How to Answer Why Did You Leave Your Last Job? (Call Center Interview)

“Why did you leave your last job?” I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts that this will be asked during your call center interview. So you surely don’t want to ignore this.

The general rule to remember is this: don’t lie. The interviewer will know it. Also, most applicants aren’t good liars but most interviewers are also good detectives who ask questions that make Pinocchio’s nose grow taller than Trump’s Tower.

Your lie will reflect on your body language, your trembling voice and stuttering response. Besides, some companies run a background check on their newly hires. You might get away with it during the interview, but they’ll eventually find out sooner or later. As always, the sooner, the better.

Why did you leave your last job?

1.) You were laid off.

If you were one of the unlucky employees who were let go because the company underwent a major loss which resulted to a lay-off, you don’t worry about it. This is beyond your control and the interviewer won’t take it against you.

Based on what I know, the newly hires exit the company first when budget cuts happen. Last in, first out. This means, you shouldn’t have any problem as long as you can explain why you were one of the employees who were laid off.

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Sample Answer:

Unfortunately, the company lost a major client so they had to cut back their cost. Since I was one of the newest hires, they had no choice but to let me go. My boss however, can assure you of my performance and she’ll be happy to provide a good reference should you ever need one.

Why this?

The applicant assured the interviewer that the reason of the lay-off wasn’t about her performance but due to the company’s budget cut. What’s more, she even added that her previous boss would be willing to give her a good reference. This strongly supports her claim that she was indeed a performing employee and the interviewer has nothing to worry about.

2.) It’s the company’s fault.

Did your previous company promised something they didn’t do? Did they do something illegal? You can be completely honest with it. But remember to provide a reason, otherwise, your statement will go against you.

Sample answer:

I decided to leave my job because of the the health insurance they promised to provide after 6 months of my employment but didn’t happen. After the 7th month, I decided to talk to the HR and was told to wait the next month. After 2 month of that conversation, the promised health insurance still didn’t happen and . I’m a single mother of a 2 year-old boy and I couldn’t afford to not have an insurance incase I get sick or get into an accident.

I always make it a point to work up to my company’s standard or even better that that, but I’d also need my company to stand up on their promise for their employees.

Here, she talked about a specific and valid reason why the last company was an unethical one to work with. And not providing health insurance within the promised time is just not a good company practice. No doubt about that.

3.) You’re looking for a better salary

Some applicants may advise against citing money as the reason for leaving your last job. But hey, isn’t the main reason why most of us work is money? Big yes for me!

Here’s the catch though. You need to be able to tailor your answer in a positive note, otherwise, you could put yourself in a bad light. I wrote a full article about this: How to Answer: Why Do You Want to Work in a Call Center?

4.) You were fired.

You really need to be careful on this one.

Common reasons why employees get fired are performance issues and company policy violations. My advise is to just come clean and assure the interviewer that whatever the reason you were fired, it’s not gonna happen again. Deliver this answer as sincerely as possible and your interviewer should understand. Mistakes happen and we, including the interviewers, know that.

Sample Answer:

My boss caught me sleeping during my shift and he was so upset that she fired me. The day before that, I attended the bestfriend’s birthday party. We had a really good time and I totally forgot the time. The next day, I had no choice but to go to work instead of calling in sick or worse, absent. Unfortunately, I could no longer bear my sleepiness and fell asleep on my desk. When my boss saw me, she was so upset.

I do respect her decision and I know that it really was my fault but sleeping in the workplace is definitely not something I normally do. That would be the first and the last time. The next time I do something that will likely affect my productivity at work, I’ll set specific hour for sleep. I’ve learned a lesson from that experience so I guess it wasn’t that bad after all.

Here, the applicant expressed regret over what happened, admitted his mistake, and provided an action plan on how to avoid the same thing from happening again. He made a point to explain that sleeping at work isn’t his habit. Lastly, he noted the silver lining of that bad situation by saying he learned a valuable lesson from it, which wasn’t really all that bad.

5.) You hated the boss and the job.

Well, when I told you not to lie, I didn’t tell you there’s one exception to this rule. Not all lies are bad, and sometimes, they are necessary. Imagine a social gathering without lies. Everybody would be at war!

No matter how shitty your boss was, or how pathetic the job was, and no matter how  you think you could convincingly deliver these facts, hold your tongue. Never let the interviewer hear any of it. It will backfire on you.

Complaining about how you hated your boss or how your job sucked creates the impression of you being a complainer. Nobody wants a complainer in the workplace.

Instead, say something like this:

I decided to leave my last job because I want to seek other opportunities. My job of three years taught me a lot of things and I had a great time. However, since last year, I’ve been thinking about getting into the BPO industry. Every call center agents I know seem to really stay in this industry and that fact just keeps my interest growing, so here I am now. I’ve had several friends who started from becoming an agent and now they’re managers and team leaders. There’s so much opportunity in this industry that I don’t wanna miss.

Why this?

The applicant didn’t bad-mouth the company. In fact, she said she’s learned a lot and had a great time. Lastly, she drove the topic back where it matters- to her job application. She praised how her call center agent friends enjoyed their work in the BPO industry and how she wanted to be a part of the prosperous industry.

No badmouthing, no hard feelings, the interviewer sees you as a positive, professional and cool person. Everybody’s happy.

Alright, I hope this will help you with your interview. Goodluck!

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6 thoughts on “How to Answer Why Did You Leave Your Last Job? (Call Center Interview)”

  1. Hi, the reason why i left my previous job was that i got sick, and i advised them(the company that im working at) that im suffering from hyperthyroidism, and they told me that they cannot accept me anymore, there’s a risk that it would get worst if i continue working there (printing company). How can i explain that?

    • Hi Luz, that is certainly not a problem. The BPO company you’re applying for won’t take it against you. Just make sure that you’ve completely recovered from hyperthyroidism, otherwise, you might have a problem with your medical record.

  2. hi! what if the reason i left my job is i got pregnant and my OB adviced me to have a complete bedrest bec.of hypertension. How do i add words on these to have a positive effect on the interviewer? thanks?

    • Hi Jul. Health issues and matters that requires medical attention are acceptable. You don’t need to sugarcoat any of these because these are totally understandable. People get sick and need doctors and rest. 🙂 So no worries. Just tell your interviewer this and you’re all good. 🙂

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