S. Anne Marie Archer
The Exit interview: Should you leave one and how honest should you be?
Updated: Nov 28, 2022
In this blog post, I explain why it is important to do an exit interview if one is offered to you.
The exit interview: Should you bother? The answer is yes.
Whether you have a good experience or a bad experience with an employer, as you exit you should provide feedback. Good employers will use that feedback to improve their benefits and work environment. Bad employers may not use it but the feedback that you leave anonymously or otherwise may make it possible for someone else to avoid that employer all together. It will also make it difficult for Human Resources (HR) to pretend that they don’t know about the work environment issues that exist.
There are two ways to leave employee feedback:
1. Directly through your employer through an actual in person or anonymous exit interview process;
2. Through an anonymous employee review on an independent websites created for this purpose like Glassdoor.com or Indeed.com
1. Leaving feedback via a formal exit interview process.
In many workplaces, when an employee voluntarily leaves their position, HR offers them the opportunity to provide feedback about their work experience through an exit interview. During the exit interview the employee may be asked to provide feedback in the following areas:
· Reasons for departure
· Management style
· Areas for workplace improvement
There may be other areas covered both aforementioned are usually covered in the exit interview.
Often, employees who have bad experiences in a workplace do not leave feedback even when the opportunity is offered. Many just want to put the bad experience behind them and move on. But that’s a bad idea. Why? Because it allows the employer to pretend it does not have a work environment, and other discriminatory practices and issues. Silence protects the employer.
Whether you are leaving a job with a separation with severance or without one, if an exit interview is offered to you, you should do it.
In many cases, if your exit is a negotiated one, whether with severance or without, you will not be offered an exit interview. HR often feels it already knows why you are leaving so they do not offer you a vehicle for feedback. But if they do, you should take it especially if it’s anonymous.
2. Leaving feedback via a third-party feedback website
If you’re not comfortable leaving formal exit interview feedback directly with HR personnel leave an employee review of your workplace on an external website after your exit.
The most popular employee review website is Glassdoor but there are other websites that also allow an employee to leave a review of their employer or former employer.
It is empowering for former employees to be able to provide an honest assessment of an employment experience anonymously. It’s an opportunity, to tell the truth, get everything off their chests and then move on. For employees of color, specifically Black employees it is also helpful to be able to honestly speak about discrimination experienced at an employer openly and honestly in an anonymous forum where there are no repercussions or threats to their ability to seek other employment thereafter. Sharing this feedback is very beneficial to other candidates of color actively seeking employment or being recruited for positions at organizations engaging in problematic and downright racist and discriminatory employment practices.
Glassdoor recently announced it is now including a means for employees to leave reviews about diversity equity and inclusion (DEI) practices in workplaces. For those who have worked for employers who talk a lot about DEI but do very little to support their employees of color this is an opportunity for employees to provide concrete feedback that will help prospective hires consider those factors before they accept an offer of employment.
If you are a person of color, there is now a employee review website specifically for individuals from underrepresented groups to leave anonymous reviews about of former employers called Inside Voices. Inside Voices allows Job seekers who are people of color to leave candid and honest reviews of former employers and work environments.
There are also many other employee review websites to choose from besides Inside Voices and Glassdoor, research, link, and find the right one for you.
If your employer provides an anonymous exit interview process take advantage of it. If they invite you to an exit interview with Human Resources (HR) take advantage of it. Provide honest feedback about your work experience and work environment. You don’t have to do it in an angry manner even when you have legitimate reasons for being angry.
If it’s easier for you to write down what you have to say before you say it then do that but do not miss the opportunity to provide the feedback.
If you’re worried about being blackballed for leaving honest feedback with HR, then wait until you exit and leave honest feedback on an employee review site of your choice.
Just because you had a bad experience at an employer doesn’t mean the next person coming behind you has to.
Using the exit interview and/or an employee review feedback website will make it easier for other people to get a better idea about what kind of place your former employer truly provides before they decide to work there.
So, remember: Always do the Exit Interview when it is offered; AND provide Employee Review on an external website after you exit each and every job.
If you need advice or coaching on effectively documenting your workplace, book a HR consulting & advice session with me.
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If you KNOW you are being subjected to a discriminatory hostile work environment and you would like a simple self-directed way to get yourself out with severance pay, Enroll in the 4-part Hostile Work Environment Escape Strategy webinar series.
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