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How to properly prepare for an exit interview and leave a good impression

How to properly prepare for an exit interview and leave a good impression

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Exit interviews can be valuable to both the exiting employee and the employer if conducted successfully. All it takes is a bit of preparation and diplomacy.

You’re ready to leave, you’ve signed the contract for your new job and completed all handovers. There’s nothing left to do for your employer and it’s time to say goodbye. Then HR asks you to complete an exit interview.

Exit interviews help companies better understand their work environment and the opportunity to improve it for their employees. While the employer conducts exit interviews for their own benefit, there is value in it for you too. Making sure you’re prepared will help it to be beneficial for both you and your employer.

What’s in it for you?

The exit interview allows you to leave a good impression, maintain valuable connections and gives you an opportunity to reflect.

Future employers often ask for references from your previous employers; in fact, it is part of our compliance at Fuse to have two references on file before anyone can begin a new role with our clients. You would not want to struggle to find a manager to give you a good reference and help you secure a new role. Maintaining connections is valuable in building your professional network. You can learn more about the benefits of building your professional network in our blog here.

Even though you are almost out the door, remain professional and respectful. Don’t say anything you’ll regret later.

Reflect on your experience.

An exercise that many successful leaders practice is to reflect on their experiences. They ask questions about how they felt, what they’ve learnt and what they could have done better in the situation.

Reflect on your experience to ensure you come to the interview prepared with examples for the questions they may ask. You’ll also learn what you did and didn’t like about your time there, which will be helpful when you’re looking for future employment. This becomes useful as you may be asked questions like “what kind of work environment do you like best?” or, “why did you leave your job at…?” in future interviews.

Prepare to give feedback, not a rant.

Leave a great impression by giving unbiased and accurate feedback. The interviewer will ask you questions regarding what you thought about your experience during your employment at their company. You might have a plethora of harsh feedback but make sure these are based on examples and not just your judgement.

Take a formulative approach to feedback. Go in with something positive, mention the negative, provide a potential solution and then end with a benefit to the solution.

It is not useful for anyone to hear that you thought management was terrible. A more constructive example may be, “I was pleased with management, however, communication between management and staff could be improved. Strategies and intentions could be communicated to employees so they can better understand what they’re working towards.”

Go in with a diplomatic mindset.

Going in with the intent to be helpful not only helps you to provide useful feedback but it also helps you to remain positive and hold back from being bitter or resentful.

Mention positive examples, as well as less positive ones, as this will help you seem unbiased and fair.


If you’re leaving your job and have not secured a new position elsewhere, check out our jobs page to find your next opportunity!