Approach with Caution: How to Survive an Exit Interview

Approach with Caution: How to Survive an Exit Interview (downloadable pdf) by Nick Thompson for The Guardian. Includes good food for thought for individuals to consider to prepare for an exit interview.


For some reason I have always found the term “exit interview” somewhat menacing: “he’s heading for the exit”, “exit stage left”. A bit sinister. My paranoid tendencies aside, exit interviews, like any relationship break-up, should definitely be handled with care.

Not every organisation conducts exit interviews, but good employers or those with an aspiration to be good, usually do. The reasons why companies conduct exit interviews differ. One would hope that in most cases the motive is to learn from your departure. Are there policies, processes or behaviours within the business that should be changed or lessons to be learned? Firms may also know that corporately or individually their behaviour has been less than perfect and they are seeking to appear professional and bolster their position in anticipation of the tribunal case they suspect might come their way. Not so good.

The most common reactions from employees to exit interviews tend to be polar opposites: it’s either seen as a waste of time or an ideal opportunity to tell their bosses exactly what they think of them. But have no fear. Here are my tips on surviving an exit interview:

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