IQ: What’s Prompting The Change?

By Eddy Ricci, CFP  –  

In our IQ! posts- we explore interview questions and take the perspective of both the candidate and the employer in the wealth managment field. How would you answer these questions?

“What’s prompting the change?”

Employer Side:

This is a fair game question to ask, early in the interview process to get to the candidate’s points of discontent in their current role.  Sometimes it’s obvious- such as they were laid off or relocated.  When it isn’t obvious- ask the candidates, “if there were only two reasons why we are talking right now and you are looking at a career move- what would those two reasons be?”

“Growth”, in some fashion, will likely be the vague answer that you receive.  The obvious follow up question here is “growth means different things to different people- what does it mean to you- in the context of a career change?”

Listen carefully to see if their answers are more about boredom or income.  The adage “it’s always about the money” is still true to an extent- but gen y and gen z care may not hold money as the end all- be all as earlier generations do.  

Growth could mean:

  • No foreseeable advancement in income
  • No foreseeable advancement in responsibility or role
  • They are doing the same mundane activities everyday
  • No professional development
  • No influence in company direction
  • No title changes
  • No platform to share their talents or gifts

Throughout the interview you want to highlight how your opportunity CAN and CANNOT scratch those itches.

  Your company, role and mentorship is not perfect and it is not completely customized for this candidate.  Share both sides.  

When asking “what’s prompting the change?” you will have your antenna up on any disparaging comments about their former employer.  How they handle any frustration with former colleagues or bosses will be important to intake. 

In most cases if a candidate is averaging less than two years in each past employer, it is fair to ask

“What has prompted X amount of changes in Y amount of recent years?”  

And follow it up with…

“What information do you need to know and who do you need to meet in our process to make sure you are well equipped to make a decision for the long term?”


For the Candidate Side:

When asked “why are you looking to change jobs?” you need to have an intentional and somewhat concise repsonse.  There may be numerous reasons, but how can you succinctly say it in a few sentences?  Also, drill down on the one or two issues that drove you “over the edge” to look for a new gig.  There will always be 10-20% of your role that you may not care for, but what are the reasons that make you dread Sunday nights?!

If you didn’t like the “platform” at your last wealth management firm, you can share that- however you need to do research ahead of the interview on why you think the company that you are interviewing at has  differences in the way they conduct the role or work with their professionals. 

When asked “why the change?” don’t be defensive and say “well, this really isn’t a change.”  Just because you are looking to stay in the same industry and in the same role, doesn’t mean you aren’t “making a change.”

How does this career change get you closer to where you want to be as a professional?  Can you explain that?    

Be sure to call things “both ways” on what you love in the current role along with the “imperfections.”  Be sure to “take ownership” on any underperformance, lack of passion or items that you may be partially responsible for.    You can share that you did no wrong in your current role but that rarely works.  Be real.  Be human.


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