How to nail the exit interview

However earlier than they go, they’re possible to be requested to take part in an exit interview. In actual fact, more than 90% of Fortune 500 firms maintain exit interviews, and I do know this to be the case from partnering with hundreds of employer companions as the CEO and founding father of FlexJobs and

How ought to knowledgeable deal with this example? One constructive method is to see the exit interview as a chance to assist the teammates and firm you’re leaving with some trustworthy, useful suggestions. One other means to deal with exit interviews is to see it as an opportunity to go away on a respectful be aware and never burn bridges.

No matter the explicit scenario, it’s simple to see how exit interviews must be dealt with with cautious consideration. Right here’s how.


Why are you leaving?

Why they ask it: That is most likely the common query that’s requested in an exit interview. The corporate desires to know when you’re leaving for cash, a greater title, a accomplice’s job switch throughout the nation, household causes, and so on. They’re making an attempt to determine if there’s one thing the firm can do higher or in case your leaving is one thing out of their management.

How to reply it: Be trustworthy and strategic. For instance, when you’re leaving for extra pay, it’s your decision to say, “I completely loved my work and crew at this firm, however it was additionally necessary to me to be compensated nearer to market worth, which finally didn’t seem to be a risk right here.” You don’t have to reveal your new wage stage except you are feeling comfy doing so.

If it’s for private causes, be happy to share what you are feeling is professionally related about your scenario, and take into account offering suggestions the employer might use productively to assist retain different staff in the future. “I’ve to look after a relative and so flexibility is essential proper now. Sadly, the firm wasn’t in a position to present the stage of schedule flexibility I wanted.”

Did you’ve gotten the instruments to succeed at your job?

Why they ask it: An employer ought to provide you with the stuff you want to do your job. This isn’t simply bodily instruments, like a pc or telephone. Instruments embody coaching, skilled improvement, mentoring, and well timed suggestions. HR is asking when you had what you wanted to succeed as a result of when you didn’t, it could be one thing they will present present and future staff.

How to reply it: This can be a case the place you’ll be able to most likely be extra trustworthy than with different questions, however select correctly. In case your largest drawback was a loud workplace or an absence of coaching, deliver these items up as they might be simple to repair.

For instance, “I’m probably not a fan of open workplace plans. And the bench-style seating didn’t work for me. It was very distracting. Additionally, I’d have preferred to obtain suggestions about my work extra typically than I did. I’m not the sort of person who likes to watch for my annual analysis to see how I’m doing.”


How was your supervisor?

Why they ask it: There’s a saying: Individuals don’t give up jobs. They give up managers. And that is precisely what HR is making an attempt to discover out. Did you give up due to your supervisor?

How to reply it: In case your supervisor was unbelievable, say so. That’s a time for open reward and honesty. If, nevertheless, you and your supervisor didn’t get alongside, that could possibly be a time to preserve issues extra basic. You may go along with one thing like, “We didn’t all the time see eye-to-eye, however we managed to succeed on a number of initiatives.”

What did you want and dislike about the job?

Why they ask it: They’re asking you this as a result of there’s an opportunity that they need to evaluate your notes to earlier staff who had your position, or they might rethink the place.

How to reply it: Speak actually about what you preferred and about what you disliked, however preserve issues skilled. Or, be happy to make a small (however tactful and tasteful) joke about your dislike. “I actually like the quantity of coaching I acquired over the years. I discovered rather a lot about the strategic points of selling and shall be in a position to use these expertise wherever I am going. I disliked the espresso. However, significantly, there wasn’t something I ‘disliked,’ however I do want the firm supplied extra distant and versatile work choices.”

Would you suggest the firm/job to others?

Why they ask it: For those who say sure, then clearly you want the job and firm. For those who say no, HR desires to know why to see if they will repair it.

How to reply it: In case your reply is sure, clarify why as deeply as you need. In case your reply is not any, then you definitely want to be trustworthy about that, with out going too deep. “General, I’ve loved my time right here, however that’s my expertise. If somebody requested me if they need to apply right here, I’d ask them extra questions on their most well-liked work environments, profession objectives, and communication kinds. It’s most likely not for everyone.”

What are your suggestions?

Why they ask it: That is an open-ended query that often comes close to the finish of your exit interview. HR is making an attempt to see if there’s something you need to add that possibly they didn’t (or couldn’t) ask about.

How to reply it: Generally, you’ll have particular concepts which are completely protected solutions. For instance, if the medical health insurance is missing, distant work choices are too restrictive, or the time-off coverage isn’t nice, you would possibly counsel enhancing these. “Two weeks off a yr simply wasn’t sufficient for me. You might have considered trying to take into account including extra PTO to the advantages bundle or permit work-from-home days to entice extra candidates and scale back burnout.”

Authorized particulars

Throughout an exit interview, chances are you’ll be requested to signal authorized paperwork. These can embody a non-disclosure settlement and a non-disparagement settlement. The non-disclosure settlement usually covers “enterprise secrets and techniques.” For instance, you agree not to speak about the firm’s product methods with anybody.

A non-disparagement settlement, although, is completely different as a result of it’s an settlement not to communicate poorly about the firm or issues associated to the firm like merchandise, providers, and executives. In lots of instances, a non-disparagement settlement additionally implies that the employer gained’t communicate badly about you.

Nevertheless, many non-disparagement agreements are broad and may embody communications corresponding to social media and evaluate websites.


As you method your exit interview, do not forget that your technique is inside your management, and you’ll select to say as little or as a lot as you are feeling is suitable. It’s additionally a superb time to do not forget that your suggestions might have penalties past immediately, each for you and to your soon-to-be-former colleagues. So take into account your private expertise as an worker at the firm, what would possibly assist the crew and firm you’re leaving to know, and whether or not you’d probably like to work with these people once more when deciding how to reply any questions you’re requested. The objective is to have a mutually helpful dialog the place each events really feel heard, can tie up free ends, and half on respectful—and hopefully constructive—phrases.

Sara Sutton is the CEO and founding father of FlexJobs.