I have decided to leave my current job after 14 months because of 'irreconcilable differences' with my boss. Although I think I'm pretty good at getting along with people, she and I have never hit it off or forged any kind of workable relationship. How should I explain my reasons for leaving at a future job interview? I'm also worried any reference she provides will be less than glowing. Any ideas?
Johanna Simons, consultant, Macmillan Davies Hodes
Many people have had unexpected and unfortunate job experiences. If you have a fairly stable career background and this is the only position you have been in for a short period, there is less to worry about. Remember to behave positively at interviews. Do not create negative feelings about your current employer, it will be detrimental to you.
If pressed on your reasons for leaving, my advice would be to not make this the sole reason for moving on. Are there other cultural, development or support issues also affecting you or which are the crux of this relationship? If you do mention that you feel that you could not develop a strong relationship with your immediate boss, think of an example beforehand that you could use if asked, but make sure that it does not raise too many issues about your own interpersonal skills. And keep it brief.
Victoria Wall, managing director, Victoria Wall Associates
This is a difficult situation to be in, particularly when the role was good otherwise. You should prepare well for an interview, and think through a positive reason for wanting to move on. It is important to remain truthful about why you are leaving, but be brief, and as professional as you can; give two specific examples of how you tried to build a good relationship with your boss, without being critical or personal.
You may be asked to explain how well you have worked with other colleagues and you should give strong examples. The key is to turn negative information into positive knowledge - and to leave the interviewer with a convincing and professional image of yourself.
Do not be overly concerned about your reference. These have become very standard and contain limited information. As long as you have performed in your role and have a good employment record, it s