Being a professional Executive Search Consultant a.k.a. Headhunter, for over 20 years, I have had the great fortune to be able to coach hundreds of men and woman through interview preparation sessions. I would like to share as many of the tips learned and shared as possible through a series of blog posts- today I’ll touch on one of the few questions I ever tell folks to prepare for in the interview and that is “I see you are currently at ABC Company, tell me, why are you looking at making a move”?

In my last post I covered some of the basics surrounding how to briefly address this commonly asked question in the interview process. In this post, I would like to add a couple of more detailed thoughts on how to and not to address this question that will certainly come up in the course of almost any interview.

As I mentioned in the last post, this is an “obligatory” question, one of the few that you can bet will be asked by any hiring authority for virtually any position. If you haven’t had a chance to review the last post, I suggest checking it out before reading this one as a point of reference.
I mentioned that it is important not to come across as someone who is always “on the lookout” for a better opportunity- that said, how can you address the question of why you are exploring opportunities or sitting in front of the hiring authority?

If it’s really about money

First off, if your real motivation is about money, usually not a good idea to lead with that answer- it will make you come across as exclusively money driven.
You may consider an answer that addresses money without saying it- for example “ That is a fair question and the fact of the matter is that I very much enjoy the role I am in and the people I work with, the challenge is that after X years there, it seems my professional growth options are not as great as I had hoped- I have a family to support and a long career ahead of me so am open to exploring companies and positions that will provide me more career development and growth potential” Of course this is a mouthful and needs to come across in YOUR own words, but the essence is the same, you need a better career path and baked into that comment is that your earning power is not strong enough.

If it’s about something else

There are frankly too many variables for me to address in this short post about all the real possible reasons you may have ventured into a job interview process. That said, I will cover a wide berth here. Most important thing- KEEP IT POSITIVE! For example, if your boss is a $%*& and you are just done with him or her then an answer may look like this “That’s a fair question and the fact of the matter is that I very much enjoy the role I am in and the people I work with, however, leadership has changed and the style and direction is much different than when I began X years ago- I have decided that I need to be in an organization where I can feel more a part of a team and where leadership is more engaged. That said, I continue to do well where I am and just started exploring options” Again, that’s a mouthful and needs to come from you but the point here is you can say what you need to say without it coming out negatively.
If you are not sure how to answer this question, prepare yourself before your interview. Ask friends or family to let you role play, say it out loud to them, get input on how you come across (genuine, negative, upbeat, forced etc.)- it will help lots.

Apply this same approach to other questions that you fully anticipate to come up in the conversation and you will be armed