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How to Perfect Your Exit Interview Skills

Posted September 18th, 2019

When you land a new job, you might think that your interview days are behind you, at least for a while. However, once you turn in your two weeks notice, your current employer might request that you take part in an exit interview, derailing your plans to quietly move on to your next opportunity.

The idea of being in an exit interview can be intimidating. After all, these meetings usually focus on questions regarding why you chose to leave the company, and that might not be information you want to share openly.

Luckily, there are things you can do to make the experience less stressful. If you have an exit interview on the horizon, here are some tips that can help.

Discussing Why You Are Leaving

One question you are almost guaranteed to face during an exit interview is, “Why are you leaving the company (or your position)?” Your soon-to-be-former employer is hoping to learn about any areas where it may have fallen short, or if it was a single incident or multiple issues that prompted you to seek out other opportunities.

Employee retention is often a critical concern for companies, so your input here is valuable. However, that doesn’t mean you should speak freely when you respond, particularly if you are feeling negative about your experience.

While you certainly have the ability to answer honestly, remember to remain professional. This may be your final impression with this employer, so now isn’t the time for a tirade. Make sure to focus on facts that you are comfortable sharing and try to set your emotions aside.

However, if you don’t want to share all (or any) of your reasoning, you can also decline to respond or keep your answer vague. You aren’t required to divulge anything that you don’t want to share, so it is always an option to avoid specifics.

Talking About Your New Job

In many cases, you’ll be asked why you accepted the new job offer during your exit interview. Usually, the company is trying to learn about the competition, including what your new employer may be offering that they don’t.

Don’t feel pressured into discussing every detail about your new job. However, it’s also okay to be honest here. If the other company had a more attractive salary range, you can say so. If the culture felt like a better match, it’s okay to bring that up as well.

Again, you don’t have to go into detail when you answer. Just a basic overview is more than sufficient.

What You Liked Most or Least About Your Job and Manager

During an exit interview, at least a few of the questions will likely focus on the role you are leaving as well as that position’s manager. You may be asked to discuss what worked for you or what didn’t, but the latter is usually harder to answer.

When it comes to the positives, share them openly. However, when it comes to the negatives, you do need to focus on being professional. While being honest will certainly help the company, you don’t want to come off as too angry or spiteful when you share the less than pleasant details.

Ultimately, an exit interview doesn’t have to be intimidating. By following the tips above, you can navigate the meeting successfully, ensuring you make a positive impression before you head out of the door.

If you’d like to learn more, the team at Bayside Solutions can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members today and see how our exit interview expertise can benefit you.

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