Rethink your interview strategy

Transparency and honesty are always best practices when it comes to interviewing.  But, what facts and opinions should be volunteered versus asked for in an interview?  And how do you get across difficult past situations that you are trying to avoid in the future.  Even though first rule of thumb is NEVER talk negative about past employers, we’ll explore some common reasons candidates leave positions and how to better present those situations. 
1)           Trouble with my past boss.   The trouble with disclosing bad relationships with prior bosses is what a company hears is this person doesn’t like authority or can’t get along with people.  Instead of airing past frustrations, ask questions during the interview process that will help you explore management styles of your new boss to make sure they align with what you are looking for in your next opportunity.
2)           Work life balance.  If you are a candidate that has been affected by long hours with little time off, it is natural to want a better work life balance.  But communicating that can sometimes be difficult without having the company think you’re not going to be a team player and pitch in extra when it’s needed.  The better way to approach the situation is to ask during the interview what a typical schedule looks like and any overtime that is expected.  That way without say work life balance, you can figure out if that schedule meets your definition of what that is.
3)           Long commute.  This is a hard reason to communicate because what a company is considering is that you knew how long the commute was before you accepted the position.  That could bring in to question how they feel about your decision-making abilities.  If you’re going to use long commute as your reason for leaving or looking, make sure it is addressed as I thought I wouldn’t mind the commute but it wasn’t sustainable long term.
4)           No room for growth.  This can be a tricky situation.  If you are moving from your current employer because you’re not being promoted, your interviewer may wonder if there is a valid reason for that.  Make growth opportunities about the company you’re interviewing with and your excitement on the possibility for the position you’re interviewing for versus the lack of upward mobility in your current company.
5)           Location.  Unless your spouse just got transferred, location is not always the best reason to use when probed about why you are looking.  Stating things like I want a warmer climate could come across wrong.  The last thing your potential employer wants to be is your moving company to find a better opportunity when you arrive.  Rather, establish what ties you have to a company’s location that would demonstrate your long term fit to the area.
6)           I quit my last job to be able to look for my next opportunity full time.  Companies want employees that can make good decisions.  Rarely can you justify that as a good decision even if you have a spouse that earns a living, have money saved up, or are financially fit from other forms of cash.  In all these incidents, what an employer could hear is this person doesn’t need to work and could be a flight risk.