When you leave your job, the company may conduct an exit interview, which is a meeting between a company's human resources department and an employee who has gracefully resigned or has been terminated. Exit interviews are often required by human resources department policy since they are an excellent means for a company to evaluate and continuously improve relations with its workforce.
The Purpose of Exit Interviews
Companies conduct exit interviews to get feedback about the job the employee held, the work environment, and the organization. They may also ask for details regarding why the employee is leaving if the employee resigned.
Exit interviews are a good way for companies to gain insights that can improve the work environment so they can retain their employees and reduce turnover, thus keeping hiring costs and the resources needed to find great employees low.
Companies use many different methods and analytical tools to assess the information and feedback received from an exit interview. Some employers use surveys and Likert scales, while others engage in a dialogue in person or over the phone in order to determine which office practices were more effective than others. Many organizations even permit exiting employees to submit their feedback online.
The exit interview is your opportunity to give feedback about your job, the company, and the supervision you received. Exit interview questions don't have right or wrong answers, but while you want to be truthful, it's also important to be polite and respectful, even if you aren't leaving your job on the best of terms. If a potential employer, upon reading your resume and its accompanying work history, decides to contact your employer to ask about your performance, your exit interview answers may mean the difference between a positive or a negative response.
You might want to think twice – and then twice more – before you throw a supervisor or a co-worker under the bus. Diplomacy is your best strategy when responding to questions about your supervisor or other team members. If you keep your tone positive and focus on the things you liked about your job, you’ll gain closure and be able to move forward to your next job without lingering regrets.
What Companies Ask at Exit Interviews
Typical exit interview questions include why you are leaving, why you decided to accept a new position, your likes and dislikes in the office, whether you would change anything about the company, whether you would recommend the company to others, and what suggestions you might have for improvement.
Here are exit interview sample questions that you might be asked:
- Why are you leaving your job?
- What were the most important factors in your deciding to take a new job? Salary? Benefits? Time off? Something else?
- Were you satisfied with your salary?
- Was the company's benefits package sufficient?
- Is there anything your new company offers that this company doesn't provide?
- What did you like best about your job?
- What did you like least about your job?
- Was there anything especially challenging that you had to contend with?
- What would you change about your job?
- How did you feel about the supervision you received?
- Did you receive enough training to do the job effectively?
- Did you receive enough support to do your job effectively?
- How do you feel about the feedback you received from your manager?
- What did you like best about working for the company?
- What did you like least about working for the company?
- Do you have any recommendations for the company for the future?
- Would you work for the company in the future?
- Would you recommend this company to prospective employees?
- What advice would you give your replacement if you could?
- Do you have any questions or comments?
By knowing what questions to expect, you can prepare your answers in advance and ensure you provide productive feedback and commendations where appropriate.
Even though you will no longer be working at this company, now is your chance to impact the way your job replacement, manager, and company function. And, by providing dignified and positive responses, you’ll also help to ensure, as you walk out the door, that the company will be sorry to see you go.