A reader writes…
I recently quit my job due to conflicts with my manager. It was not a pretty situation. How do I explain this in a job interview, without sounding like I can’t respect upper management?
I am so sorry you experienced this predicament. Leaving a job on “bad terms” with your manager never feels good and can certainly make upcoming interviews a little awkward, to say the least.
The fact of the matter is some people just don’t mesh well. People are different, personalities vary, and work styles don’t always jibe. Heck… that’s what makes the world go ‘round, right?
Just because you conflicted with one person, does not necessarily mean you can’t, or won’t, work well with another – and it certainly is not a reflection of your skills, abilities, or accomplishments that are (hopefully) listed on your résumé.
Here are a few thoughts to consider when the inevitable question, “Why did you leave your last job?” comes up:
- Be open and honest (without sounding negative, resentful, or bitter). Explain that you were unable to progress in your current position due to differences of opinion with your direct supervisor. You can elaborate on attempts you made to work together and be flexible… but that in the end, it just wasn’t a good fit. From there, you can go on to say how much you think the company you are applying to is a perfect fit for you. Do your research about the company and sprinkle in some details you learned… ALWAYS impressive!
- Try to turn the negative situation into a positive one. Okay, I know I may sound like a Pollyanna right now, but hear me out! Conflicts with your manager taught you a lot about yourself. What you can (or cannot) tolerate, things YOU should probably change or improve about yourself, what types of work environments suit you best, etc. From this experience, you now know what you want (or need) in a manager. It’s the perfect segue for YOU to be the one asking questions during an interview. You know, tap into the management style of your next potential boss! You can simply address the question by stating that your working relationship with your previous manager was an “invaluable learning experience” but that you’re ready to make a change.
- You could refrain from explaining the specific situation about your manager and simply state that you were ready for a new challenge – that you had learned all that you could in your current position and felt ready to move on.
I hope you find these suggestions helpful and wish you the best of luck!
Hey readers! Anyone else been in a similar predicament? How did YOU handle explaining the situation in an interview? Post your comments here!