Today, many companies are asking employees to complete exit interviews with HR after resigning. The idea behind these interviews is for the company to learn of any improvements that can be made moving forward. However, in order to maintain your professionalism with the company, it’s important that you handle the exit interview correctly.
You can always decline
It may look odd, but you can always decline to go through the exit interview process. If you decide to do this, it’s best to have some kind of explanation as to why. In the past, my explanation has been that I only had a short time left to complete my work and that I needed to stay focused on that. Basically, I was informing HR that I took my notice period seriously and that I did not have time to commit to the exit interview. Believe it or not, I was not questioned further about the exit interview and even though I declined, I left the company in good standing and would not hesitate to ask leadership there for a future reference.
Keep it light and brief
If you decide to go through the exit interview, make sure your answers are light and brief. If you do have recommendations for improvement, be careful of how you address these items. Business Insider points out, that you could risk the possibility of sounding bitter or sounding like a liar. If you never mentioned certain concerns or recommendations in the past to anyone, why bring it up as you are on your way out?
Also, consider the usefulness of bringing up difficulties now. Will it help you in anyway to do this? Perhaps it’s a bit selfish, but whenever you are leaving a company, it is key that you are on your best performance in the final days. You do not want your co-workers or leaders remembering you as the bitter employee who left, holding a grudge.
Keep those bridges intact
Keep in mind that many companies share exit interview feedback with managers, with the expectation of them using this feedback in order to improve or make any necessary changes. If you disclosed something out of anger or untrue in your exit interview, it could very well get back to your manager, leaving a bad taste in her mouth. Never burn bridges! You may need a reference from this manager in the future. Always leave on good terms, no matter what the circumstances are.
How have you handled the exit interview in the past? Please share your experiences in the comments below.