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 I agree that its never in your best interest to honestly spill the beans about what you think is wrong with a company or your manager during an exit interview.  You have nothing to gain, and everything to lose.  It seems the official position here is that one should try and get out of doing an exit interview if at all possible.

 
What about the cases where not doing an exit interview also creates a big red flag?   A colleague has endured a very difficult manager and finally quit.  He followed the advice of respectfully declining the interview request in the most polite and professional way possible.   HR reported that back to his manager before he left, who then spent the last 20min of his last day tearing a strip off him.  Basically said that refusing such a meeting is tantamount to giving your manager a terrible review, and was unprofessional.  He also suggested that it would affect any future reference requests.
 
He's not the only one with that sort of difficult manager with a volatile temper.   In such cases, is it maybe "safer" to accept the interview, and simply give benign, vague platitudes about how it's all great, but you have a better opportunity, than it is to decline the exit interview altogether?
 
Any thoughts?

donm's picture

So, you're asking, "Is it better to burn a bridge, if I suspect that someone plans to blow it up if I don't?"

His responses and actions are on him. Yours are on you. Don't do the interview, and let the manager do what he wants.

stenya's picture

That's a good one - it's unprofessional to decline an exit interview, but totally OK to be a manager who makes life miserable for his staff? Yeah, no.

Yes, decline if you can... and if you must participate in an exit interview, don't let yourself be pulled down into the mud. Nothing negative, ever ever ever - it's not going to help anyone, and could come back to bite you. And you don't have to lie and say everyone's been awesome - if that were true, why are you leaving? "I wouldn't feel comfortable commenting on that" is a perfectly valid answer if someone tries to get you on the record with a damning statement. The examples in the Exit Interviews cast are absolutely golden - definitely give that another listen.

Best,

Chris

 

duplicate_account_MarkAus's picture

"HR reported that back to his manager before he left, who then spent the last 20min of his last day tearing a strip off him.  Basically said that refusing such a meeting is tantamount to giving your manager a terrible review, and was unprofessional.  He also suggested that it would affect any future reference requests."
 

If this happened to me I'd be thinking "Great - I was able to give the appropriate feedback without saying a word!" and "I never trusted this manager to do the right thing in a reference request anwyay."

Personally, I'd endure 20 minutes of shredding while I'm waking out the door to eliminate my risk.   The boss sounds like a jerk - if I've endured him this long what's 20 minutes more? Telling white lies (which is what you're suggesting in the last paragraph) or burning bridges does nobody any favours - especially you.

 

 

BariTony's picture