3 Terrible Ways to Answer the Interview Question “Why Are You Looking For a New Role?”

There are no guarantees in life besides death, taxes and that during every first round interview you are going to be asked why you are looking for a new role. In fact it is likely to be one of the first questions that you are asked. And while it sounds like it’s a pretty straight forward question, the fact of the matter is its vitally important that you are answer it correctly. In my next blog post I am going to tell you exactly how you should answer. I am going to use this post to tell you how you should answer it if you never want to hear back from the company again. I am going to share three very common answers that I hear all the time as a recruiter that I absolutely recommend you never use when you are asked this question. There are many important questions you will have to field as a job seeker but this particular question can totally derail your candidacy if answered incorrectly.


  1. I am looking for more money


This is one of the answers I get all the time. Absolutely do not say this. Look, I have interviewed before and for me money has always been part of the motivation. Most people don’t show up at work Monday morning because they would rather be doing that than lying on a beach. They show up because they have bills. They have a mortgage, a trip they are planning, they like eating. People go to work because that is what they do for a living. So, obviously it would be crazy to think that money isn’t important to every single job seeker. So yes, while that might be a giant piece of your motivation pie chart, don’t say that. So why shouldn’t you answer the question like that you ask? Well I can tell you that no recruiter or hiring manager considers that a good reason to want to make a change. When you are being interviewed the people asking questions are going to want to hear things that make them compelled to hire you. You saying “I want more money” is not one of these things. Strictly from a recruiters standpoint the reason we don’t like hearing this is that if the principle motivating factor for you is compensation that means if we want to hire you we could also lose out on you if someone offers you more money. Now, I feel very strongly against accepting counter offers, I think it’s a terrible idea. But as a recruiter, if a candidate tells me the sole reason they are looking for a new job is the money, counter offer immediately pops into my head. Moving is hard and people don’t like change. So if we make you an offer and your current company matches that offer, why go through the trouble of moving? So not only might we lose out on you outright, it also means that we could find ourselves in a bidding war for your services. Nobody wants that. Hiring managers are usually thinking long term with hires as well, so when someone says they are moving for money, it leads them to believe that you might move for money again. Meaning they would have to replace you. For a variety of reasons it’s a bad way to answer that question. Look, you might be moving because you aren’t being paid your worth. Most of us have been there, you just shouldn’t say it. That being said, I know compensation is extremely important. In My eBook I devote several chapters to positioning yourself to receive the best offer a company would be willing to give you, countering offers and the best way to accept an offer.


  1. I don’t really get along with my manager


Right now I know some of you reading this are thinking “Come one Ben, nobody actually says stuff like that”. Well guess what, they do. For me, an ironclad rule of interviewing is that you should never speak ill of a previous employer. It doesn’t matter how terrible of a boss they were, simply put, you stand to gain absolutely nothing by badmouthing them to potential future employers. Speaking poorly of a former company or a former boss doesn’t make people feel bad for you. It makes them think that you are difficult or that you are incapable of adapting, both things you do not want them thinking. Even if the experience was terrible, it behooves you to talk about the lessons you learned and about how grateful you are that you gained this experience. You may be looking because you can stand your boss or perhaps your company stopped its annual Christmas party to save money and that is fine, just never say that.


  1. I don’t know, I just kind of wanted to see what was out there…


Believe it or not I get this one all the time. When you give a direction like that what you are actually saying is “I lack direction and make flippant decisions…oh and there is a good chance I am going to end up wasting your time”. Do yourself a favor and don’t give answers like that. Imagine you are on a first date and you ask the person you are taking out why they agreed to go on a date with you and they respond “I don’t know, I didn’t have anything else planned, so I guess this was something to do…”. How would that make you feel? How would you feel about your prospects of getting a second date? Do you even want one? Hiring managers and recruiters alike want to be talking with people who not only know what they want but have clear and concise reasons for wanting it. If you seem like you have no real reason for looking and no motivation for looking but here you are, it says a bunch about you and it’s not good. In my next post I am going to discuss exactly how you should answer this questions but in the meantime, don’t answer it like this.


So there you have it. Those are my 3 ways not to answer why you are looking for a new role. I can’t wait to write my next post because there are so many great ways to answer that question that will propel you to the next interview. For another post about avoiding common mistakes check out  3 Ways Job Seekers Sabotage their Chances at Landing a Job. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to ask.  Thanks for reading!

4 thoughts on “3 Terrible Ways to Answer the Interview Question “Why Are You Looking For a New Role?”

  1. Hello,
    I would rather answer: “if you had post this job offer three years ago I would have not sent my resume but today I think that I have gathered enough knowledges and experience to fulfill the needs for this position. In a word, I am confident that I will bring your company what is exactly required knowing that I will have to adapt myself to the company procedures but I will also be able to propose my skills and expertises”

  2. I will say : So many challenges I have tested in my occupation during my work experiences , besides I would like testing more challenges because its my nature to do new things more than anyone else, as well as if you try new things in your life you will learn and expand your mind also your experiences as well.

  3. i agree with Eric on this. You can can can certainly answer your recruiter that, “With my knowledge from the experience so far I think it is time for me to accept new challenges and go forth. I have proved i am excellent in my current role and hence I was looking for a change”. You can say :” Every day is a new experience to me even in personal life as well, so I am more than happy and confident to accept new challenges “.

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