An exit interview is something employees often dread. They may not be sure exactly what they should and should not say. One of the main concerns of businesses is employee turnover. This can cost companies a lot of money with lost productivity and the time it takes to train new employees.
Employers generally feel that these interviews are important because they can help them to identify problems. Although an employee should be honest as to why they are leaving their position, they should do so tactfully and some things are better left unsaid. The following are some things that should not be voiced during an exit interview.
1. Do not make negative comments about a supervisor.
Making negative comments about the boss is not helpful and it makes the employee look bad. Being angry or making sharply critical comments can backfire. References from the former boss can be affected as a result. It can also be a problem if the employee needs to come back to this company at a later date.
2. Do not make negative comments about co-workers.
In the same way that making negative comments about a boss is bad, attacking co-workers can cause problems as well. If an employee does not get along well with others this can reflect poorly on the employee. Although some people are just naturally hard to relate well with, it is not going to help to say bad things about them. It can actually make the employee look petty.
3. Do not infer that the company will suffer.
Although many people may feel that their contributions to a company are what kept it productive, an exit interview is not the time to say so. It sounds self-centered and it is not productive for the employer. An employee should never say or give the impression that the company will go under without them.
4. Do not say that no one is content at the place of employment.
An employee should never speak for their co-workers and it is is not perceived as constructive to say they were never happy or satisfied with their job. The interviewer will wonder why the employee stayed if they were that unhappy. Comments that were made among co-workers should stay private. Keep in mind that co-workers are not leaving and they need their job.
5. An employee should never say they would never return to work at the company.
If an employee feels strongly that the job they had was so bad that they would never return to work there, they should not have been there in the first place. Saying something to this effect can make the employee look bad. It can make a boss wonder why the employee stayed with the company. It can also affect what type of references are given for the employee.
6. Do not brag about a new position with another company.
One of the things asked when leaving a position is why the person chose to leave. While it is fine to respectfully say that they are receiving more pay or better hours, they should not brag about how much better it is working at the new company. Never imply that the new company is better than the previous one. This comes across as gloating and it is not helpful for the former employer.
7. An employee should not use the interview to say they would have stayed if.....
Once an employee makes the decision to find or take another job, the previous job is over and behind them. It does not do them or the interviewer any good for them to say they would have stayed if this or that would have been done. Of course, pleasant working conditions are appreciated by everyone, but pointing out specific things that an employee feels should have been done to make them stay is not helpful in any way.
8. “Take this job and shove it” or profanity is not a good idea.
Since the employee is leaving anyway, they may feel this is a good opportunity to say or act however they please. Using profanity or getting belligerent reflects badly on the employee. It may make the employer wonder why they hired them in the first place. Down the road they may end up working with this person again and it is best to be professional and calm.
9. “No comment” is not a good answer to questions.
Although an employee may feel that refusing to comment on questions they are being asked during the exit interview is the best response, it does not help and it could hurt. Being uncooperative gives the interviewer reason to believe that something is being concealed.
The impression may be that this interview isn't important since the employee is leaving. This is not true. It can help the employer and being cooperative is professional and protects the employee's reputation.
By Andre Bradley