“Why Do You Want to Change Your Current Job?”


If a candidate already has worked for a few years, it is highly likely for him or her to answer questions regarding his or her reasons for wanting to change jobs. Because everyone has his or her own reasons for wanting a new position, there are no standard answers. However, not all answers are appropriate for interviews.
Candidates should avoid complaining because complaining reveals passive emotions, and passive emotions are usually infectious in a team. When a candidate complains a lot, his or her interviewer worries that he or she might become the source of passive emotions and affect the morale of the team as a whole.
Complaints often arise from four categories. These complaints should be avoided during interviews:
  • My boss is rigorous with high standards and strict requirements. If an interviewer is the manager of the hiring position and she hears such an answer, she might wonder if she would be the next rigorous boss after she hires the complaining candidate.
  • My teammates are not affable and friendly. If a candidate believes all of his or her teammates are not easy to get along with, the candidate may be the one who is difficult to work with.
  • We work overtime too often. All companies look for diligent workers, and it is not rare to work overtime in software and Internet companies. If the hiring position also requires overtime, this response may disqualify the candidate.
  • My salary is too low. Having a low salary is indeed the real reason many candidates want to change jobs. However, it is not a suitable time to discuss salary requirements during the technical interviews. The only purpose for interviews is to get an offer. Candidates can discuss salary packages with the recruiters when they pass the technical interviews.
    A recommended answer on job hopping is to use the job you are applying for as the model job: “My ideal job is to be working in the position you are hiring for because I am looking for a more challenging job. I do not have much passion for aspects of my current job, and I would like to take on a more fulfilling position.” Some detailed reasons should be given as to why you feel unmotivated on your current job and why you are interested in the new position.
    After I got on board, one of my interviewers at Microsoft told me that my answer was impressive. My previous job at Autodesk was to develop new features for Civil 3D, which is well-known software for civil engineering. I had to learn more civil engineering before I got promoted, but I was not interested in the domain knowledge such as earthwork calculation, corridor design, and so on. Therefore, I was looking for opportunities outside the company.
Technical Interview
After interviewers get candidates' background information through the behavioral interviews, they move on to the technical interview. Technical questions require about 40 to 50 minutes if the overall interview time is an hour. This is the most important phase of the whole interview process.
Interviewers are generally interested in skills in five categories:
  • Basic programming knowledge, including understanding of programming languages, data structures, and algorithms
  • Abilities to write clean, complete, and robust code
  • Capabilities to analyze and solve complex problems
  • Abilities to improve time and space efficiencies
  • Skills involving communication, learning, divergent thinking, and so on.
    Candidates should be well prepared before the interview and master knowledge of programming languages, common data structures, and algorithms. If the coding interview questions are simple, candidates should pay attention to details to write complete and robust code. If questions are difficult, they may try to simplify problems with figures and examples, and by dividing problems into manageable subproblems in order to get clear solutions before coding. Moreover, they should try their best to improve time and space performance. Candidates can ask interviewers to clarify their requirements in order to demonstrate communication skills. It is not difficult to get an offer if a candidate performs well on these factors. 
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