exit interview

Exit interviews can be challenging. Often the decision to give your notice is a difficult one to make. While no job is perfect, there are surely things you will be sad to leave behind. Your exit interview serves as an opportunity to share feedback and uncover areas where the company can improve. But beware, the type of questions asked during your meeting could touch on negative feelings you’ve been holding on to.

It’s important that you offer honest feedback, however, you must resist the urge to let resentments show or point fingers.

The best approach is to stick to the facts. Speak from your own personal opinion and what you’ve experienced first hand. The opinions you share should be entirely your own and not meant to represent the consensus of other employees.

You’ll be asked a range of questions during your exit interview. The HR representative will usually start by asking you how long you were looking for a job and how your new job compares to the one you’re leaving. Additionally, you can expect a few questions on what you think the company is doing well and asked to identify areas in which they can improve.

However, the most challenging questions will be the ones concerning your manager. Why? Because most employees don’t leave companies, they leave managers and this is where it can get personal.

Here are a few sample questions you can expect to be asked:
– How would you describe your relationship with your direct supervisor?
– How did your supervisor handle any complaints or grievances you may have had?
– Did you speak with your supervisor about your career goals? Why or why not and what was the outcome?

Remember, this is not a forum to unleash a stream of complaints. Be measured in your response. You can easily share that it wasn’t the relationship you had hoped for without placing blame. For example:

Our relationship wasn’t as close as I had hoped. I was really hoping for a mentor-like relationship and that just didn’t materialize.


She really didn’t take any interest in what I was doing and was always quick to give negative feedback without investing in helping me improve what she saw as deficiencies in my skills.

You don’t want to burn bridges and it’s important to know that your exit interview lives in your personnel file and is not confidential. If your particular circumstances give you any reason to doubt your ability to stay calm and cordial, consider skipping the exit interview altogether.