Exit Interview

  • To find out why you are leaving and to see if those reasons could be a mechanism for change & improvement within their organisation. For example if you are leaving due to poor pay, lack of training or unfair working conditions, then this information could be very valuable to the employer. They can use this constructive criticism to improve the situation for their remaining staff and the betterment of their company. A sensible employer will try to take something positive form what could otherwise have a very negative impact on their company, which is your departure.
  • Additionally, employers will either be hiring a replacement or handing your duties over to existing staff either by expanding their role of via promotion. In order to do this effectively, your employer needs to know exactly what aspects of the company you were responsible for and what your daily routine involved. They need to identify any training needs for the replacement/new staff or what characteristics etc need to be requested in a new candidate if they advertise your post to the public.
  • You may have a list of clients that will need to be contacted with regards to their case being taken over by someone new. Your employer may want you to do this personally before you leave.
  • There might be outstanding projects that would be very difficult to handover to someone else, so you may need to discuss finishing these as a matter of priority before you leave.
  • There might be things coming up in the company calendar that would usually require your attention. Perhaps meetings, training courses or functions that were booked months ago that need to be cancelled or filled by someone else.
  • Departing employees are much more likely to give an honest opinion of the organisation and how well it functions as a team etc, so an exit interview can be a great source of feedback for employers.How does an exit interview help me?
  • This is your chance to have your say. You can provide constructive feedback about your work environment, duties, processes, the way you were managed etc. Always bear in mind though you do not wish to tread on their toes and damage fragile employer ego?s. After all, you may still need a reference from them.

So where possible be very tactful and diplomatic in an exit interview and avoid making anything personal. Do not gossip about other colleagues or allow yourself to be drawn into office politics. If asked about things of a contentious nature, steer the conversation back to more professional topics.

When you are asked about your reasons for leaving try to be honest without being hurtful. If you reasons are personal then reiterate that this is the case and do not allow yourself to be drawn further into your reasons for leaving. After all if your reasons for leaving genuinely have nothing to do with the company and how it operates, the company cannot benefit from the knowledge of your personal circumstances.

  • Use the exit interview as another opportunity to ensure that your references will be sound. Be helpful and co-operative with regard to handing over your duties and possibly training new staff before you leave.
  • Use the exit interview to tie up loose ends, discuss final pay, any remaining holiday entitlement, express gratitude for any opportunities afforded you by the company and say your goodbyes.

What will I be asked at the Exit Interview?

The interview will centre around the following things:

  • Why are you leaving?
  • When are you leaving?
  • How/when should we hand over your duties to someone else?
  • What are your outstanding projects/commitments?

Questions may include things such as:

  • What are your reasons for resigning?
  • Who else knows you are leaving?
  • What does your new employer offer that we cannot?
  • How did you view your management?
  • Did you feel supported in your role
  • Did you have enough training opportunities?
  • What can you say about the team dynamics?
  • What would you say about team morale?
  • Did you feel you had enough time to complete your tasks
  • Did you feel you had realistic deadlines?
  • Was you pay sufficient for the role and your experience?
  • What do you see as the companies strengths and weaknesses?
  • If we could improve anything what would it be?
  • What staff can you identify that could fill your role?

What if I'm leaving because of discrimination/voluntary dismissal?

If you are leaving over a very sensitive and contentious issue for which legal proceedings may follow, the exit interview can be tense for you and your employer. You may want to request that you have another person with you to ensure that the interview is conducted fairly and that there is no bullying etc. Probably ''less is more'' in this scenario. Say as little as possible.