20May

How to prepare for an exit interview


If you’re in the process of resigning you need to be aware that an exit interview may be requested, either by your manager or HR. This is nothing to be alarmed about; it is in fact a best practice many organisations carry out to ensure they receive constructive feedback about the organisation, your career path within and how you feel you have been managed.

It’s imperative that you walk into this meeting prepared and with your head held high. Always be professional and gracious and always feed back negativities as constructively as possible.

Here are a few considerations to take on board when preparing for your exit interview:-

– Prepare your answers before the exit interview

When formulating a response keep it brief, impersonal and diplomatic. List the job duties you enjoyed performing, and focus on those that helped you to improve your knowledge, skills and abilities. Also touch upon how the role can be improved going forward, based on your own experience.

– Stay Positive

Do not talk negatively about staff or situations and stick to general facts. Use neutral, non-accusatory language to describe your management experience with your boss and give examples of situations and outcomes without naming and shaming. Always focus on the positive aspects of working for the company. List the job duties you enjoyed performing, and focus on those that helped you to improve your knowledge, skills and abilities. Also touch upon how the role can be improved going forward, based on your experiences.

– Keep the information you divulge strictly professional

You are under no obligation to divulge personal information such as your views on your colleagues. If you are asked questions of this nature, simply point out to your interviewer that you are happy to give your professional opinions about the firm but not personal views as you cannot see how these would benefit the company.

– Ask for a reference

This is a perfect opportunity to request a written reference and LinkedIn Recommendation from your manager and HR department, provided you handle the exit interview professionally and constructively.

Here are a few sample questions you may be asked:-

  • What is your main reason for leaving?
  • Are there any other reasons for your leaving?
  • What could have been done early on to prevent the situation developing/provide a basis for you to stay with us?
  • How would you have preferred the situation(s) to have been handled?
  • What opportunities can you see / might have existed for the situation/problems to have been averted/dealt with satisfactorily?
  • What can you say about the processes and procedures or systems that have contributed to the problem(s)/your decision to leave?
  • What specific suggestions would you have for how the organisation could manage this situation/these issues better in future?
  • How do you feel about the organisation?
  • What has been good/enjoyable/satisfying for you in your time with us?
  • What has been frustrating/difficult/upsetting to you in your time with us?
  • What could you have done better or more for us had we given you the opportunity?
  • What extra responsibility would you have welcomed that you were not given?
  • How could the organisation have enabled you to make fuller use of your capabilities and potential?
  • What training would you have liked or needed that you did not get, and what effect would this have had?
  • How well do you think your training and development needs were assessed and met?
  • What can you say about communications within the organisation/your department?
  • What improvements do you think can be made to customer service and relations?
  • How would you describe the culture or ‘feel’ of the organisation?
  • Were you developed/inducted adequately for your role(s)?
  • What improvement could be made to the way that you were inducted/prepared for your role(s)?
  • What can you say about the way your performance was measured, and the feedback to you of your performance results?
  • How well do you think the appraisal system worked for you?
  • What would you say about how you were motivated, and how that could have been improved?
  • What can you say about the way you were managed?… On a day to day basis?……. And on a month to month basis?
  • Would you consider working again for us if the situation were right?
  • What, importantly, are your new employers offering that we are not?

Finally, it’s important not to stress about any of this. You’ve made the decision to leave so let your manager know that you’d welcome the opportunity to share your feedback and views as well as formally thanking them for their time.

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