If you or somebody you know has rage quit, this is probably the most powerful advice you'll receive.
When you get asked the question, "Why did you leave your last job?" you need to have a solid answer. And by that I mean you need to be very objective. You need to talk the hiring manager through what you've learned and how you've grown, and you need to have some accountability.
You need to take ownership of your part in what happened.
How Job Seekers Can Explain Why They Rage Quit Their Last Job
So let me give you a scenario of what taking ownership might look like. If I asked you, "Why did you leave your last job?" you might say...
"I'm glad you asked me that question. It was a really powerful learning experience for me."
By saying, "I'm glad you asked that question. It was a really powerful learning experience," you're framing the story without the negativity so the hiring manager can listen to it in a positive light. Then you're going to say...
"I spent X years working there. I worked really hard, but the last year, particularly in the pandemic, was really difficult."
You're not oversharing. You're not getting into specifics. You're just stating where in the journey of working for them it started to go off the tracks. At which point, you can say...
"I made a decision to leave and I left in a little bit of an emotional state. I needed time to really process and get back to a better place where I could be the best possible employee."
That's an accurate statement. Right?
"As a result, I think that if you were to call them, they would probably tell you that they weren't happy with me leaving. But I want to be really transparent about that with you. And I want to tell you what I learned from that experience."
Now you stay positive, tell the truth, and take accountability.
"Once I collected myself, I figured out what I wanted to do next and realized I had to go out there and explain this situation. I never want to go through this again. So how I've grown as a professional is that I'm going to find a job that's a good fit for me, and if it starts to not feel like a good fit, I'm going to talk with my employer. I'm going to try to figure out things so that I can stay on track because the mistake I made in the last job is I kept my head down. I didn't process it, and I let it build up and that's on me. And I own that."
That's that ownership piece I'm talking about. Are you trash-talking, your former employer? You don't have to.
There are three sides to every story: your side, their side, and, somewhere in there, the truth. The hiring manager knows that you and your previous employer weren't perfect. But what they love is the way you framed this story using the "Experience + Learn = Grow" model which helps you talk about any experience in an objective way.
When you use this model to explain why you rage quit your last job, they'll thank you for sharing and move on. Plus you set the expectation that if they call in and do a reference check, they know that they're not going to get a glowing recommendation.
So please learn this, internalize it, work out what you want to say, and rehearse it a few times. You don't want to sound canned, but you definitely want to make sure you have all of those aspects in there...and then go out there and get yourself a new job!
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