“Why are you looking to make a move”?

Being a professional Executive Search Consultant aka 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”?

This question is almost always asked, its what I call an “Obligatory question”. In other words, the employer is obliged to ask and a candidate is obliged to answer. Many times an inexperienced person will answer it as follows: “I believe in always keeping my eyes open,” or “I am always open to a better opportunity” or something along these lines. This is actually the worst possible answer someone can give in an interview setting. It is the worst thing a candidate can say because by saying something like this, it is telling the hiring authority that you are only about the “next or better” opportunity, and you are subtlety saying that you have little or no loyalty to your current employer, you have one foot in and one foot out. The natural response to this type of response is a growing sense of distrust by the hiring authority- they may be thinking “if this candidate is always on the hunt for a better opportunity, they will surely do the same if we hire them as well”.

In order to not give a misleading or unattractive impression, below are a few responses you might consider instead. Note: if you really don’t agree with the following, please don’t say any of the following – if you breach the truth in an interview and take a position, invariably it won’t work out well for you or your new employer. The responses below are only to be used if you can say them with conviction and sincerity.

Answer #1 “As a matter of fact, I am not out looking for a new position. I was told of this opportunity by ________(fill in the blank- my recruiter, my friend, an acquaintance who works for you) and it sounded like the type of position I have sought out for some time (or the company sounded like one that I had sought out for some time) and although I am doing very well at my current position, I also have a family to support and do have career aspirations so decided I would explore the opportunity more closely. A potential opportunity like the one we are talking about certainly warrants my attention. But as far as my status, I am doing well, happily employed and performing well”

The idea here of course is not to say anything disparaging about your current employer or otherwise complain about your boss, the pay etc. There may be issues surrounding your desire to explore “options” but how you phrase them is critically important. We will jump in to some of those examples next time!