How to Survive Your Exit Interview

01 May 2018 Virginia Brookes


You have handed in your letter of resignation, you have worked through your notice period and you’ve cleaned up all your belongings ready for your final day.

However, before you’re allowed out the door, you have to do one last thing: the dreaded exit interview.

To help you avoid any unnecessary awkwardness, here are some ideas on preparation to survive your exit interview.


As awkward and nerve-wracking as it may be, when you actually think about it, there isn’t really anything significant at stake.

It’s an exit interview, not a job interview. So no matter how awkward or emotional proceedings get, they won’t make a difference when it comes to your new role. Once you’ve handed over your letter of resignation the hard part is essentially over. The pressure is lifted. You just need to embrace the process.

So be cool, be calm and be collected.

Make a list

The worst thing you can do at an exit interview is ad-lib.

After all, there’s a fine line between being honest and oversharing. If you haven’t done the preparation, you could only be a few poorly worded questions away from losing your decorum.

To help stave off temptation to provide a little too much information, make a list of pre-prepared answers to help jog your memory. Such as “What is your reason for leaving” and “What are the positives of your new role” are very likely to come up in some form, and a couple minutes practice on each will certainly pay off.

Take a positive approach

You might not have enjoyed some, or maybe any part of your job, but we are pretty sure if you take some time to reflect you’ll find a few nice things to say.

It could be one of your hardworking colleagues, lacking the recognition they really deserve. Or a specific part of the employee benefit scheme which initially attracted you to apply for your role. Whatever it is, this is your one attempt to let someone know that they’re doing a good job.


If you have a particular reason or problem that has caused you to leave, always use facts to back them up.

Management issues? Point to a particular time you were disappointed. Give examples of how you were passed over for promotion, or not given appropriate training.

Without examples, there’s nothing for your employer to learn from. Which, if anything, should be how you primarily view this opportunity.

Lasting impression

No matter what the circumstances are that have caused you to move on, don’t be bitter.

As they say your first interview provides the first impression, your exit interview is the last impression you will leave.

If it far more endearing to be the person that left with grace and tact, then the person who went out berating anyone and everyone they worked with.

Remain positive and keep your reputation intact, you never know when you might need to get a reference one day.