What is Exit Interview & What your HR Wants

The job market continuously changes to match the growing new industries. As a result of these changes, we find ourselves finding jobs that matches our preference and skills which were not available before. However, before you can quit, you may end up having to attend an exit interview.

But, what exactly is an exit interview and can it affect your future career?

What is an exit interview and what your HR wants to know?

An exit interview is a formality for your former company to find out why you are quitting. They will sort out all the paperwork to finalise your resignation, including your referral to your new company.

With this said, whatever you say in the interview can be used against you, especially if you are looking for a referral.

However, a good company will conduct a proper exit interview. Not by asking your boss to do it, I mean, not everyone wants to or can tell your boss that the reason that you want to leave your job is because you can’t stand your boss’s guts.

Usually, an exit interview is done by an external party like a HR or a manager from a different team / department. It should be conducted in the privacy and with formality, not over a lunch at the company’s cafeteria.

Here are some of the things your HR wants to know during your exit interview:

Why are you leaving your job?

Duh! This is the number one question your HR will definitely ask during your interview. Here, they will figure out what caused you to leave and what lapses they missed before they hire another one.

Do you think you have what it takes to do your job well?

With this question, they are trying to figure out what their qualified employees felt in their position. They may also use this question to gauge the hiring qualification of your position as well as to suss out the loopholes in the training department.

Did you have a good relationship with your team leader or manager?

This is not a trick question. Sometimes, the reason why you quit is because of your team leader or manager. Your HR wants to know every detail, including your suggestions to prevent it from happening again.

What did you like/dislike about the job?

For these questions, your HR wants to know what they can do to improve the job position and how to dress up the job opening.

What should we look for in your replacement?

Your HR is asking you here what kind of employee they should look for to handle your vacated job. This will help them update the job if necessary.

Tips when going to an exit interview

If you are scheduled for an exit interview, here are some tips you should remember:

1. Don’t vent during the interview

Your HR doesn’t have the time to listen to all your frustrations about your manager or your job during the interview. Vent somewhere else, like in your resignation letter, and detail why you are resigning. Make sure to give this to your HR before your interview.

2. Plan for the interview

Before your interview, plan for it like you are going for a job interview. Prepare how you will answer the questions without sounding like you are venting.

3. Think of the positives

When you answer your HR’s questions, you shouldn’t sound too casual or critical. Your answers can spell trouble for the people who are involved with you and affect the company in general.

Try your best to give professional advice to the company but keep it brief. Say why you loved the job and how it will benefit you in your future career. You can also thank the company for giving you a shot so you won’t break up with them in the wrong foot.

So should you be brutally and utterly honest?

Yes, you should be honest but be professionally polite. That means no name-calling, no shaming and no bias. If you want to air your grievances, do it while citing examples and incidents. Offer suggestions of your own and be practical about your solutions.

Be careful not to burn bridges (unless your leaving reason is due to abuse). You may never know if you will one day return to the same company or the HR that you are bitching to, ends up working in your new workplace.

Resigning? Here are some tips to go about existing gracefully:
Writing a Resignation Letter
To Quit or To Stay? What Gives?
The Best Way to Job Search When You Are Employed

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18 Comments Add yours

  1. iamvhardik says:

    A nice and informative post.

    Reading your posts gives an insight to soft skills.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Kally says:

      Thank you so much.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. J says:

    Interesting, I’ll take note!

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Another WINNER Kally, thanks!

    I’ve had this experience just once.

    Kally solid advice NOT to “burn your bridges” is critical. (I’ve worked twice for the same employer).

    Also in your candor, DO NOT say anything that can be used against you.
    And I would add, do not share were your “going”, or even what your new position will be (use I’d prefer not to answer that question.) politely said.

    Do use candor; BUT also give less than “all of the information”. The Less you say the less can be used against you, or those you have been asked to comment on. Do NOT try here “to get even.”

    Excellent Kally!
    God Bless,

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for the insight, Kally!

    Believe it or not, I never have been on an exit interview, though plenty of one-time colleagues have been. In our company, the exit interview is one the last steps, coming after, even, boxing up one’s belongings. In fact, the exit interview is usually the final step before ultimate goodbyes.

    Someone who became a good friend had an exit interview at our company, but I never asked him afterward what happened.

    Now I know, and with your advice, I’ll plan for my own exit interview, whenever that’ll be.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Kally says:

      Thank you so much for your comment. I, myself have only been to 3 exit interviews. All 3 of the interviews ended quite well with one of the HR asking me if I can recommend her to my new company! Haha!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha! indeed, Kally!

        You were the smart one, getting out early. Little did you expect the HR person to beg you to take her with you!

        See? Your followers are limited to these pages!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Correction “See? Your followers AREN’T limited to these pages!”


          Proofread before you hit ‘Enter,’ TA!

          C’mon..this is basic Journalism 101 stuff

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Kally says:

          Haha! I love the way you put it. I didn’t take my HR with me. I didn’t think it was appropriate or professional for her to ask me during a formal meeting. If she had asked me after I left the company, I will consider recommending her actually.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s nice to know what to expect in an exit interview, as well as how to tell if your employers are conducting a proper exit interview. I haven’t had to do one yet, but I want to be sure I can answer the questions well if one comes along.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Kally says:

      Just remember that to be professional in your answers and you’ll do fine 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  6. bernard25 says:

    Bonjour mon Amie KALLY
    Tu vois

    La rose symbolise l’amour , surtout la rose Rouge
    La rose
    Qui vient de notre cœur a besoin de la chaleur du soleil
    Comme nous avons besoin de la chaleur humaine
    L’eau aide la rose à s’épanouir
    Comme nous avons besoin de l’eau pour s’hydrater et grandir
    Nous avons tous besoin de notre famille
    Comme la rose a besoin de son feuillage
    La rose est belle et douce
    Comme la feuille qui vient de tomber d’un arbre
    Le tout symbolise que la vie est fragile
    Comme une rose que l’on vient de cueillir
    Je te souhaite une belle journée ou soirée
    Gros bisous amitié

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Kally says:

      Thank you, Bernard 🌻


  7. msw blog says:

    Good post. I have seen a trend among my friends that more companies are sending out paper and/or electronic exit surveys for ex employees to complete, and return. I think this is a great way to get honest feedback

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kally says:

      I think so too. Many of my staff told me that they enjoy my 1 on 1 sessions and find it very beneficial to them.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. kevin cooper says:

    Great advice and good informative post, Kally. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kally says:

      Thank you so much , Kevin

      Liked by 1 person

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