The reality of the situation is that in life you get good Recruiters and you get bad Recruiters. A bad Recruiter will accept your “I left my last job for greener pastures!” and move on with the rest of the interview. However it will only take a good Recruiter a few more questions around the subject before you say something like. “But I am convinced my Manager was a psychopath!” (oh no did I say that out loud?)
Don’t panic I also worked for that person and you would be surprised how many people leave managers and not companies! However calling your former boss a psychopath, does not necessarily inspire another manager to offer you a new job!
Good Recruiters know this and they are not as worried about the personality clash, as much did the manager give you hell, because you were not doing what you were being paid to do? Was the Manager the problem or were you the problem and now you are trying to blame them? Are you difficult to manage? Who was actually impossible to work with?
Starting off the topic with a lie is always a risk (as you never know which Recruiter you will get). When I go for an interview I am always upfront and explain my situation. Without becoming personal or insulting, I explain how after exploring every single opportunity to sort it out, I was eventually left with no option but to leave, without throwing my toys! Sometimes it’s not what you say vs. how you say it!
If it was you, how would you say it?