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Job Search Reason To Leave New Job

I have been at current job at a nonorofit for 4 months and boss is incompetent. How should I position the reason i want to leave when interviewing for new job?

I really like my co-workers and board and the mission of the organization. However, my boss is horrible. There is high turnover--for three of four director level employees there has been high turnover with 3-4 people being in leadership positions in 5 years. The two people before me stayed 10 and 1 month respectively. My boss is controlling, micro-manager, demeaning, negative, close-minded, procrastinator and totally unfit for this position. The organization could be so much better if she was not there. How do I position the reason I want to leave so soon? My boss is the only reason I want to leave. I was at last job for almost 6 years so I'm not a job-hopper.


(Associate) |

I'm going to ask this even though you may not be able to answer: Can you list specific facts to backup your thoughts and feelings about your boss? It would help to know them as it's possible someone here could help you deal with them enough to stay at your current position.
If not, I have some general advice. You should go to her directly to address some of the issues. Again, stick with facts. Many experts say to approach the topics by saying "when you do this, I feel...". That way you're not criticizing her, which makes most people defensive.
If she still won't listen, you're free to involve others, even the board, to talk about your factual concerns.
Lastly, if all fails, I was told by a recruiter to say "there was a difference in philosophy" as the reason I left. You are then free to explain your philosophies to the interviewer, which gives them a chance to see if you're a good fit culturally.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |

Why not say "Consulting" and it was a 4-5 month project. Don't get involved in personality conflicts, competency or any other issue. You went in, did the job successfully, and left.

(Associate) |

So what would they say if the interviewer asks to speak to the previous manager?

(Vp finance) |

I think it depends on the level of the position. For a lower level position, I believe you can discuss some specifics of the "old" position not being ehat you really wanted to do. You were limited in growth potential, I also think you can reveal some philosophival diffrence. At a higher level position, I agree the main discussion needs to focus on differences in philosphy, management styles and expectations that surfaced once on board. But be prepared to elaborate somewhat because the interviewer should probe some. Good Luck

(consultant) |

Can I ask why we spend so much time and consult experts to learn how to disguise the truth? As an employee I
want to be somewhere where they would understand why working for a horrible boss wasn't a winning scenario and as an employer I'd love to not have to dig through canned answers for the truth from candidates- Why do we continue to construct imaginary selves as candidates and why as employers do we want to hire them? Is it simply because we fear a similar person will tell the truth about us? Tell me where I'm wrong- I'm so confused about our work culture.

Carla Gordon
Title: Accountant
Company: Govt
(Accountant, Govt) |

I agree with you , anonymous; I left my last two positions because of horrible bosses. Unfortunately, everyone has been drilled to think that if you say your boss was horrible, you will say the same thing about them, and you must be a negative person or a troublemaker. I would have liked to have told the truth, too, because I really had to stretch to come up with a credible answer as to why I would take a lower salary and position. If anyone can change the culture, I'd be all for it.

(consultant) |

I for one am going to make a stand in my own truth and be reckless with business norms that aren't serving anyone. I'll let you know how it goes. I hope it catches on.

(Associate) |

Perhaps that's the key: a candidate who states facts instead of saying the boss was horrible. As someone who hires, I would lean towards a candidate who says they left (or was let go from) their previous job because of x and y over someone who says their boss was horrible. Of course my personal experience lends itself to this opinion too.

Michelle Jane Bitoon
Title: Human Resource Management Officer I
Company: National Food Authority
(Human Resource Management Officer I, National Food Authority) |

At work, it is important that you love your job as well as the people you are working with. If you don’t like it anymore because of your boss then LEAVE. There’s no reason of staying in a job that you are not happy. Seek for a job that will make you happy. Remember that happy employees are peak performers. Spread your wings and look for another job!

When the interviewer asks you about your previous job just be honest but remain positive. NEVER say anything bad against your previous employer unless it was really offensive and unlawful. Rather, sell yourself and be the best person for the position.


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