Does anyone else consider the exit interview a strange practice?
Here you are in an “interview” and human resources is asking you questions about your time working for the company you are about to leave.
There is a likelihood you held many of the same opinions before you decided to leave, but for some reason HR waited until you declared you are leaving to ask you questions about your experience.
Until companies decide to hold interviews with employees who choose to stay, it is fair to say that the purpose of an exit interview is to gather potentially useful information that may shed light on making the organization a better place to work.
If you are the interviewee in an exit interview, remember there is probably little to gain but plenty to lose.
If your feelings about the job you are leaving are boiling over, vent outside the interview first. Especially if you believe you cannot control yourself and air dirty laundry. If you are afraid you are going to unload and take part in a scorched earth session, relieve these emotions with friends and family, well before the interview. Remove emotion and concentrate on facts.
Never Use the Following Words During an Exit Interview
As your mother always said, “Hate is a strong word.” It’s also an easy word to fall back on if you are harboring ill will against the company or soon-to-be ex-boss. Nonetheless, if you can bear providing useful feedback, don’t use this word.
Go into the exit interview with a calm demeanor. Allow reason to reign rather than a propensity to seek any type of pay back. For the sake of your colleagues who continue to work at the organization, allow HR to gather information about why you are leaving.
Just as you do with job interviews, study potential questions they may ask and have thoughtful replies. A practiced answer is a non-emotional answer. Make it a goal to always maintain your respect and dignity.
“John is the worst co-worker I have ever had.” “Sally is the worst supervisor on the face of the earth.” “Throughout human history, Katherine is by far the worst owner to ever have lived.”
If you are trying to burn a bridge, feel free to start with the word “worst,” and watch how quickly things unravel. If you should ever need a reference (and many times you will, despite your current belief), strike “worst” from your active vocabulary for the duration of the exit interview.
You may feel that refusing to comment on questions is a wise decision, but it does not help the interviewer. It smacks of uncooperativeness and provides HR with a reason to think you are concealing some truth.
Once again, professionalism must be maintained during an exit interview. Pleading the fifth does not help anyone.
More important than what you say is how you say it. Why begin speaking crudely because you are leaving. This shows a total disregard for those interviewing you. And as they say, don’t shoot the messenger. Leave on a happy note, and then if you must, use profanity in your car as you drive off. Maintain formality until the end because if this side of you is revealed to the business world, it could cost you dearly
Entry and Exit
Just as you entered with a job interview, you exit with an exit interview. Try to make the exit interview as refined and professional as the job interview. This way, the company you are exiting sees you fulfilled your obligation to them from the moment you arrived to the moment you left.