This is a guest post by Brandi Britton.

When you’re about to quit a job and begin working somewhere else, it’s natural to want to focus on the future. But making sure your exit is a smooth one is equally important to your career. And that includes giving your full attention to what’s appropriately called the exit interview.

The exit interview is more than just a formality; it’s a chance for you to embody professionalism while providing the company you’re leaving with useful information as you transition from one career phase to the next.

What you say in an exit interview can be very valuable to your soon-to-be-former employer. The exit interview is a productive way for companies to learn how they can improve their policies and recruitment and retention efforts. And they appear to work: Sixty-three percent of HR managers responding to an OfficeTeam survey said they commonly act on feedback given by outgoing employees during exit interviews. Those actions include updating job descriptions, addressing management-related comments and making changes to workplace environments and employee salaries.

Employers understand that departing workers can give them insights current staff may be reluctant to share. Go beyond thinking of the exit interview as something to get out of the way before you leave a job. Instead, see it as a chance to help the company improve its work environment and, at the same time, enhance your reputation as a professional. In short, approach the exit interview as you would approach any other aspect of your career — another opportunity to bring your “A Game.”

Keep these three key points in mind as you get ready for an exit interview:


1-oneBe ready with direct answers.

People generally don’t just quit a job for no good reason, so you’ll probably be asked to identify factors that caused you to want to move on from your position. If salary played a major role, you don’t have to beat around the bush. The same holds true for the quality of office and computer equipment, training opportunities or any other topic. Managers wouldn’t be asking if they didn’t want to know.


2-twoAnswer without venting or emotional drama.

Sure, maybe you had a rough day — or several rough days — during your tenure at the firm you’re leaving. But that’s par for the course at almost any job. Focus on providing useful answers without the emotional charge that may have accompanied any specific issues when they arose. At the end of the day, you’ll want to be on good terms with the company when you leave, and casting blame or getting worked up over the past doesn’t serve anyone.


3-threeBe judiciously candid.

Although the exit interview is your opportunity to sound off, be careful about saying too much. Consider whether any of your comments could have a negative effect on the careers of remaining employees, as well as your own. You never know whether you may work with a former colleague in the future or need a reference. The same goes when you’re asked about your boss. The bottom line: Make sure any comments you make are fair and actually helpful.


In the final analysis, the exit interview is as much about you as it is about the company. This final face-to-face sit-down offers you another chance to demonstrate your professionalism and willingness to help an employer — even as you’re leaving. Make good use of the opportunity.



Infographic via OfficeTeam at Robert Half International



About the guest post author:

Brandi Britton is a district president for OfficeTeam, the nation’s leading staffing service specializing in the temporary placement of highly skilled administrative and office support professionals. OfficeTeam has more than 300 locations worldwide and offers online job search services at Connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and the OfficeTeam blog.