What is an Exit Interview?
As already mentioned, an exit interview is a component of the offboarding process. More formally, it can be defined as a survey conducted by the HR department with an employee who is separating from an organisation.
If during a job interview you will be asked why you want to join an organisation, the exit survey questions will target finding out why you decided to leave the organisation.
So from the employer’s point of view during the exit conversation, the employee feedback is collected with the view of improving the employee experience for the remaining employees, and in doing so, preventing other employees from leaving.
How to Prepare for An Exit Interview?
Exit interviews might be a lot more stressful for some employees than even job interviews. You have already moved on mentally and emotionally from that employer: obviously you found something better – be it financially, or providing better career prospects, or simply something that better matches your values. So there might be no hard feelings on your side, it just made sense to look for something better.
But what if you quit because of a bad culture or bad management? How do you handle the exit interview in a diplomatic manner? You have to provide a reason for leaving, but you might not want to be fully transparent for fear of future repercussions.
And you might be tempted to think: what future repercussions? You’re with a leg out of the company already. However, what if you might want to return to work for that particular employer in the future? What if they will develop a new project that will be right up your alley? A bad offboarding and a bad exit interview could close that door forever.
So before participating to an exit interview, here are some key facts you should reflect on, regarding what to say in an exit interview:
1. What is the reason for leaving?
2. How has the job been structured?
3. Did you have enough opportunities for growth?
4. What did you like most from the job?
5. Did you find the job meaningful and motivating?
Note how, despite relating to your personal motivation and perception of the job, these questions are quite fact based. Nobody will contest your motivation, your progress made in the company and the structure of your job. By having these facts readily available in mind, you can go on to provide actual feedback or comment on leadership style, direction of the team etc.
So, as a next step for preparing for your exit interview, we have compiled a list with some dos and don’ts to consider when participating in an exit interview: what to say in an exit interview, what questions to ask in an exit interview etc.