6 ways to handle your exit interview

An exit interview can often be an uncomfortable affair. In most cases these are conducted by HR or the recruitment department, although, sometimes these can also be carried out by your direct manager.

Here are some tips on handling your exit interview.

  1. Go into the exit interview being clear on your own objective. This seems like a strange thing to say given you have resigned and may not have requested this interview, however it is important. Ultimately decide; do you want to burn your bridges with this company or organisation and thus happy to be quite direct, even scathing…. or perhaps you might like to return one day and hence keep your options open?
  2. Give some thought to the questions that might be asked. It could be a fairly routine affair, but equally if you are in a management position, the exit interview could be more of a risk assessment on behalf of your existing employer to discover the chances that you are in fact moving to a competitor. If you are in a competitive industry and you are going to a competitor then decide some responses in advance.
  3. Be consistent with your resignation letter and the verbal reasons you gave your boss for your resignation. You can also use the interview as an opportunity to give some evidence based feedback to HR on the ‘supporting’ reasons for your resignation; pay, holiday entitlement and/or unrealistic expectations for example.
  4. Think carefully if you want to give more critical feedback; namely, it’s your boss’s management style which is why you are leaving. If this is the case, consider your phrasing, ‘I enjoy working here, however, I struggle with the lack of freedom to do my job as a professional qualified person’ sounds quite different to ‘Well quite frankly John is a micromanaging wally’.
  5. Consider the industry and your skill set and the likelihood of running into your bosses or management in the future. If the likelihood of this is high, yet you still see the exit interview as an opportunity to shape your ex-colleagues workplace, consider how you wish to feedback any direct questions that are asked of you in advance of the exit interview.
  6. If you really want to be helpful, think back to the reason that prompted you to look for a new job and if you can be, be honest about that. If it was because Jane said when she was leaving she was getting £5k more and that made you look about, then say it. If it was because you felt that the company handled the issue with Oscar really poorly and that made you think that you are never going to get a promotion, say that. If it’s because the commute was too much then say that.

In conclusion, choose your words carefully, indeed the point of an exit interview is to identify the reasons people leave an organisation. Providing you are constructive and intelligent in your responses you may be able to shape the organisation as it moves forward.

If you need help preparing for an exit interview, or any other work related issues, download the HR Solver app today and chat to our HR and employment law experts for specialist advice on your specific concerns.

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