If an interview is where you make the crucial first impression, then it makes sense to think your exit interview is where you leave your equally as important last impression. This could be the last impression you’ll leave your employer with,” says Michael Kerr, an international business speaker and author of “You Can’t Be Serious! Putting Humor to Work.” “And don’t think this conversation doesn’t matter since you’re leaving anyway. People talk. It’s your reputation and your personal brand on the line,” he added.
Exit interviews done right can benefit your future career. You will receive great recommendations from your ex-boss, and keep the door of opportunity to work together in the future wide open. Here are 5 tips to ace the exit interview.
Plan and prepare
You ought to take the exit interview as conscientiously as you would take an interview for a new job, advised Maggie Mistal, a New York-City based career consultant and executive coach. Aside from getting your emotions in check, you need to plan and frame what you want to say during the session. Just as you would prepare answers for an interview, you ought to prepare answers to the questions that HR might ask you.
If you have pent up frustration over your current role or towards your superior, find a friend and vent it out. You need to get it all out so you won’t risk an emotional outburst during the exit interview. From the HR perspective, they aren’t keen to hear what a horrible manager your superior is because the bottom line is that you are leaving. Your time to talk about concerns was while you were employed.
Take hold of the emotions and stop taking things personally if you want to help improve the company. Why did you want to leave? Was it because of the employee benefits or the lack of career advancement? Or it could be that the salary package of your current company isn’t competitive in the market. If you are going to talk about the salary package, do make sure you do your research and get your facts right. When you focus on giving useful information such as the ones mentioned, HR will take note, and your employer would appreciate the feedback.
End on a
You want to say your piece to improve the company but you also need to ensure that you leave with your professional reputation intact and no burned bridges. How do you strike that delicate balance? “The challenge is to provide non-emotional feedback,” said Vivian Rank, a consultant for The Society for Human Resource Management. “You don’t want to rail. That kind of feedback doesn’t get heard.”
Companies want to learn to improve their work culture and how they can keep employees more engaged, she added. “If you’re leaving for a certain company or a better salary, that’s good information for a company to have, too,” noted Rank. The general rule is to “make sure your comments are fact-based and professional,” she said. “In general, most employers want to know what you liked about your job and the company and what you would change if you could. But keep it simple.”
“No matter how certain you are you won’t return or come in contact with these people again, never burn bridges,” Kerr advised. According to businessinsider.com, these are the three things to never utter during an exit interview:
- I will never work here again.
- Nobody is happy here.
- This is the worst company I have ever worked for.
Monica Leong is a storyteller at heart. Graduated with a Journalism and Public Relations degree, she is currently working in corporate communications and also contributes as a freelance writer and editor. Before entering the corporate world, she worked in female lifestyle magazines such as Marie Claire, CLEO, and PEARL as an editor and a features writer. Monica is passionate about writing and working on a short story and flash fiction anthology.