You’ve handed in your notice, said your goodbyes and are ready to move on to your new job, but first, you’re asked to take part in an exit interview. But while the word ‘interview’ can be nerve-wracking, there’s no reason to feel anxious. You just need to know how to prepare.
Vent ahead of time
Chances are there were some aspects of your job that you didn’t enjoy - your employer will expect this (you are leaving after all).
However, if you have any pent up frustration (or even anger), be sure to get it all out at home before you arrive for your chat with HR - you don’t want to leave on a sour note.
Venting to a friend or writing a fake, no-holding-back letter to your manager (and then destroying it) can help to get all your negative feelings out and clear your head so it doesn’t accidentally spill out during the exit interview.
Similarly to how you’d prepare for a job interview, plan what you’re going to say in your exit interview.
Why are you leaving?
You can count on being asked why you’re leaving, so make sure you have an answer. Try to think of the most important reasons for your decision - were there not enough training / growth opportunities? Did you want to take on more responsibility? Was the job what you expected it would be when you first applied? Think of how to express these reasons in a professional and constructive way.
Write down the key reasons for your decision to leave and then think of examples for each. If the position wasn’t what you were expecting - why? What were you told when you started and how did that compare to your day to day role? The better you can explain your decision, the more it will help your (soon to be) former employer - and if you did have a real issue that drove you to leave (such as poor management), having tangible evidence to back up your claims will help you be taken more seriously.
What did you enjoy most about your job?
Remember that while the purpose of your exit interview is to help the company gain feedback and improve, it’s not just a place to highlight all the problems: you might also be asked what you enjoyed most about your job.
This is a great opportunity to really dig down and think about what you appreciated the most about your time with the organisation. Was it a certain task that you always loved getting to do? The other members of your team? A supportive or inspiring manager? Whatever you liked the most about your job, now is the time to bring it up.
Ask about yourself
It can be easy to get caught up in the idea that an exit interview is purely for the company, and won’t be of any benefit to you - but this is not always the case.
Before your interview, think about what you’d like to get out of it.
Come up with a few questions that you can ask your employer regarding your own performance. What did they think your main strengths were? Which areas did they think needed some work? Make the most of the opportunity and find out how you can improve in your new role.
As stressful as the exit interview might seem at first, there really isn’t any need to worry. You’ve already made the decision to leave - the hard part is over. As long as you take the time to think about what you’re going to say ahead of time, everything will be alright.
XCL Group are a leading recruitment specialist who help job-seekers across a wide range of industries and sectors find their ideal jobs. So if you are looking for your next role, email a copy of your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org, or find out what some of our past candidates have to say about us.