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Greener pastures spotted and courage gathered, you finally gave your two weeks notice to your manager. Now, your goal is to tie up loose ends with professionalism and grace. Giving that notice took you several rough drafts and shots of espresso, but HR only needs one phone call to put you on high alert. It’s time for your exit interview, but to you, it feels more like an interrogation.

Exit interviews necessitate a degree of reservation and nerve you may not have right now. However, calmly, honestly and concisely answering your employer’s exit interview questions maintains a positive and professional relationship after you leave. The exit interview helps them tailor the position for future candidates and grow the company toward a better future. Here are a few questions you’ll likely hear during the interview.

1. Why Are You Leaving Your Current Role?

The employer is curious about how you arrived at your decision and what specific facts guided you to make the choice. What swayed you? Did the urge to move on build up over time? Do you have constructive criticism to offer?

Retention is more important than ever to companies, and your answer provides valuable insight. Communicate concisely and clearly with neutral language.

2. Were You Given Adequate Training To Do Your Job?

Think back to your onboarding. Did you feel prepared for the ins and outs of your role, within reason? Perhaps the training lacked because the technology needed an update. When giving feedback, offer balanced pros and cons.

3. What Did You Think of Your Supervisor?

Going into detail about your relationship with your supervisor means navigating tricky waters. For some workers, their relationship with their boss served as a mutually supportive relationship and provided a bright spot in the depths of shark-infested corporate seas. Others saw their boss as the shark. Don’t say that.

Balance your pros with your cons, and keep it neutral but constructive. What about your supervisor’s management and communication style? You may have felt micromanaged, but your boss also increased their level of feedback and pushed you toward improvement. You became their go-to person and eventually got where your boss was coming from. HR will gain more insight into providing leadership with tips for increased accessibility and improved communication.

4. What Did You Like Best About Your Job?

What were your favorite parts of doing your job? Was it the work culture and social activities? Did you have a favorite client?

Knowing this information empowers the employer to help a new hire find the positives in the position, and your employer has more positive information to offer up about you if you need a future reference — “This employee was always so enthusiastic when working with clients.”

5. What Did You Like Least About Your Job?

There’s the clincher question. Don’t vent. Offer up a small joke about the paperwork, but don’t push it too far. Dwelling on routine work makes you sound ungrateful and petty since all roles have these mundane particulars. Give one relevant example, and leave it there. This provides the employer with enough information to conduct process improvements.

Exit interviews feel stressful, but they also provide the company with information to improve and discuss the positives of the role with you. No one is going to fire you. Face your worst-case scenario in your mind now.

Enter the exit interview with professionalism and fairness, and you’ll maintain a positive relationship with your previous employer while moving on to greener pastures at a better fit for you. Contact us for more tips on navigating tricky interview questions, and turn potential professional fouls into major wins. 

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