Handling your exit interview
Granted, you’re leaving, so you’re probably thinking you’ll just walk in say your piece and walk out. However, exit interviews are just as important as an interview for a new job. You want to leave a lasting good impression (we live in a small world and you never know if you’re going to be back to your old workplace or whose reference you might one day need) so plan for it with the same importance. If you’re leaving because your boss is difficult or because the workplace is toxic, you might want to deal with your emotions before the meeting.
Stick with the facts
The rule is simple: Offer constructive criticism by using facts to back up your statements. Primarily, the exit interview is for the employer to get an honest review of the job environment and culture. And because you’re leaving, you’re likely to be more honest than current employees. The interviewer is likely to ask you your reasons for leaving, whether it was a negative work environment, toxic co-workers, or if you feel you weren’t growing. This might sound like the perfect time to badmouth your former colleagues or tell your boss he’s a jerk but that’s not a good move. Did you feel that you were not growing? The benefit package wasn’t so good? If so, back it up with facts. It will help them improve.
Resist the urge to vent
Remember, you want to leave a lasting impression, therefore, be professional. Even if you hated your boss/co-workers or the overall work environment, you’re leaving anyway, and a highly emotional feedback won’t do you any good. No threats, no badmouthing former colleagues, no blame games, no calling names, no yelling at your boss and don’t leave broken furniture in your wake. You never know whose help you might need in the future.
Let the interviewer know of the positive aspects of your job, the parts you enjoyed. This is your chance to leave on good terms. Even if you hated the job, there must be something you liked. Say a stellar project you worked on or your colleagues. Mention how much you grew, how your stay benefited both you and the company, and what they can improve on to make things better for your replacement.
Just like every other interview, use this chance to ask about your performance. What are the areas that the interviewer thinks you should improve on? Do they have tips on how you can do that? The feedback they give you might turn out to be very helpful in the new role you’re about to take up.