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asmonet's avatar

What does an 'Exit Interview' typically cover?

Asked by asmonet (21415points) September 24th, 2008

I’m thinking of quitting my job, their practice is to hold exit interviews with each employee. Pretty standard stuff, but having only worked at movie theaters and pizza places before this I don’t really know what to expect and would like to know what kind of questions I’m up against and any advice on answers if I need to come back to it in the future.

I should mention, I hate that place (not the work, but the people). A lot. I’ve found numerous problems with management and employee behavior. I was told they usually ask if you have any ideas for improvement…should I avoid this topic and stay on their good side or should I be honest (and obviously nice about it)?

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21 Answers

Nimis's avatar

Usually people are nice about it because they need references, etc.

However, a friend of mine just recently quit her job.
(Apparently, her soon-to-be ex boss was really horrific.)
The only thing was that she already had a new job lined up.
She’s usually hates being confrontational.
But a whole bunch of her co-workers pleaded with her to tell everything to HR.
So she laid it all out in her exit interview.
It was crazy. Shit went down.
The big-wigs had a follow-up meeting
and decided to entirely restructure the upper management.
But once all the dust cleared, her old co-workers couldn’t thank her enough.

So…uh. The question is this:
– Do you have a lot of stuff to tell HR?
– Do you still need references?
– Are you in a position to help your old co-workers?
– Do you care about whether this company succeeds?
– Or could you not care less either way?

augustlan's avatar

Honest, but professional.

Nimis's avatar

Oh, yeah. And what Augustian said.

sarapnsc's avatar

copied and pasted from job search tech.about

An exit interview is typically a meeting between at least one representative from a company’s human resources (HR) department and a departing employee. (The departing employee usually has voluntarily resigned vs. getting laid off or fired.) The HR rep might ask the employee questions while taking notes, ask the employee to complete a questionnaire, or both.

It’s your right to decline an exit interview. A reputable employer will respect your decision. However, a not-so-reputable employer might resent that you didn’t participate and file a “would not rehire” or similar adverse notation in your personnel records. The same employer might reveal the notation during a background check.

Human resources departments conduct exit interviews (also called exit surveys) to gather data for improving working conditions and retaining employees. However, a hidden purpose is to help employers avoid costly litigation down the road, caused by “disgruntled” employees. In other words, your comments and the notes an HR rep takes during your exit interview might be used against you in court, should you decide to sue your former employer.

Nimis's avatar

Oops…I read that as you didn’t hate your co-workers.
Probably shouldn’t be watching TV while answering questions.
In which case, forget it. Not worth the effort.
Honest, professional, and minimal.
Unless, of course, you plan on suing them down the line.

deaddolly's avatar

Legally employers can only tell ppl your dates of emp and if they would rehire, as far as references go. They always tell you not to ‘burn your bridges’, but I think if you phrase things tactfully and professionally and be honest – it will make you feel better.
this approach works best in larger companies. Small companies are more difficult, since everyone knows everyone and procedures are normally not as strictly followed.

cak's avatar

@sarapnsc – great answer.

I had to hold them for employees departing the company. I will say this- if you are leaving because you just need to move on, but you had conflicts – be diplomatic! It does help and goes very, very far in improving things for other employees! (as well as leaving an excellent memory of the former employee!)

We had a manager that we just couldn’t quite catch doing any one thing that would get him fired, but knew he was doing something wrong – he had pull higher up so it made it more difficult to get rid of him. Finally, after I had several departing employees outline issues, I could tie them together and we were able to remove this person from a their position.

Even better, two of the departing employees, were rehired. Exit interviews help the person leaving, usually clears the air and can leave things on the right foot and cut down on “bridge burning;” also, it really can help a company improve on it’s working environment for other employees.

deaddolly's avatar

@cak very well said.

sarapnsc's avatar

@cak…thank you:)

cak's avatar

@deaddolly – thanks!

asmonet's avatar

There is a small possibility I will pursue a lawsuit against them, the company in question is an international four diamond hotel chain. You have ALL seen one, I’m sure. Specifically for breach of confidentiality regarding some medical issues, it’s a bit complicated but my managers from my direct supervisor, my assistant managers and my department manager have all participated in it. Sharing information with other employees, etc. It’s made it very uncomfortable to the point where I’ve called off because I just don’t can’t be there. It’s sad cause I liked it before this.

I appreciate your help everyone, I do have legit concerns, but I’m worried it’s a situation someone mentioned above where all I’ll be is one of those dots to be connected. I think I might see if I can line up another job and then decline the interview, while it may not be very mature of me, it’s gonna be hard for me to word things the right way when I’m this upset with the company.

Then again, knowing I’m on my way out, may calm me down. We’ll see. Thank you all!

deaddolly's avatar

If it’s a hippa violation, I would refuse the interview as well. Don’t do anything to compromise your case. No one will watch your ass, but you.

I hope you take them to the cleaners!

Mr_M's avatar

At this exit meeting, I’d make sure to mention “I trust I can use you for references in the future” and see what they say (unless you KNOW you’re a screw up).

Mr_M's avatar

Make sure, when you leave, you have the proper spellings and phone extensions for people you feel you may need to contact down the road.

Judi's avatar

Your friend was brave. I applaud her !!!

Judi's avatar

I would consult your attorney before your exit interview if you are considering filing a law suit against them. Otherwise, Politley decline the exit interview. You need to keep the high road. If you choose NOT to sue, but want HR to really know why you left, consider writing it down. It would make it easier to get your point across without getting emotional in the exit interview.

cak's avatar

@Judi – absolutely!

asmonet – what they are doing is against the law. You need to let someone know, but if you decide not to take legal action, you do need to, at the very least, let HR know. Writing it down, instead of just blurting it out, is probably (as Judi mentioned) a smart way to go, too. You’ve taken the time to write (type) it out, put thought into it and it’s not a rushed statement. Please be very accurate.

good luck to you!

Judi's avatar

And if you decide not to sue but to tell them why, let HR know that you are telling them because you have a sense of loyalty to the company you feel a need to bring it to their attention. It is always a conflict when you have developed a sense of ownership in a company then someone comes along and tarnishes thier honor. Especially when you are the brunt of it. It’s sort of like getting slapped by someone you totally trusted.

Nimis's avatar

Asm: Good luck!

Judi: We were all especially proud of her
because she is normally quite timid.

Yay, friend!
Whoa! That reminds me…today is her birthday!
[runs off to make a phone call]

mrjadkins's avatar

Leave them with solutions. If you have a complaint, suggest a solution to help them out.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

I thought that said “Evil Interview” and I remember one or two of those. shudder

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