Get it Right! 5 Ways to Explain Why You’re Leaving the Job.

March 23, 2022 Candidate Insights Article Written By: Chai Ling, Principal Consultant

You’ve finally decided that it is time to leave your job. But you now have to face your boss to inform your decision to resign.

Resigning from a job is like a breakup; just minus the romance. If you fail to do it right — not only would you offend your current employer, the ripples may have a negative effect because an informal call or an official reference check call can have an adverse impact on your future employer’s decision.

As recruitment consultants, we’ve encountered all kinds of excuses that candidates have shared when quitting their jobs. In this article, we’ve compiled the 5 worst reasons to resign, along with recommendations on how you can do it better.

#1 “I Don’t Have Work-Life Balance”

The excuse of the century: Work-life balance. Don’t get us wrong; it is valid to want a work-life balance. But if you are simply blaming the job for disrupting your life, this may imply that you have poor time management. That you only want to stick to the official working hours and are unwilling to contribute more when required.

If you’ve tried to manage time on your end but the workload was unreasonable, you can tackle this by being specific.


For instance,

The job required me to work 12 hours a day and every weekend due to lack of resources. I’ve always been willing to offer my support but it was requested too frequently which affected my mental and physical health.

A response like the above will help employers understand your intentions better than just wanting work-life balance.



#2 “I Can’t Get Along with My Boss or Colleague”

Dealing with difficult bosses or colleagues can make your work-life challenging. However, if you present this reason as bluntly as such, you’ll be perceived as a high-risk candidate who might quit again if you cannot get along with your new colleagues. Employers tend to avoid hiring such candidates because “work chemistry” is a tough one to predict.

Instead of just complaining about the working relationship, explain how this has impacted the work delivery. Talk about your efforts in getting things done, however, they were affected by human factors which were beyond your control, though nothing personal. Hence, you are now looking for an environment where you are able to perform at your best.

With such a response, employers will see you as a mature candidate who is simply looking for a more suitable environment that will allow you to perform.



#3 “I Didn’t Get Any Performance Bonus or Increment.”

Wait.. but isn’t this a fair excuse to leave? Think carefully.

If you put the blame on the company for the bonus or increment, the employer may think that it was you who did not perform well; therefore not getting the financial rewards.

What you can do instead is to show the employer your dedication to performing and that you are ready to grow the company together.

“I am looking for a company where I can grow my career further,” followed by an explanation of the values you can offer to the company.

Bonus tip: Ask the hiring manager if the company has given a performance bonus or increment in the recent year, or if there is a KPI system for you to work on to achieve the financial rewards. A good way to phrase your question can go like “Can you help me understand what I should do in my job to enjoy a high company bonus?”



#4 “I’m Tired from Travelling to Office every day”

This would probably be the lamest way of resigning from a job. It is acceptable if your office was relocated only after you’ve accepted the offer. Otherwise, your potential employer will question why you took the job in the first place if you knew where the office was located. Did you accept the job out of desperation?

Instead of complaining about how tired you are, you can phrase it as such:

“I realized the 2-hours spent traveling to the office every day has taken up a lot of my productive time and energy, which could have been better spent for work.”

When you can explain how traveling impacts your work productivity, employers will better understand your intentions of quitting.


#5 “I Am Looking for A Better Opportunity”

It is undeniable that we all seek betterment in our careers. Instead of saying that you want something better — which is very vague —  explain what you mean by “better.”

What kind of opportunities are you looking for? Do you have a preferred role or industry? Perhaps you are seeking to grow from a local to a regional role. Or moving from an individual contributor to a managerial role. Be clear about your career goal because this can help your hiring employers identify whether the company’s career path is potentially a suitable fit for you.



When resigning from a job, try to sit in the shoes of the employer and understand their perspective in order to come up with a suitable response. Be transparent with your reasons; keep it short and clear so as to avoid any misconceptions.

If you are still concerned about how to best explain your resignation to your next employer, you should consult a career coach like PentagonPlus! As one of the top recruitment agencies in Malaysia, we can help you lower the risk of rejection in your interview given our 12+ years of experience dealing with hiring managers and candidates. You can simply drop us an email to get started.