“Be nice to people on your way up because you’ll meet them on your way down.”
Many companies hold exit interviews for employees who have decided to move on to help the company understand how to improve their work environment. If it’s time for you to leave, say good-bye in the best way possible by trying to help make things better without burning your bridges. After all, you might want to return to the same company in the future. During your exit interview, follow these tips to help you stay in the game:
- Prepare for your departure. You did your homework when you interviewed for the job, so your exit interview should be no different. In fact, you have a golden opportunity to speak objectively about your professional experience.
- Interview yourself first. You may be asked what one thing the company can do to make things better for employees in the future. Think about this in advance and try to come up with the most important change you think the company can make in this regard.
- Think positive. You will probably be asked what you liked about your job, so make a list of positive things to say about the company and your experience there.
- State the facts. You are sure to be asked why you are leaving. Do you want more opportunity to move up the ladder, better pay, or a better work environment? Feedback is helpful to any employer, so now’s your time to give it honestly. If you’re leaving because of truly egregious behavior on the part of the company or one or more of your fellow employees, including your boss, tell your story simply and clearly without becoming upset. (Advance practice is very helpful here. Ask a friend to play the role of interviewer and practice being calm and professional with your answers. Being emotional at this point will work against you.) Remember: This is not the time to enact revenge on a colleague or supervisor or the company itself, but to try to help the company make positive changes.
- Be diplomatic. If you feel you were just not a good match with other people at work or with company policies, say so by referring to what you are looking for In reply to: another job in a positive, not negative way, as in “I think I work better in a less-competitive environment,” or “I’m looking for a more creative position.”
- Leave on a high note. Wish your interviewer and the company all the best in the future.