Exit Interviews: How to say goodbye the right way

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Tuesday, November 16, 2021

You’ve handed in your notice and your leaving date is set – when you receive an exit interview request from your line manager in your inbox. Below is our advice on our to make sure you say goodbye – the right way.

What is an exit interview?

An exit interview is a formal meeting between you and your employers HR department or members of the management team. Often they happen right at the end of your employment, a couple of days before your last day. The purpose of it is for the interviewer to gather your reasons for leaving and feedback that will assist them when hiring your replacement. There are several forms an exit interview can take, including an in person meeting, a telephone call,  a survey or an online questionnaire.

Your feedback is valuable

Remember, this is not a job interview and there isn’t anything significant on the table. The difficult part of handing in your resignation is over, and this is your opportunity to provide your insight to your employer. Whilst it is important to be honest, it is also wise not to overshare. This is a chance to give constructive feedback to your employer, and there can be a fine line between doing this and launching into a long rant about the negative aspects of your role.

It is wise to jot down a few points ahead of time that you want to cover, as well as some pre-prepared answers to questions that are likely to come up, in one form or another. For example, you are likely to be asked your main reason for leaving, and what the company can do to improve their employees work life. Make sure to include real examples when discussing your reasons for leaving. If you were struggling with the lack of progression, give examples of how you were passed over for a promotion, or not given opportunities for training. Without demonstrable examples, your employer cannot learn from them or act upon them.

Learn about your own performance

Exit interviews are a two way street. Whilst this is an opportunity for your employer to get constructive criticism, it is also a chance for you to get notes on your performance as well. This can provide valuable insight and constructive criticism that you can take into your new role and work on.

Not only is this an opportunity to learn about yourself, but also your chance to talk up any hardworking co-workers who are not getting the recognition they deserve. This will no doubt be appreciated by the employee, but is also valuable information to the management team so they can work on retaining staff before it’s too late.

Last but not least

It is essential to maintain positive attitude throughout the interview – it is always best to leave on good terms. If a first interview is your first impression, an exit interview is surely your last, and you don’t want to be remembered as the bitter ex employee who left in a temper. Highlight the positive aspects of working for the company, such as their training program or the benefits package. You may need a reference from them at some point in the future, so always try to end the interview on a good note.