When you leave a job, there can be a lot of emotions involved. You might be sad, or extremely happy to be leaving. Often, it’s a combination of them both. Your manager could have been amazing and you’d like to use your exit interview as a chance to tell the company how great an asset they have. On the other side of things, you might want to take the opportunity to notify HR that your manager is incompetent. What is important when heading into the interview, is to decide on your goal before you go into the meeting and explain yourself in a way that gets the information towards your goal.
If you are unsure of the point you want to get across and if you’re nervous about being asked your opinion on the case, make notes before you go in. As mentioned previously, an exit interview can be highly charged with emotion, writing down your thoughts prior to going in can help with concisely getting your point across. The points you jot down can either be used as notes to refer to in the meeting or just as a thought organising exercise.
If there are positive aspects to the work, make sure you say that. Maybe you worked with some great colleagues, or there are particular projects that you are proud of and really enjoyed. Depending on your reasons for leaving, it might be difficult not to voice your opinion. Remember that you still have a reputation and reference to ideally secure. If even considering this you’d like to voice your thoughts in a non-constructive way, make sure it’s an informed decision you have come to. You never know when you might see people again, so it’s always best to err on the side of caution.
It’s very easy to daydream about all the things you’ll say in an exit interview. Technically everything you say shouldn’t have any impact on the reference you are given. However, in the real world, the way a person leaves is the last impressions an employer could have of them. This could easily impact the reference they give. Alongside that, there are unofficial conversations that go on which can inform new employers just as well as the unofficial ones.
If there is a direct benefit and you truly believe the business needs to know information that is negative, make sure you talk straight and only with the facts. This isn’t a chance to vent all your pent up emotions. Provide examples instead of opinions, so avoid directly insulting colleagues or your boss, explain what actions they have done to validate your opinion to the interviewer.
You’re moving onto a new chapter, look forward positively onto that. An exit interview might seem like a big deal right now, but when you look back at your career, it’s likely you won’t even remember it. So, hold your head high, say what needs to be said professionally, and leave all the other points behind as you move on with your life.
This article was written by Check-a-Salary, a platform which provides insight on salaries for every position in the UK.