Whenever we find ourselves interviewing candidates and going through their career history, we usually ask a person why they left a certain job – particularly if they were not in the role for long.
We expect to hear answers such as; ‘I left because I was head-hunted’, ‘career growth’, ‘the company downsized’ etc. We do not expect to hear answers such as ‘I hated my boss’ or ‘I was tired’’.
When you answer a simple question like this, you are revealing your integrity, loyalty to a company and therefore, are being judged on how you will operate in a new environment and organisation.
You may well have fallen out with a boss and he or she may have been a psychotic lunatic, but you cannot ever say this in an interview situation! If you talk poorly or complain, it sends a red flag that you are unprofessional and cannot manage conflict to the interviewer.So think carefully about how you would handle this question. Decide in advance how you can answer such a question in an honest, yet diplomatic, way.
One approach is to say that you had differing professional attitudes that were not conducive to a long-term relationship. Most interviewers will get the message, but you also need to ensure that there is no doubt in the mind of the interviewer about your personal performance or ability to handle conflict in the work environment.
So again, try and make sure you convey that you DO manage conflict well.