One of the most common job interview questions is also the trickiest: “Why are you looking for a job?” 

If you’re too blunt (e.g., “My boss was a jerk,” or “I dreaded every single day of work”), you’ll definitely blow the interview.

However, well-worn replies such as, “I was no longer being challenged,” feel inauthentic and unoriginal.

Impress your hiring manager with one of these fresh alternatives.

1. Skill

I’ve had a great X years at (employer name). However, I’m really passionate about (area of expertise), and I discovered that there weren’t opportunities for me to expand upon and develop that skill in my (current/last) job. That’s why I was so excited to find this role—it will allow me to grow even stronger in (skill).

This answer is fantastic because it shows that you’re committed to your career growth. And because you name a specific capability, it feels more genuine than “I need a new challenge.”

Here’s an example of an actual answer:

I’ve really loved being a hotel manager for Carrie’s Hawaiian BBQ. However, I’m incredibly enthusiastic about finding new ways to improve the guest experience, and I’d look to work in an environment that supports innovation and experimentation in this domain. That’s why I was so happy to find this job—working for you would enable me to try different approaches and ultimately, make every guest’s experience even better.

2. Values

I’ve been interested in working for your company for years; after all, your (strength #1) and (strength #2) are (famous/align with my own values). Although I am happy in my current position, I could never let the opportunity to work for my dream company pass by. I’d be proud to work somewhere that believes (core value).

This response clearly displays pride for and an understanding of the employer’s unique, well-honed values. Obviously, you should only give it if you believe what you’re saying!

Example answer:

I’ve wanted to work for an Embassy Suites hotel for 6 years, ever since I stayed in your Brunswick, Georgia location. Everyone I interacted with was incredibly helpful and friendly, and I’ve since learned this is the norm for Embassy Suite employees. Although I am happy in my current position, I would be absolutely thrilled to work for my dream company.

3. Culture

I believe it’s very important to work in a culture that encourages (independence, teamwork, professional development, pride in one’s work, etc.) That’s the type of environment I thrive in—which is why I applied to this role. Your culture definitely seems to promote what I’m looking for.

If you want to prove to the interviewer that you’d fit right in, use this template. As a bonus, cultural fit is one of the main things hiring managers search for in new employees.

Actual answer:

A fast-moving, dynamic culture is incredibly important to me, as I believe responding quickly to changes, potential issues, and opportunities is key to success. I love that your company gives its team members the freedom to act without delay. In fact, that’s one of the main reasons I’m applying for this position.

Use one of these original approaches, and you’re guaranteed to impress the person sitting across the table.