I have resigned from my organization after many years of service. During my last couple of weeks of working, I received an exit interview questionnaire to be completed by HR. I must admit the questions were insightful and important. I would have welcomed an opportunity to provide my feedback while I was an employee rather than after I resigned. I’m concerned about sharing my honest opinions. Should I complete this form?
Signed: Evaluate the Exit (EE)
Exit Interviews are generally defined as interviews conducted in person by human resources with departing employees, just before they leave a job. In an ideal world, and according to popular website Business Balls, the primary aim of the exit interview is for the employer to learn reasons for the person’s departure, on the basis that your constructive criticism will help the organization improve.
Consider the pros and cons of completing this questionnaire as presented by AskTheRecruiter.com, Nick Corcodilos from http://www.asktheheadhunter.com/haexit.htm. He suggests that the decision to leave a company is personal and often complex. Any comments a departing employee makes – whether they are positive or negative – will be of questionable value. For example, are you sticking with only positive comments to avoid burning bridges thereby being dishonest?
In another useful post on the topic, Beth Braccio, Careerbliss blogger, suggests the following six strategies to prepare for the exit interview from https://www.careerbliss.com/advice/5-ways-to-handle-an-exit-interview/ six strategies to help employees prepare for the Exit Interview.
- “No comment”. If you have resigned your job or been fired, be aware that you are not required or obligated to participate in the exit interview or questionnaire. You can decline. A polite “no comment” from the employee is usually respected by the Human Resources (HR) representative conducting the interview. I would tell the interviewer that you are busy with winding up your current work and training a new staff so you don’t have time.
- Beware of the risks and benefits. If you are a departing employee, an exit interview offers you no significant benefits, other than perhaps allowing you to vent off steam of frustration that you have built up to lead you to looking for work elsewhere.
- Confidential issues. Be aware of the fact that the notes from this meeting may be read by a new HR rep, who might not have conducted your interview. Unless you have a written document confirming how the information from the questionnaire is used, and you are comfortable with this, it’s risky to comply.
- Next time:The best time for an employee to discuss concerns, dissatisfactions and suggestions with the employer, is while he or she is a committed employee, not on the way out the door. There is no upside for an employee in doing an exit interview, other than having the chance to vent. And the potential risks are dramatic.
- Final impressions are lasting impressions. Final impressions are lasting impressions. Rushing through an exit interview with careless answers or treating it as your personal venting session can have repercussions. Maintain your dignity, and aim toward making the company wistful about your work and contribution to the company.
Congratulations on your new position and on building a sustainable and successful career path.
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Joanna Samuels, M.Ed., CMF, RRP is a certified Life Skills Coach, and certified Personality Dimensions Facilitator. Joanna’s expertise is in employment/career coaching, job development and facilitation with individuals with disabilities and barriers. Other expertise includes training of frontline staff, and helping employers with recruitment, and selection, as well as meeting their diversity and inclusion needs. Joanna is a featured employment advice columnist, published author and blogger as well as a part time instructor of employment counselling at George Brown College. Joanna is a frequent guest speaker at different community events and webinars on topics related to employment and careers.