Once an employee hands over his or her resignation letter, it’s nearly time to leave the job, but employees still need to go to an exit interview before they are officially finished with their employers.

Exit interviews aren’t like regular job interviews; they’re more about goodbyes rather than hellos. These types of interviews allow employers to find out exactly why an employee is leaving and to ensure that everything is in order for his or her replacement. In other words, the employee gets to do all of the talking.

An Overview of Exit Interviews

Feedback, positive or negative, is encouraged during exit interviews. This is the employer’s chance to learn about what they’re doing right in regards to the position, areas in which they can improve, and resolve any issues the employee may have had during the course of his or her employment. Exit interviews are typically conducted by a human resources specialist or, in some cases, a third-party so that employees will feel more comfortable being candid about their experience with the company.

Questions During Exit Interviews

Employers may ask a range of questions on a variety of topics, ranging from an employee’s daily frustrations and opinions of senior staff members to his or her thoughts on the work environment and overall job satisfaction. Employees may be asked questions such as:

– Why are you leaving?

– What do we need to improve?

– Have you enjoyed working for us?

– Did we provide enough development opportunities and training?

– What do we do well?

– Why did you choose your new employer?

If an employee has been with the company for an extended period of time, he or she likely has built up a hefty book of contacts as well as tons of information about how to successfully perform the job’s duties. Therefore, employees may expect questions about contacts with whom they already have a relationship in order to maintain positive working relationships, and employers may request additional tips that they can pass on to the employee’s replacement. If an employee is truly valued, the employer may even ask if there is anything the company can do to make him or her stay.

Talking Tips During Exit Interviews

Although the floor is open for discussion and employees are encouraged to voice their opinions, it is still important to avoid saying certain things. Employees should be aware of how they express their feelings since they may need this company to provide a positive reference for their next positions. Although being honest is a critical component of exit interviews, employees should do so in a polite, respectful, and constructive way.

Keep in mind that exit interviews are typically voluntary, so employees do not have to attend if they simply want to move on without them. On the other hand, in some cases, employees wish to attend exit interviews, but the employers are reluctant to organize it. If an employee is second-guessing the interview or has had a terrible experience with the company, he or she should question whether the interview will be of any benefit down the road. Should an employee feel that his or her negative feedback would not be of any use or that there is a high risk of offending the boss, it may be worth it to simply decline the exit interview.