What Is An Exit Interview? (And How To Prepare For One)

Woman goes to her exit interview

An exit interview is a goodbye. Once you hand over your resignation letter, this will most likely be the next step as you "exit" your company.

When your employer asks you to attend this type of interview, keep in mind that it is very different from a regular job interview. It may also be voluntary, so tread carefully before you decide to attend.

When You Shouldn't Attend An Exit Interview

Man attends his exit interview after quitting his job


Before we tell you the ins and outs of an exit interview, please consider cases in which you should not attend:

  1. You notice your employer is reluctant to organize it.
  2. You are personally second-guessing yourself because you've had a terrible experience with your company.
  3. You only have negative feedback to give, which honestly, defeats the purpose of attending an exit interview and could offend your boss (possibly creating a negative reference for your next job).

What Is An Exit Interview?

Woman is asked a question during an exit interview


Now, let's get into the basics. First, know that these meetings are typically conducted by a third-party or Human Resources specialist, so you should feel more at ease when sharing your feedback on your experience.

Still, what is an exit interview? What will it cover?

  1. Your employer will discuss the reason for your resignation.
  2. You'll talk about the reorganization of the department based on your replacement.
  3. Your employer will receive feedback, both positive or negative, from you, the employee.
  4. It's a time for the employer to learn about what they are doing right, how they can improve, and areas of opportunity to change the way your specific position is being handled.
  5. It's a chance for you to resolve any issues you may have had during your employment.
  6. You'll be asked specific questions ranging in a variety of topics.

How To Prepare For An Exit Interview

Man successfully prepares for his exit interview


This truly is a time for discussion and openness. If the employer is respectful, they will ask you questions that are positive and proactive in nature.

You may be asked these exit interview questions:

  1. What is the reason for your resignation?
  2. How can we improve as an employer?
  3. Have you enjoyed working for us?
  4. Why did you choose your new position/employer?
  5. How would you assess our training and development programs?

Be sure to expect questions about your overall experience at the company. Your employer may ask you some tips that they can pass on to your replacement.

Talking Points During Exit Interviews:

Know that the floor will be purposely open for you to voice your opinions. This is a time where your feedback will be encouraged. Still, stay clear of a few things:

  1. Avoid being inappropriate and bad-mouthing your company, boss, or co-workers.
  2. If you must be critical, do so in a polite and constructive way.
  3. Do not just identify problems. Offer a solution on how the company may consider handling this for your replacement.
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All things considered, be sure to end your exit interview on a positive note. We can't reiterate enough that despite whatever has transpired between you and your employer (good or bad), they will be a reference for your next position.

You can also use your exit interview to resolve any bitterness and issues that you may have previously encountered. Be smart! Be respectful!

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