3 min read

How to Prepare for an Honest Exit Interview

So, you’ve decided it’s time to leave your job. You’ve submitted your notice, you’ve returned your laptop to the IT department. You’ve said your goodbyes, maybe even enjoyed a cake courtesy of your coworkers. There’s nothing left to do… except the exit interview.

In theory, this shouldn’t be a nerve-wracking situation. After all, the exit interview isn’t about YOU; it’s your chance to evaluate the company and their performance, rather than them evaluating yours. However, exit interviews can still feel uncomfortable for employees on their way out the door. 

Good news: you don’t have to stress about exit interviews! Here are a few tips that can help you prep for your exit interview and speak honestly and constructively with your former employer.

What is an Exit Interview?

Before we can discuss exit interview prep, we should define this term. An exit interview is a conversation between an employee who is leaving a company and the organization’s HR department. HR will typically ask the employee why they are leaving the company and if they have any feedback for the organization.

The Importance of an Exit Interview 

Exit interviews have become standard practice in most businesses; in fact, 90% of Fortune 500 companies conduct them. While some employees appreciate the chance to share their opinions with their (soon-to-be-former) company, others fail to see why exit interviews matter. Therefore, let’s discuss why exit employees can be great for your former company AND you.

Exit interviews help companies improve their daily operations. As an employee, you are intimately familiar with the way things work in your office. Telling HR what you like, what you don’t, and ultimately why you’re leaving can be a great way for them to glean valuable insight and make changes that help the organization run more effectively.

Exit interviews can also benefit the outgoing employee. For example, let’s say you are leaving your job because you were offered a higher salary at another company. If you disclose this information during your exit interview, there’s a chance the company may offer you a raise to keep you employed there! 

Even if you don’t get a raise out of your exit interview, the experience does give you a chance to share your insider view of the organization. This can give many employees a sense of closure and make the exit process more satisfactory.

What Can an Employee Expect? 

If you’ve never had an exit interview before, the experience may seem daunting. However, there isn’t anything to worry about! The process is very simple: you’ll sit down with someone from your company’s HR department and answer questions like the following:

  • What made you decide to leave the organization?
  • Did you receive enough support during your time with this company?
  • What did you like/dislike about working here?
  • Is there anything we can do to keep you?

Be Honest

First and foremost, you must be honest with your HR department about your working experience. Remember, their primary goal for the exit interview is to gain insight into how the company works from an insider’s perspective. If you want your feedback to be useful, you need to tell them the truth.

Of course, while honesty is the best policy during an exit interview, it is important to keep your honesty positive and constructive. Telling HR that you think your manager is a jerk or an idiot isn’t going to be received well, and it will only leave a sour taste in your company’s mouth about YOU.

Leave on a Good Note 

The second tip we suggest for exit interviews is to focus on the positives your company has to offer. While it is important to be honest (to a degree) about the things you didn’t like, HR is more likely to accept your feedback when it comes from a positive place. 

Make sure to discuss how much you learned in your time at the organization, and thank HR for the opportunity to work with them. Not only will this make your exit interview more pleasant, but it also leaves the door open for a positive reference or even another position at the company later on.

Related Resources

You deserve a better partner
Compliance solution that Keep your needs in mind every day
Menu