Pattie Hunt Sinacole makes suggestions on exit interviews

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What to expect and what to share

Ask the Job Doc.

Q: I just sent in my resignation notice. I sent it to my direct supervisor. Who else should get a copy? HOUR? Most employees are invited to participate in an exit interview. I want to be honest, but I don’t mean to disparage the company either. There are specific areas in which to improve.

A: Exit interviews can provide important information to a company. Companies, especially in 2022, are looking for ways to attract and retain talent. I would suggest sending it to your manager only. If HR does not contact you within a few days, you should ask your manager if they have informed HR. Here are some recommendations:

  1. Make sure your comments are confidential. Most organizations will respect the confidentiality of comments, especially if it is a large organization. With a smaller organization, this is a challenge. Large organizations often compile data for leadership and are able to draw conclusions. Larger organizations may find that 50% leave for a position that offers upward career mobility. While smaller organizations, with a smaller sample size, are sometimes not able to provide this feedback, especially if only one employee has left.
  2. Try to offer both positive and constructive negative feedback. Now is not the time to unload all your negative feelings. You can convey a feeling of bitterness. It can also harm your relationships with your colleagues. Who knows who you will work with in the future? It may also discourage your employer from rehiring you. You never know what the future holds. Rehires are a great source of talent. High potential employees, who move to another company, should be “on a list” to be recontacted, if a position becomes available.
  3. Offer factual data. Think about your exit interview before it happens. How will you convey the information and how will it be received?
  4. Why do you decide to leave? Be open about this information. Think about what could have held you back. Was this possible in your current company?
  5. You may receive a counter offer. Think about it long and hard. I think counter-offers are often “band-aids” and don’t usually address the real reasons for your resignation.
  6. Offer recommendations. “ABC may consider closing at 2 p.m. on Fridays, perhaps every two weeks during the summer.” Or “I feel like we’ve lost the ability to connect outside of work, during the pandemic. Other companies seem to be offering harbor cruises, barbecues, and even tent dinners.
  7. Avoid bragging about your new role. It can appear as sour grapes.
  8. This is the time to ask questions about employee benefits and how your resignation will affect benefits. Will your medical benefits end on the last day of the month? Should you consider COBRA to extend your benefits? And vacations ? Do you have unused vacation that should be paid?

Finally, keep the door open. Keep it open to connect with former colleagues who may be able to provide a professional reference in the future. Keep it open to ask a former colleague for their opinion on a project. Keep it open because you might run into a former team member at a conference or even on your bus.


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