roles?

A better answer than “looking for new challenges”

Instead of using the answer that so many others already have offered, consider a different approach. For example, look for a way to show off your skills and experience, and connect how the new job is a better fit. With the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting that more than 4 million workers quit their jobs each month, employers understand that employees often seek a change.

You can show your interest in the new job by explaining how your skills have prepared you for it. You can highlight how you will be an asset to your potential employer. Perhaps there are more opportunities for professional growth in this new job that you will appreciate.

Your prospective employer will appreciate how you researched the position. Your answer can allow them to see you working in the role, using your skills. They will also appreciate how you have considered your professional development and goals.

Your preparation for the job interview and clear vision for your professional future are attractive qualities in job candidates. Also, let your prospective employer know how good of a fit you think you are for the company. Point out that you understand the company’s role and mission, and you can help achieve it.

It is never a good idea to speak poorly about your current or former employer

You want to be unique and authentic when you interview as a job candidate. But you do not want to come across as petty, bitter or disagreeable. That can happen if you are too honest about your current or former employer.

For example, you may believe your current boss is a bad manager and unappreciative of your work. But explaining that to your prospective employer may make them wonder how difficult of a worker you may be. It is never a good idea to speak poorly about your current or former employer.

It is not that your prospective employer will not believe what you say. It is just that such comments are not appropriate for a job interview. They appear to suggest that you are dwelling on problems from the past instead of opportunities for the future.

Everyone has experienced a bad job, low pay, poor management and toxic workplaces. As Vince Lombardi, the famous football coach said, “It’s not whether you get knocked down. It’s whether you get up.” There is no need to point out problems in your current or former job.

Instead, make the job interview a reflection of your vision of the future of you serving in your new position.

You do not want to be seen as a worker trying to escape a bad job. You want to be seen as a professional with many positive attributes that will serve your new employer. There is already an assumption that your current job is not offering everything you want, otherwise why are you interviewing?

Talk about your future; do not dwell on your past

The best advice for a job interview is to talk about your future instead of dwelling on your past. This will give your prospective employer a chance to see your vision. Let them see what it is you want to embrace, not what it is you want to avoid.

Your professional world is smaller than you think. This is why it is important to stay positive when interviewing with prospective employers. You never know who they know at your current office or whether they will discuss your interview.

When you tell your prospective employer your vision of your work with them, this gives them insight into how you think. You want them to perceive your ambition and work ethic. You want them to understand why you are the best candidate for the position.

You are in the best position when you interview for a new job when you have a job. This shows your potential employer that you are a valuable employee who has skills. You also have the advantage of walking away from a bad offer or room to negotiate for better ones.

Make sure you make the most of your interview opportunity to show your value as an employee. Do not waste time badmouthing a former or current employer. Be unique and authentic, but not petty and disparaging.

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About Author

Founder of With over 20 years of experience in HR and various roles in corporate world, Jenny shares tips and advice to help professionals advance in their careers. Her blog is a go-to resource for anyone looking to improve their skills, land their dream job, or make a career change.

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