Deciding to leave your job is never easy. The reasons could be endless. Maybe your colleagues distracted you, your job position changed, or your environment didn’t suit you anymore. So it’s finally time to move on to a better opportunity.
However, once you sign your resignation form, HR suddenly contacts you for an exit interview before you leave. The exit interview is the final stage that you need to undergo before you leave the company. It’s a beneficial conversation for both you and the company to grow and improve in the future.
If you need help understanding what an exit interview is, you’ve come to the right place! Keep reading for a detailed guide on everything you need to know before your final interview.
Let’s dive in!
- An exit interview allows the company to garner information on why the employee is quitting.
- The main benefits of the exit interview are to discuss how the company can improve certain aspects of their establishment as well as to maintain a good relationship between them and you as an employee.
- Although the exit interview serves as a way for you to give out constructive criticism, it’s important to stay positive and give professional feedback as well.
What is an Exit Interview?
An exit interview is an interview you, as an employee, take once you decide to leave the company you’re working for. The interview allows the company to speak to you about why you’re leaving and what they can do to improve the company.
It is an important aspect of the offboarding process, and if you have decided to quit your current position at the company, HR will ask you to attend an exit interview before leaving.
Exit interviews are more common in educational and business working environments and are usually conducted either in person, via a phone call, or through a digital survey. However, some companies prefer conducting face-to-face interviews, as they help maintain a better connection between the company and the employee.
Benefits of Exit Interviews
Holding an exit interview can be beneficial for both the employee and the company. Namely, it’s beneficial for:
- Discussing Company Improvements. There’s a reason why you decided to quit your job, and it’s important to let the company know why. So, be honest, stay positive, and give constructive criticism that can help the company improve.
- Maintaining a good relationship with the employer. Exit interviews are a good opportunity to cut ties with your employer on a friendly note, which can help you if you need a reference for a new job.
Common Questions You Can Expect During an Exit Interview
Let’s look at the most common questions you can expect during an exit interview:
- Why have you decided to leave our company?
- What made you look for other jobs?
- Would you say that the company recognized your efforts?
- Was there any policy that you did not agree with?
- Would you say you had the right equipment to fulfill your job?
- What did you like about your job here?
- Would you consider returning to the company in certain circumstances?
- What do you think could be improved to increase employee motivation?
- Would you say that we provided the proper training for you to understand your role?
- What made you accept the new job?
- Who do you think would be the perfect replacement for you?
- Would you tell a family member or friend to come work with us?
- What would you say can we as a company improve on?
- Do you have any questions for us?
How to Answer Exit Interview Questions
Now that you know which questions you can expect during your exit interview, here’s how you can answer them:
#1. Why Do You Want to Stop Working With Us?
This is the most important question you will be asked during your exit interview. The employer wants to know what the final straw was that made you decide to leave their company.
The answer to this question can vary depending on why you’re leaving. For example, you can mention that your job position suddenly changed without your being notified and you would rather work with something you’d be more interested in, or that your career goals and this job position do not match anymore.
#2. What Was the Determining Factor that Made You Accept the New Job?
Naturally, you’re not obligated to give a detailed explanation of the new job you’ve accepted.
But a question like this is unavoidable. The company wants to know what factors made you leave so they can improve that aspect to help out other employees.
If the salary at the new job you’ve accepted is a better option for you, you can say the following:
“The pay at my new job offers an amount that I am more comfortable with. I’d advise you guys to start reevaluating your salary structure in a way that helps employees handle the current inflation a bit easier.”
#3. What Did You Like the Most About Your Position?
Although an exit interview serves as a way for you to give out constructive criticism, it’s a good idea to also showcase some positive aspects of the job you’ve worked for.
Usually, a former employer will ask you what you liked most about your position. Here, you can mention anything that relates to the job. Whether it is any projects you’ve worked on, colleagues you’ve liked working with, or the company’s friendly environment.
Essentially, the company wants to know what motivates you to come to work every day. This will help the company keep up with the positive aspects.
#4. What Did You Dislike the Most About Your Position?
It’s important to discuss the other side of the fence—what aspects did you not like about your position?
Your answer here can vary. Perhaps you didn’t appreciate how your boss was discussing matters with you, or you found your colleagues a bit distracting. This question allows you to be as honest as possible, but make sure not to overly complain while you answer.
#5. How Equipped Do You Think You Were for Your Role?
The company can get great insight into whether you felt well equipped for your role by asking this question.
As the main focus here is to know how the company can improve on specific criteria, it’s best to mention any grievances you might have with the company. Whether it was a lack of proper technology or not getting enough training, it’s important to mention everything that can help the company improve in the long run.
#6. How Would You Describe Your Relationship With Your Manager?
The company wants to know how well your manager managed to keep up with your concerns. As you’ve spent a daily amount of time with your manager, you have seen the good and the bad attributes that they have, and the company wants to hear all of it.
In this case, propose some ways in which the manager can improve. For example, although you may have heard the saying that you should never bite the hand that feeds you, the exit interview allows you to contradict the saying and give the necessary yet constructive feedback.
#7. What Do You Think We Need to Look for in Your Replacement?
You’re the best person to answer this question since you’ve worked in a specific position for a long time. The company will want to know how they can replace you with someone who does the job as well as you.
This scenario can vary depending on what you worked with. If, for example, languages were a requirement in the job description but you never had a chance to use them, you can mention this to the company.
You can also say that once you started working, you realized that leadership skills were more important, even though they were not part of the job description. Emphasize that they should be looking for someone who can be a leader in team projects.
Tips for Answering Exit Interview Questions
Now that we’ve established what some common questions are, let’s look at some tips and tricks on what you should do and say during your exit interview:
#1. Don’t Vent During the Interview
It’s best to keep any personal comments to when you go out for a drink with your friends. The company will not be delighted to hear that you thought your manager was an idiot or that you hated how a colleague smelled.
Although it can seem like the perfect opportunity to vent, you shouldn’t do it! It’s best to keep a good relationship with the employer and use the exit interview to speak about your concerns with the company or your job position instead.
#2. Plan and Prepare for the Interview
It’s a good idea to plan and prepare for the exit interview the same way you would for an interview for a new job to avoid any mistakes. Practice what you’ll say with a friend or record yourself answering questions to see how they might sound.
Besides that, it’s a good idea to also prepare your emotions. Discuss any hard feelings with your friends to avoid getting emotional in the actual interview.
#3. Focus on the Positive
Although you are essentially giving out criticism during the exit interview, staying positive about your feedback is super important. Avoid being too critical, as it will make you seem like you hated the job and couldn’t wait to leave.
#4. Give Your Employers Some Feedback
The company’s main goal is to improve the establishment, and your feedback here is more than welcome. The main thing you need to keep in mind when you answer is to keep your comments professional. The company usually wants to know what aspects you liked about the job, the company in general, and what you would change about it.
It’s a good idea to also mention what you have learned and what you are grateful for. Express your gratitude for the positive aspects of the company.
#5. Don’t Make any Rude and Immature Comments
As previously mentioned, it’s important to keep your comments professional and mature. Don’t talk about how your colleagues would chew too loud or how the cars outside would make too much noise and distract you. Comments like these aren’t useful and don’t help the company improve.
That’s a wrap!
Whether you are leaving your job voluntarily or not, an exit interview is necessary for both you and the company in order to get closure. Hopefully, this guide helped you come up with the best approach for answering the exit interview questions.
Remember to stay positive in your answers, give out constructive feedback, and make sure not to vent over petty issues, and you’re all set for your next exit interview!