More Interview Questions and Answers
Why did you only stay with this organization for such a short time?
Alternative and related questions:
Why did you leave that job?
Have you ever been made redundant and, if so, why?
Have you ever been fired?
The meaning behind the question:
This question is related to a question we've already previously covered, 'Why did you leave that job?' The difference here is clearly that they're curious as to, not only why you left that job, but also why you left it after 'such a short time', the definition of a 'short time' varying of course. The interviewer is hunting again for possible skeletons in your cupboard...
If you only stayed in a job for a short time then there was obviously a reason for this – but it may not necessarily be a positive selling point for you. Employers are always wary of hiring people who might not stay for long and especially people who have done a fair bit of 'job-hopping' in the past.
If the answer to the question is that you were either made redundant or fired then please refer back to question no. 27 in Chapter 3 where I cover how to handle these specific cases.
However, if you left of your own volition then why? Problems with your boss? Problems with a colleague? To deal with these, I'd suggest you refer back to the advice given under the top 10 question in Chapter 2, "Why do you wish to leave your current position?"
But there are of course many other possible reasons, for example:
- You found the job you took didn't turn out to be 'as advertised'.
- You found the job you took changed dramatically, for example due to restructuring.
- The next job you took was an opportunity not to be missed.
My advice is very simple. Just tell it like it is. You made a positive move for positive reasons with the intention of achieving a positive outcome – simple as that.
Shortly after I started with the company, external management consultants were called in and tasked with undertaking a major restructuring. While my role wasn't made redundant as such, it did change out of all recognition and it simply wasn't the job I signed up for. In particular, the marketing element was completely removed from my job description and yet that is my main interest and was what I had hoped I would be focussing on when I initially agreed to take the job. I therefore felt I had to look for a new job, one which would enable me to continue on my desired career path – and that led to my successfully being hired for my next job.
Word of warning:
As always, don't let this question tempt you into saying anything negative or critical of any previous employers you have had.
The Interview Question & Answer Book
More interview questions and answers
Talking about your current employment
- Can you tell me what you enjoy about your current job?
- What will you remember most about your last job?
- Is this the first time you have made an effort to move away from your current employers?
- How do you feel about the possibility of leaving your current job?
- How would you describe your current employer?
Talking about this vacancy
- Wouldn’t you be better suited to working in a larger/smaller organization?
- How do you feel this vacancy differs from your current role?
- What reservations do you have about your ability to undertake this job?
- Can you describe your ideal working environment to me?
- How do you feel we compare to our competitors?
- What would you say is our Unique Selling Point?
- What would be your analysis of the current trends in our industry/sector?
Understanding your career path, plans and ambitions
- What aspects of your career path would you like to have been different?
- What are your greatest regrets about the path your career has taken?
- What has been the greatest challenge you have faced in your career to date?
- What do you think are your main career options for the next five years?
- What exactly does the word ‘success’ mean to you?
Addressing problems in your career history
- Why did you only stay with this organization for such a short time?
- Why did you stay with this organization for such a long time?
Coping with stress and pressure
- Are you able to multitask?
- Can you juggle a number of different projects simultaneously?
- How do you handle rejection/disappointment/failure?
- How do you deal with interpersonal conflict?
- What does tact and diplomacy mean to you?
- What makes for a successful team?
Management and leadership
- Would you describe yourself as a good manager?
- Do you really think you’re management material?
- What is your attitude to delegation?
- Can you give me an example of a time when you had to lead from the front?
- Have you ever had to fire or lay off a member of your staff?
- How would you describe your ideal team member?
Personal and professional development
- In what ways do you intend to improve upon your performance?
- How has your current job prepared you for greater challenges/responsibility?
Interests and activities
- What book are you reading at the moment?
- What newspaper do you take?
- Are you interested in current affairs?
The amateur psychiatrist
- If you won the lottery what would you do?
- Can you tell me about the best teacher you ever had?
- If you could meet any historical figure, who would it be and why?
- What are you most afraid of?
Money, money, money
- Why aren’t you earning more?
- How much do you think you are really worth?
- How much does money matter to you?
- Would you still be interested in this job if you current employer offered a pay rise?
- Have you ever had to take a pay cut to keep your job?
- Have you ever asked for but been refused a pay rise?
Author: James Innes