Prepare For An Exit Interview With These 6 Common Questions

By Chelsea Babin

Quitting your job and handing in your two weeks’ notice can feel like a great relief but, if you’re at one of the many companies that require exit interviews, the process isn’t over yet. If you want to prepare for your exit interview the way you’d prepare for a job interview so that you’re calm, cool, and collected throughout here are 6 commonly asked exit interview questions that you can figure out your answers for beforehand.

1. Why are you leaving your current position? This is the most commonly asked question in an exit interview because employers are always focused on improving their employee retention. Be honest so you can help them make improvements but, if your criticisms aren’t constructive, you may want to keep them to yourself because they’re not helping your ability to maintain your professional relationships or the company you’re leaving.

2. What was your biggest reason for accepting your new job? Whether it was growth opportunities, a better company culture, a better salary, more cutting-edge opportunities, or a better set of benefits there had to be at least one big reason that motivated you to not only search for a new job but accept the position you were offered. Companies want to know what they’re lacking in an increasingly competitive IT market so let them know what the biggest motivator was for you when it came to accepting the new job.

3. Were you adequately trained and equipped to do your job here? If there’s been a lack of training or a particularly uncommunicative environment don’t hesitate to be honest. When you’re asked this question it’s best to avoid brutality so you won’t burn any bridges but, if you feel that the company is in some way not preparing their employees for the tasks at hand or not hiring qualified people for the jobs this is your opportunity to tell them.

4. What should we look for in your replacement? Exit interviews are a great opportunity for you to be candid about what personality traits, skills, and qualifications it takes to do your job well (even if you’re lacking a few of them). You’ve done the work day in and day out so you have a perspective that HR and hiring managers don’t and that can help them find a suitable replacement for you.

5. What did you like or dislike most about your job? Highlighting a few positives and negatives about your experience at the position you’re leaving will help HR decide the selling points and caution signs they need to focus on in their hiring process. And it’s a great time for you to share your constructive opinions on almost any aspect of the company.

6. Did you find your manager effective? Time after time people quit their jobs due to managers they simply don’t mesh with so HR will often ask about your relationship with your manager and your opinions on their overall management style. If the “don’t complain about your boss” rule has been ingrained in your mind this question may be hard to answer if you didn’t love your manager but it will help your coworkers who are staying behind and the new IT professionals hired after you have a better experience. Keeping your criticisms constructive is key and remember, if there’s something you really liked about your manager, mention that too. Exit interviews are rarely filled with positivity but if you have some positive opinions to share HR would love to hear them.

Exit interviews are a unique beast that few professionals are really prepared for. That being said, most exit interviewers will ask variations of the same questions, the most common of those being the 6 listed above. If you have a few prepared answers in mind to those question your exit interview will go smoothly and you’ll be one step closer to leaving that company for good and moving on to a brand new job opportunity!