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What should you say when asked why you would leave the company you founded?
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This can be an awkward question, but it’s an opportunity to make a good impression.

The question

Job Interview Questions: What should I answer when asked: Why would you leave the company you founded in order to join us?

The small company I founded 15 years ago is going bankruptcy.  I’m starting to look for a CMO or marketing VP at a medium sized company and I’m afraid this question will be part of the interview.

My answer

I think it’s best to just be honest. You’ve spent 15 years working on the company you founded, but it’s going bankrupt so you’re looking for work elsewhere.

It will help to be prepared to talk about why you think your company is going bankrupt. What went wrong? What did you learn? How can you apply those lessons to a CMO or VP of Marketing role at a new company?

Think about how you can leverage your experience running a company to benefit the new company that’s interviewing you. You have a lot of unique experience that other candidates for the same roles probably don’t have, so use that to your advantage.

It sounds like it’s probably been quite a while since you interviewed from the other side of the desk, so this free chapter from my book, Fearless Salary Negotiation, might be a good primer for you: How to ace your next interview. And you can get the full book here: Fearless Salary Negotiation: Get it here

Good luck!