Exit interview: Your last chance to make a great impression
The goal is to complete the process without getting drawn into an emotional discussion
While your exit interview may seem to be your last chance to vent out your anger, it pays to hold back.
You quit your job. Last few days, all formalities done and before you say good bye, there is one last meeting to attend. One in which you will talk and others will listen. You have your exit interview. I am sure you are ecstatic to be out of this place where you have spent roughly 6,330 hours of the last two years of your life or why else would you decide to leave. Aren’t two years too soon to quit? And probably you are thinking that this last meeting is the coveted golden opportunity to vent out, how exactly you felt about working here. But that may not be a great idea.
Yes, exit interviews are conducted with the intent to make workplaces better using feedback from exiting employees. And progressive employers do want to know, what makes employees leave and what can they do to prevent similar departures in future. However being overtly critical or candid about your experiences, may damage your reputation beyond repair.
Be honest but not too honest: Andy Teach, author of From Graduation to Corporation: The Practical Guide to Climbing the Corporate Ladder One Rung at a Time, says, “It’s important to be honest but not too honest. While it is alright to tell your HR department about the positive and negative experiences that you have had in your tenure with the company, don’t be overly critical of the management because it may damage your reputation within the company and you may jeopardise your chance of getting a positive reference. And you never know when you may have to work with the same set of people again.”
This is not an opportunity to take revenge: If you come across as overtly critical and vengeful, your criticisms may back fire. Instead try to state facts as is, be diplomatic and neutral. You could make more headway with the HR person.
Make this opportunity an investment for your future: Take this as a last chance to make a great impression. Mention the positive experiences. People you have enjoyed working with, and how your tenure with the organisation has added value to your career.
The goal is to complete the process without getting drawn into an emotional discussion. Stay calm, professional and appropriate. I am not an advocate of lying for survival however there are ways to put your point across without offending people on the way. Honesty may not be the Best Policy Always!!!