Resigning from your job? Don’t waste time on an exit interview

Your last few days in a job should be spent juggling farewell lunches and sharing out the spoils of your stationery hoard

Meeting a supervisor to discuss your reasons for moving on from a job may be a productive thing to do in some circumstances; however, when your resignation is fuelled by negative issues, there are no tangible benefits, and lots of drawbacks, to attending an exit interview.

Your last few days in a job should be spent juggling farewell lunches and sharing out the spoils of your stationery hoard; however, for increasing numbers of employees, there is an extra chore to get through – the exit interview.

Rapidly becoming a common feature of modern corporate life, the exit interview has the potential to be either a slightly awkward ritual, which is most likely if you enjoyed the job, or an uncomfortable, non-productive, possibly even career-damaging waste of time, which is especially likely if your resignation was prompted by serious workplace issues and complaints.

HR departments often push for exit interviews under the guise of looking to improve the staff experience and it may feel slightly disloyal to the colleagues you liked and are leaving behind to avoid the opportunity to be honest with management about the issues and problems they will still face; however, here are a few of the key reasons why it really is better not to attend an exit interview.

The pawn effect

Being championed as the person free to complain on behalf of all staff may feel flattering; in reality, the colleagues and supervisors who ask you to be their voice are equally capable of speaking up. By taking on this role, you risk being demonised as the root of all issues and losing a valuable reference.

The office radar

How likely is it that HR, management or pretty much anyone is in the dark when it comes to the problems within a company? It seems unlikely that one departing maverick can make a difference if those who have authority are aware of these issues already yet have not made inroads into change.

A paper trail

Exit interviews tend to have a set format and are more about collecting data than dealing with specific complaints and requests. There is generally no provision for deviating from this.

No outcomes

If previous exit interviews had any worth, policies for change and growth would have emerged from them. When meetings produce nothing visible, they are probably only paying lip service to the agenda.

It is history

You are on the way out, so focus on the next step and do not get caught up looking backwards. Completing all the tasks you have been paid to do is all that should be expected and the ‘cleaning out my desk’ line is a great reason to give if you receive a call to arrange that exit interview!

You have already made the wise decision to leave and move on to a company culture where meeting to discuss problems as you leave is unnecessary, largely because communication between all levels of staff is encouraged.

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