Why You Should Never Complain About Former Bosses

You're at a job interview. You're doing great, answering questions left and right. You're enthusiastic, upbeat, confident. Then they ask, "Why did you leave your last job?"

An image of your former boss, red-faced and screaming, pops your head. He was such a jerk! You desperately want to vent your frustrations and tell them why you HAD to quit, but you hesitate, thinking... is honesty the best policy in THIS situation?

There's no better way to present yourself as a whiner than to complain about a former boss or job. Even if you left a job because your boss was an egomaniac who took credit for all of your hard work, verbally abused you in front of others, and poisoned the plant on your desk, don't say anything bad about him/her during an interview.

If you do, the interviewer may think you have a problem with authority or can't get along with others. After all, they don't know you. And as an authority figure, they may more easily identify with your maligned former boss than with you.

It's best not to count on them believing YOUR side of the story, even if it IS the truth.

So instead of saying "My boss was an incompetent idiot," choose one of these sample responses, whichever fits your particular situation best:


"My manager and I both agreed that my advancement opportunities were limited there and obtaining another position was the best option for me and my career goals." Be prepared for a possible follow-up question such as "What ARE your career goals?"

"I wanted more challenging assignments." This is a nice way of saying you were bored out of your mind. Prepare to follow it up by saying something about being eager to tackle challenges associated with the position for which you are applying.

"I'm looking for an organization that supports its people." This could trigger the "Can you expand on that?" question, so be sure to have a response planned, such as "There weren't many training opportunities."

"My career goals have changed." This is a great response if you are going into a new field. However, companies want people who can hit the ground running, so be prepared to explain how your past experiences make you a good candidate for this new job.

One or all of these may be variations of the real story, so you won't really be lying about why you left your last job. You just won't be giving them the whole truth!

You may reprint/republish this article if you include my name and a link to this website.

Bonnie Lowe is author of the popular Job Interview Success System and free information-packed ezine, "Career-Life Times." Find those and other powerful career-building resources and tips at her website: http://www.best-interview-strategies.com.


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