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Not every company conducts exit interviews, and for those who’ve never had one, it can be disorienting. What’s the expectation? What’s the point of the process for you and the company? What can you say to make sure you don’t burn bridges with your past employer?  

Businesses who conduct exit interviews are looking for objective feedback about your time as an employee. They’re looking for data to help them understand what they can be doing better to improve employee satisfaction, create a better work experience, reduce potential turnover, and improve recruitment and retention. While exit interviews are meant the benefit the employer, it’s also an excellent opportunity for employees to think about this in their career and the progress and setbacks they’ve experienced.  

Here are some things to keep in mind as you go through the exit interview process.  

1. Be honest.

Staying on good terms with a past employer doesn’t mean lying about your experience. Employers will likely ask questions like: 

  • Why are you leaving?  
  • What were the best and worst parts of your job?  
  • How do you feel about your coworkers, managers, and supervisors?  

Part of being a professional means being able to answer questions like these honestly as well as diplomatically.  

2. Be specific.

The best way to frame answers to these questions is to refer to specific instances that can illustrate what you’re describing, whether it’s deadline issues, management problems, or other issues.  

3. Be fair.

No workplace is perfect, and there are likely legitimate complaints that need to be discussed, but framing them constructively – and not just focusing on negative experiences – is one way to keep the conversation realistic as well as positive.  

Even if you have no intention of ever going back to work for that company, it’s good to leave on a positive note because there’s always the possibility that old bosses or coworkers may have network connections down the line. Positive references can go a long way in helping people secure a new job.  

Leaving a company isn’t like a break-up, and it doesn’t have to be negative and awkward. Even if there are legitimate grievances that you have with the organization, it’s possible to have an open-minded exit interview dialogue that can be beneficial for both parties.  

If you’ve recently left your organization or are looking for your next role, give us a call today. Our expert team can help you find the next right fit for your career.  

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