Exit interview tips

How to Quit on Great Terms

By Fintros — June 2017

It’s said that first impressions are the lasting ones, but it’s often the final ones that are most remembered. If you decide to move on to a new challenge but want your accomplishments to be remembered, here are some best practices for exiting.

Deliver the news in person, in private, and with positivity: Like ending a romantic relationship, you don’t want your manager to find out about your exit through anyone but yourself. Also, it’s poor form to break the news through e-mail, voicemail, or text message. Thank your manager for the opportunity that was provided, and mention lessons you learned from him or her.

Give appropriate notice: The basic minimum notice period is two weeks, but if you are leaving a vital role you should consider extending your notice period to give your manager time to find a replacement or make arrangements so that you are not leaving any essential projects in the lurch.

Assist the transition: You should offer to train your replacement. As this may not be possible, document any essential information on how to succeed in your role. If you have to leave projects unfinished, make sure your manager and colleagues know the steps required for completion.

Get good references: Even if you are stepping into a new position, you should still consider the future. If your direct manager is unlikely to provide a glowing review, reach out to colleagues and clients. Also maintain contact with your references, whether through direct contact, social networks such as LinkedIn, or industry associations.

Be positive in exit interviews: Exit interviews are intended to be confidential, but there is no guarantee that this will be the case. Assume your words will eventually make it back to your manager, perhaps in a performance review. Be diplomatic and don’t say anything that you wouldn’t tell your former boss in person.

Prepare for a counteroffer: Although you have reasons for leaving, it’s possible that you will receive an offer to stay. If you do, consider whether it satisfies those reasons. A higher salary can probably be matched. But if you are seeking a new challenge, it’s unlikely that’s something you will find by staying in your current role.

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