How to Ace an Exit Interview

You’ve landed a new job - congratulations! Even though you can’t wait to get out of your current position, it is inevitable that you will need to have an exit interview and you should be prepared for it. Whether that be online or in person, it is important to remember to not burn bridges and keep things professional. Saying the wrong things in an exit interview could harm your career if you either want to get a reference from your nearly-ex employer or if you decide you want to come back one day. Below are our best tips on how to ace your exit interview.

Plan and Prepare

Take the exit interview just as seriously as you would for an interview for a new job. Walk through what you plan on saying to a third party so you can prepare your grievances in a way that doesn’t come off as unprofessional. By framing your opinions to demonstrate that you’re thinking about what's best for the company, you'll have a far greater chance of having a real influence and of being remembered well.

Be professional

Whether you’ve been laid off during a downsizing or you’ve decided to leave on your own terms, it is very important to remain professional during the exit interview. Your reputation will follow you wherever you go, so don’t let yourself get overly emotional, use any profane language, or do anything else that may tarnish your last interaction with your employer.  

Pick your battles

During your interview, you may feel like a weight has been lifted or that you can finally articulate a major shortcoming at the organization. But keep in mind while you’ll feel like you’re doing your former colleagues a favor by airing your grievances, your employer may see this as a complaint and that won't help you in your career if you ever do decide to come back to the company. Keep the exit interview short and sweet, and keep looking forward.

Provide useful facts

If you are leaving because your salary or benefits were not competitive with the company’s competitors or there weren't enough opportunities for promotion, let your company know in a positive professional way- employers love competitive data.

Be positive

End on a high note, and make a point to say how much you learned and grew in the position. Mention a few things you will fondly remember, whether its projects you enjoyed or amazing co-workers.


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