Once you’ve gathered up the courage to put in your notice and bid your co-workers adieu, you’re probably feeling confident that you’ve overcome the hardest part of leaving your job when you’re suddenly contacted by human resources for an exit interview. While exit interviews can be nerve-wracking as hardly anyone likes to explain why they’re quitting, exit interviews can actually be productive for both you and your employer.
Here are five questions you’ll likely be asked before you finally head out the door.
1. Why Are You Leaving?
This is probably the most common question employers will ask during exit interviews, and employees are asked for several reasons. First, an employer wants to know whether one single event caused the departure such as a falling out with a co-worker or manager. Second, an employer may be hoping to determine whether there are any flaws with the position that he or she must resolve before hiring a new employee for the position.
2. How Was Your Relationship With Your Manager?
It goes without saying that an employee’s relationship with his or her manager was probably the most influential in the daily work life, so employers want to know the good, the bad, and the ugly. How did you feel about your supervisor’s management style overall? What did he or she do well? Also be prepared to provide suggestions for ways that your manager could improve. Although you’ve probably had the “don’t say anything bad about your boss” rule ingrained in your brain, it’s necessary feedback that your employer needs to know. Keep in mind that it’s not necessary to go crazy and start rattling off every little thing he or she did that irked you, especially since your information may be relayed back to him or her. When in doubt, keep it cordial and constructive.
3. What Did You Enjoy Most About Your Job?
Although one of the main goals of exit interviews is to get constructive feedback, you might be given the opportunity to highlight the positives of your position as well. In a typical exit interview, you’ll likely be asked about the parts of your job you enjoyed the most. Whether it was your team members, certain duties, or the weekly employer-sponsored happy hours, it’s important to tell your company why you looked forward to going to work. This knowledge not only helps your manager continue to do the things that are making employees happy, but he or she can also use this information when playing up your position for prospective candidates for your position.
4. What Did You Not Enjoy About Your Job?
Once you’ve answered the positive question regarding your position, be prepared for the flipside. Maybe your boss was a micromanager. Perhaps you hated the responsibility of coordinating the monthly meeting. Maybe you feel that your department must be restructured in order to work more effectively and efficiently. Here’s your chance to share those complaints that you previously reserved for venting sessions with friends and mutters under your breath.
5. What Qualifications and Skills Should We Look for in Your Replacement?
You have the best insight into what it takes to do your job well, and your employers want to hear about it so that they know what to look for in candidates. For instance, if your job description initially indicated that you’d need to have strong database management skills yet hardly anyone ever touched the database, let your employer know that it was an obsolete duty that no one ever removed from pasting job descriptions over and over. Instead, you feel that finding a candidate with strong multi-tasking and organizational skills is more important to emphasize. Your employer is sure to appreciate and use any information and details you can provide.
Exit interviews are really nothing to worry about. Think of them as your chance to have an honest, valuable discussion about the ins and outs of your former position. However, if you do start to feel stressed, consider the worst thing that could happen. After all, your employer can’t fire you from an exit interview.