Exit Interviews: What will I be Asked?

EXIT- stage right…or left  –  just exit! 

Exit interviews can be seen in two ways: good or bad. Either you’re getting an exit interview because you’ve left the company for your own reasons or the company has moved on without you.  Whether leaving a company is on your terms or theirs, you should understand what to expect from the exit interview.

The main purpose.  

The purpose of any exit interview is to help both the company and employee express likes/dislikes, possible reasons of termination or for the employee to discuss reasons why they are leaving. The exit interview also allows the employee and human resource department to review the final paycheck and ensure that all company property is returned and accounted for so that the employee can depart with a clean record.  

You may not get closure.

Exit interviews don’t always allow for an employee to obtain closure, especially if terminated. So as an employee you need to understand that now. Do you remember the movie “You’ve Got Mail?” Meg Ryan’s character really struggled with being told “It’s not personal, it’s business.” And it’s a saying that hits close to home for many. Unfortunately with many HR departments, maintaining a business attitude feels more like a knife through the gut. While it’s business for the company, it’s personal for the employee. So whether the position was terminated, you didn’t meet your numbers for the season or you broke policies that were brought to HR’s attention; the fact of the matter is you may never know exactly why your employment ended. All you can do is prepare ahead of time. This means that for any job, you should fully read the employee’s manual upon hire. The manual goes through all hiring and exit procedures, company policies and company property. The more you understand about your expectations, the less likely you are to ever go through a negative exit interview! 

Handle yourself professionally at all times.  

Receiving an exit interview, whether on your terms or not, can be an emotional thing.  But if you’re not the one initiating it, it can be that much harder. Depending on the company, an exit interview can be lengthy or quick. You will be called upon by HR, receive the brief information about your exit, and be given paperwork to sign. It is up to each company’s policy to determine if more information is given. Some companies will provide feedback on your performance, offer references or help with recruiters, allow you time to gather your things, or even offer severance pay. But in this day and age, most financial positions are not afforded these courtesies.  This means that you will probably not get a two weeks’ notice, or be given a heads-up by your boss. The exit interview will most likely happen the day you’re let go and afterwards you will be given a short amount of time to gather your things. Companies need to protect their assets; so you need to understand that while it may be an emotional day for you, the company has to make sure that files or clients are not going out the door with you. The more professional you are during the interview, the more positive a response you may get from your employer. 

Know the company you are walking into. Do your homework and know their policies ahead of time. PrideStaff Financial wants you to be the most successful you can be. The more information you have the better equipped you’ll be. Contact us today for information on how we can help and view our current accounting and finance job openings..