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Give candid replies at exit interviews

Question :

I have resigned from my company and I have heard there’s an exit interview with HR. What should I expect during the interview? Do I tell them my real reason for leaving? Would it even make a difference to the team? Or would I be viewed as a troublemaker?  

Posted by Jep on Saturday, 19 Jul 2014

Comments :

The exit interview is a very common practice in today’s professional world and is something you should expect to go through whenever you hand in your resignation. It is an opportunity to voice your opinion on many topics, such as the organisation, the position you filled and the working culture.

The usual purpose is to help the company improve in the future, rather than single you out as a troublemaker. The results are normally kept anonymous and are only shared with senior management, so you should feel comfortable that what you say will not come back to haunt you in the future.

You should take a candid review of your time at that company and look to address any of the issues you felt could have altered your experience. 

However, this does not mean it is an opportunity to air your grievances about petty matters or former colleagues. You should treat this as a professional process and try to give constructive feedback if you want your feedback and experiences to be both recognised and be of value to others in the future.

It is recommended you speak honestly. Yes, they will ask why you are leaving, as well as about other matters such as whether the job matched your expectations, training, remuneration and communication. Your opinion on these matters is valued. It is a good idea to prepare your answers for these common questions in advance, in case you get too nervous during the meeting. You could also talk about the positive experiences you had at the company. For example, you could mention the people you particularly enjoyed working with to show your appreciation and recognition of the team.

They may also ask where you are joining in your next position, but you are within your rights to not give these details should you feel uncomfortable.

To summarise, yes, the exit interview will make a difference to the team you are leaving and new joiners in the future, and you should try to be honest with your answers. As long as your feedback is legitimate, it will not leave tarnish your reputation, but will rather be viewed as appreciated feedback.

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