Changing a job, or even a career, is nothing unheard of in 21st century. Days when people used to have the same job (and the same partner) for a decade or more are long gone and forgotten. We have more choices now, it is relatively easy to gain new qualification and learn a new skill, and most importantly, people seek their personal happiness, and want to work in a place where they feel good, respected, and earn enough money to meet their basic needs and enjoy some everyday pleasures. So why do the hiring managers ask how long you have been considering making a job change?

They have a few reasons. First of all, they want to understand where you stand with your present employer, and how serious you are about changing jobs. Secondly, they want to assess their negotiation power. If you’ve been looking for a new job for a year already, with no success so far, they know that they do not have to offer you some outrageous salary to get you on board. Last but not least, they want to hear more about your reasons, why you want to make a change. They do so to understand if they can offer you what you are missing with your present employer.

Let’s have a look at 7 sample answers to the question. Do not forget to read also my notes below the answers, for additional hints and explanations.


7 sample answers to “How long have you been seriously considering changing jobs?” interview question

  1. I have been seriously considering it since I saw your job offer for the first time. I do not want to say that my current job isn’t a good match to my skills and preferences. It is a good match. But I always wanted to work for your company. As soon as I saw the job opening, read the job description, and realized that I would have a decent chance of getting an interview, I decided to apply with you.
  2. To be honest, I have been considering it ever since I started with my present employer. When I accepted my present job I had my back against the wall. The bills were pilling up, and I could not afford to reject the offer, though I didn’t particularly like it right from the start, especially the night shifts. Such shift patterns have bad impact on my health and mental well-being. So as soon as I got the job and started earning money, I was already looking for something better. I know it may not be the best example of employee loyalty, but you have to understand that I wouldn’t accept my present job in normal circumstances. I was forced to do so by my financial situation.
  3. For about a year to be honest. But I wasn’t particularly active in my job search. I still enjoy my present job, have good relationship with my colleagues, and do not have to force myself to get up from bed in the morning. However, I understand that I’ve learned all I could on the position, and there is no room for career growth in such a small company. You should know that I’ve talked about this with our CEO, and they know that I am seeking a new job, and support my in my efforts. They are a great leader and support me in my professional growth, even if it means leaving the company.
  4. Even now I am not too serious about changing jobs. But I know there is a huge demand for young engineers, and I like to have some informational interviews, explore opportunities in other companies, and basically see what’s possible at this stage of my career. Of course, if I really find a fitting role with one of the employers–be it you, for example, and you offer me competitive remuneration and working conditions, I may seriously consider leaving my present employer and starting with you. As I’ve said, however, so far I am only exploring opportunities.
  5. To be honest, I have been seriously considering a career change for over a decade. But it is such a big step, and while my kids were still small I didn’t find the courage to make my move. The truth is though that I haven’t been enjoying my present job for many years, and do not see any meaningful purpose in this work. Now my kids are already grown up, we are not tight with money, and I feel it is finally the right time to follow my calling, and do something I will enjoy doing. And that’s the reason why I am in an interview with you.
  6. It depends on what does seriously mean to you. The thought has lingered in my head for some months, true. But at the same time I am not a job hopper, or someone who quits when first difficulties present themselves. On the contrary, I try to face the challenges, communicate the issues with my managers, and find the way, so I can stay in the company, continue bringing value onboard, and at the same time at least somehow enjoy my job. But the workload they’ve assigned me lately is just unbearable. Our department is heavily understaffed, and though I raised the issue with the managers repeatedly, I do not see them cutting back on projects or hiring new staff. Hence I have no other option than looking for a new job. If I stayed here too much longer, I would experience burnout without a doubt.
  7. Ever since we got the new management onboard. They brought their own people with them, and changed the methodology of work completely, and I can say that it does not fit me in the least. It’s just not anymore the job I wanted so badly, the company I admired for amazing working culture and employee benefits. All of that is gone now. The only thing the new management cares about is profit, and they do not care the least about the price we–the employees–have to pay for greater corporate profits. I want to tell you that I’ve talked to many people from your business, I know how you work here, and how you treat the people. It is exactly what I am looking for, and a completely different attitude than the one managers have in my present place…


It is fine to point out something negative, but you should avoid being personal

Remember that nobody wants to hire an employee who will complain about everything and everyone. At the same time, however, you should have some reason for wanting to change jobs. If you lack such a reason–or struggle to express it in an interview, they won’t hire you either.

Your reason can be bad management of the company, heavy workload, bad relationship with a particular manager, lack of career growth opportunities, low salary, or something else. You can even say that you outright hate the job, and have it only because you had your back against the wall and had to accept something back in the day.

If you say so, however, you should always explain your reasoning, and ensure the hiring managers that you’ve read their job description carefully and did your research, and are 100% sure that you will find with them what you are missing with your present employer. Focus on the future, instead of dwelling on the past, and complaining loudly about this or that.

You do not have to seriously consider changing jobs while going to interviews

90% of people interview for jobs because they either do not have a job and want one, or because they seriously consider leaving their present employer. However, we still have the remaining 10%. And you can easily belong to the group.

These people–typically guys with great qualification, lots of experience, or a degree from some Ivy League university, are simply collecting information and exploring opportunities. They like their jobs, but they also know that they are “wanted”, that many companies would love to have them onboard.

And so they apply for jobs, go to interviews, network with hiring managers, and basically explore what’s possible. They do not consider changing their jobs seriously though. But they will change them, for example if they get an offer for 100K annual salary somewhere while they earn 70K with their present employer. If you are lucky enough to find yourself in their shoes, you can openly say so in your interview…

Ready to answer this one? I hope so! Do not forget to check also 7 sample answers to other tricky interview questions:

Matthew Chulaw
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