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Discussion Question

Interview Pitfall

I worked for a company that does transportation on demand and is constantly in the news concerning their treatment of customers and employees. I left the company at the end of my first year, despite loving the work I was doing, because I found company culture to be so toxic.

I was lucky, in that the first job I got after leaving didn't ask me about my experiences there or what caused me to leave. Now, however, every interview I have asks why I left and starts asking questions about the company culture. Some of the questions have been way too personal. and I don't want to spend my entire interview deflecting questions or being asked to trash talk, my former employer.

Any ideas about what I can say when I'm asked why I left and how to steer the conversation back to the interview?

Fairygodboss member GlendaTheGood

  • Fairygodboss member

    The answer that you enjoyed what you did and learned a lot, but the culture was difficult to manage is also a good answer. Try to turn it around and ask the interviewer to describe the culture where you are interviewing. Both sides want to make sure it is a good fit. Once you have had a bad experience, you don't want to jump into another similar situation. You will never know for sure, but if you have any doubts, ask to speak with more employees, especially those you will work with most often.

  • Fairygodboss member

    Remember that you can be authentic without having to spill your guts! Discuss the aspects of the job that are relevant (i.e. what you did, what you learned) and just give a vague response to questions about the culture there; something like, "Yes, they're working through some issues."

  • Fairygodboss member

    Absolutely! This is a common interview question and you're right to try to steer away from trash talking your former employer. You can always say that you loved the work that you were doing but you feel like you maximized your experience there and you were ready to take on new challenges in a new atmosphere. This type of response is also a good way to direct the conversation in your favor because it gives you the chance to elaborate on why you're excited about a prospective job/company, how it fits in with your interests/experiences, etc.

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