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Being Honest In Exit Interviews Is Pointless

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the but-burning-bridges-is-really-fun dept.

Businesses 550

Esther Schindler writes "Say that you're leaving a job, either on your own volition or because they decided it was time for you to 'pursue other opportunities.' Before you leave, the HR department wants to chat with you about the employment experience, in an exit interview. 'Oh goodie,' you think. 'Now I can really tell them what I really feel.' Don't do it. If your employer couldn't find the time to ask you what was good or bad about working at the company while you were still working there, writes Lisa Vaas, why bother with honesty and potentially burned bridges now? (If they did ask, give them constructive feedback before you leave this job; they deserve it). Discuss."

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Easier headline... (5, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 2 years ago | (#40743959)

Easier headline: exit interviews are pointless.

Exit Interviews are always flowery (5, Interesting)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744049)

Say nothing but good things -

Tell the boss how good they are even tho they are the worst type of asshole in the universe

Thanks the co-workers for their generous help and guidance even tho they are clumsy back-stabbers

Give great praises the company even tho they are giving you the pink slip

That will make them happy, and happy people (often) do not find time to do more harm to you, leaving you plenty of peaceful time to look for new jobs
 

Re:Exit Interviews are always flowery (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40744277)

Tell the boss how good they are even tho they are the worst type of asshole in the universe

Ummm, no. Thousands times NO! In this instances say nothing. NOTHING!

Positive feedback only feeds the trolls.

Re:Exit Interviews are always flowery (4, Interesting)

humanrev (2606607) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744323)

Ummm, no. Thousands times NO! In this instances say nothing. NOTHING!

Positive feedback only feeds the trolls

Not always possible or practical. If you're in an exit interview and you're asked for your opinion on how your boss treated you while you worked there (regardless of whether it's your own boss asking the questions or not), you can't just say nothing... uncomfortable silence is uncomfortable. You could try saying "I'd rather not answer that", but giving that kind of response tells plenty anyway. So, might as well be nice and lie through your teeth just so that you can part on reasonable terms. You never know if you'll run across your former boss in the future.

Re:Exit Interviews are always flowery (4, Interesting)

khasim (1285) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744375)

You never know if you'll run across your former boss in the future.

Who cares unless he will be your boss in that future time.

In which case, you already know how it's going to end so don't get stuck with him as a boss again.

Just skip the exit interview and get on with your life.

Re:Exit Interviews are always flowery (5, Interesting)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744465)

you can't just say nothing... uncomfortable silence is uncomfortable.

that's your problem. work on avoiding having to give your power away.

that's what is going on. they want to probe for weakness or reasons to 'mark you down badly'.

nothing good comes from this. trust me. been working quite a long time in tech, in many of the top-named large and small companies. not once was an exit interview beneficial to ME. and I know for a fact that it has hurt me (a friend at a past job somehow got sight of my exit interview text and said that I was forever blackballed from returning to that place again).

believe it.

just say nothing or excuse yourself.

its like getting questioned by a cop. nothing good can come from that. just say as little as you can and get the hell out of there as fast as you can.

this is a no-win situation and they try to sell it as a way to 'fix' things that need fixing. there is zero truth to that, I assure you.

please, for your own sake, bypass the exit interview. please. you will thank me years from now for this advice. I learned the hard way. you should not have to.

Exit Interviews are always flowery - updated (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40744439)

01. Keep a diary of your managers and co-workers actions in all their asserholery. Secretly tape meetings and keep copies of all emails. Also email back a confirmation of any mutually contradictory directive any one of your line manager(s) may give you.

02. Say nothing but good things -

03. Tell the boss how good they are even tho they are the worst type of asshole in the universe

04. Thanks the co-workers for their generous help and guidance even tho they are clumsy back-stabbers

05. Give great praises the company even tho they are giving you the pink slip

06. That will make them happy, and happy people (often) do not find time to do more harm to you, leaving you plenty of peaceful time to look for new jobs

07. When you've found a new job post evidence derived from 01 to their competitors and online ...

Re:Easier headline... (5, Insightful)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744129)

I don't know. I've had jobs I've hated so much that the exit interview provided some much needed catharsis to combat years of stress.

Re:Easier headline... (5, Insightful)

mikeiver1 (1630021) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744255)

Been there, done that, nothing good came of it at all! Exit interviews are simply pointless for the exiting employee. They are simply another keep busy activity for the over payed HR tools. I have never seen any substantial changes come of the info gleaned from them and being critical of the company, management, and your fellow past employees can only result in trouble down the line. Remember that they can't speak ill of you but they can simply answer that they would not rehire you. The kiss of death for anyone looking for a job now days.

Re:Easier headline... (5, Interesting)

mmarlett (520340) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744319)

I once told my employer that I was leaving in three months. I honestly didn't know what I was doing when I left, but it had gotten so bad for me that I just had to leave. Telling them that I was going was a great weight off my chest. About a month before I was going to leave, they scheduled an exit interview for me. I told them what I thought about what was going on. I also packed what little personal items I had and took them home with me. When I showed up the next day, I had been bared from entering the building except to go directly to HR, where the president was waiting to talk to me to tell me why my resignation was being accepted early. I insisted that he was firing me, because for me nothing was different this day than the day before. If knowing how I felt makes that much difference to them, then they are firing me. So, as was eventually backed up by the state employment agency, they fired me (and still insisted that they were just taking my resignation early). Did I burn a bridge? Not one that I ever wanted to go back across unless they were willing to rebuild it from their end. It was the environment that they created that made me decide to leave, and as long as it was as petty and difficult as it was when I left, I don't care to return.

Re:Easier headline... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40744355)

At one company I worked at, a cow-orker who was getting ousted had an exit interview via a conference go so bad that the boss got a restraining order on the ex-employee.

Even implied threats can get a judge to do that, and it will go on someone's work record. When references are checked, it is trivial to say, "oh, you mean the guy we had to get a TRO against?", and buh-bye future.

I view exit interviews as the same thing as being in the police interrogation room without a mouthpiece (thankfully, I've never been there.) Just STFU, and if possible, decline the interview.

It will do you -zero- good.

Re:Easier headline... (1, Funny)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744483)

At one company I worked at, a cow-orker who was getting ousted

I bet they were really glad he was MOOOOOving out, huh?

Re:Easier headline... (5, Insightful)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744475)

if you need a shrink to talk to, hire one.

go to a bar. chat with the bartender.

find some person online and vent to them.

venting is useful and needed.

but never vent to HR.

Re:Easier headline... (3, Interesting)

DukeLinux (644551) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744389)

True. I used to work for a large company with a big pointless HR department. While setting up the exit interview they asked me casually why I was resigning. I matter-of-factly stated that I despised my boss because he was totally incompetent. In fact, he was...a "buddy" of the CEO who needed a job after a messy divorce. My exit interview was cancelled. They do not like to hear such things. I was not worried about burning bridges...I took two weeks vacation the day I resigned so that I would not turn anything over. I was the Unix admin. F**k them. Every job since then I networked into. Yeah, I am lucky.

Re:Easier headline... (5, Funny)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744493)

The one time I burned a bridge, I brought gasoline with me. My old boss was shaking so bad he could not tell me to "get out". I had a standing ovation as I left the building by co workers.

If you are going to burn a bridge, make sure it's epic and they can see it from orbit.

Re:Easier headline... (5, Insightful)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744433)

I don't think that's true. One of the biggest reasons people voluntarily leave a company is because they didn't like their immediate manager. That's true at bad companies, and it's especially true at otherwise great companies.

One problem during normal employment is that, very often, you are supposed to take complaints first to your immediate manager. If you don't like him, you have to either go around him (which could get you in trouble with him) or go to HR (which could get you in trouble with him).

That said, if you do work for a good company, they may not realize that your manager isn't very good at his job. Someone has to be promoted to manager before the company learns how he manages, and not everyone will be able to adapt to it.

So, the exit interview could be a time to let someone at the company know that, while they are a really great place to work overall with an excellent business plan, communication plan, work/life balance plan, etc., you found yourself in a situation where you didn't care for your recent immediate manager and therefore chose to move on. I doubt you've burned many bridges saying something like that, and now they know. A good company might later be willing to hire you back, especially with all the nice things you said about them overall.

Discuss? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40743961)

Any slashdot submission that ends in 'Discuss' should be rejected.

Re:Discuss? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40743981)

I'll anonymously second that motion. And I promise I'm not the same coward.

Re:Discuss? (0, Offtopic)

spazdor (902907) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744133)

"The Partridge Family were neither partridges, nor a family."

Re:Discuss? (0)

fustakrakich (1673220) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744257)

Did you see Barbra's new album called "Back on Broadway"?

Burning Bridges (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40743965)

How do I tell my HR drone that the boss is a greedy Jew rat that's too busy counting shekels to notice that he's a curse upon the earth?

Re:Burning Bridges (1)

_KiTA_ (241027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40743989)

How do I tell my HR drone that the boss is a greedy Jew rat that's too busy counting shekels to notice that he's a curse upon the earth?

Redundant. They know he's a greedy number cruncher, that's why he was promoted.

Re:Burning Bridges (0)

aergern (127031) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744031)

The same way you said this garbage ... as an anonymous COWARD. Don't bother. You'll just confirm that you are a assmaster.

What about ENTER interview? (4, Insightful)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#40743971)

Let be honest, you must lie at EVERY interview. Exit, Enter, Middle, Top, Bottom, Pointless, etc interview. You may NOT tell the truth. You MUST lie like...like politician. At the end of the day, all the HR do believe that you LIE. So why disappoint them?

Re:What about ENTER interview? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40744027)

There was, uh, an incident where a police had shot a black man in the back. And then went, and plant a gun a next to him and say that the guy'd had a gun on him. What we found out after the investigation is: guy didn't have no gun. Police just shot a man in cold blood.

Re:What about ENTER interview? (3, Funny)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744035)

Not just at interviews. Whenever talking to a HR drone you should lie. e.g. Going to lunch? Yes (actually going to the titty bar).

Re:What about ENTER interview? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40744041)

Maybe you must but that is only because once you lie once you are on a slippery slope. Take the high road and don't lie. Liars will win in the short game but honesty is the best strategy for the long game.

Re:What about ENTER interview? (2)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744063)

Mod parent funny.

Re:What about ENTER interview? (3, Insightful)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744301)

Is this the same slashdot crowd that gets all uppity when a politician lies?

I smell the stench of hypocrisy in the air.

Re:What about ENTER interview? (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744107)

You mean tel your boss he is an idiot? And the only reason for you to be there is his money, not his ass???
You know, you remind me of this fable, about the donkey that was trained to live without eating......almost, because somehow it died at the end :D

Re:What about ENTER interview? (1)

Schmorgluck (1293264) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744127)

Unfortunately, I'm starting to think you're right, and my inability to get a job may be due in part to my reluctance to even slightly bend the facts.

Re:What about ENTER interview? (2)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744229)

my inability to get a job may be due in part to my reluctance to even slightly bend the facts

 
If that is true, Spock would never land his position in the Enterprise
 

Re:What about ENTER interview? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744283)

TOS Spock wouldn't, but reboot Spock would sleep his way to the top.

Re:What about ENTER interview? (1)

mcneely.mike (927221) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744535)

And probably see more action than Kirk!?!?! Oh what is the (rebooted) universe coming to? (Mmmmm... rebooted Uhura!)

Re:What about ENTER interview? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40744151)

HR are part of the executive, disguised as employees, basically a corporate Trojan horse. Never trust HR. They are there to advance your employer's interests, not your interests. In all your dealings with HR, only ever do and say things that will advance your own interests.

Re:What about ENTER interview? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40744297)

The great truth about HR

Re:What about ENTER interview? (1)

yuhong (1378501) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744295)

You probably don't want to work at companies that require this.

Re:What about ENTER interview? (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744391)

anything you say can be used against you.

nothing you say can be used in any positive way.

just leave. tell them you have other things planned that day and you have to be going to them.

giving them ammunition to fark with your references is just not productive!

if you need to vent, vent to a friend who does not work there. never vent ot HR! HR is about as much a friend to you as a cop in riot gear is a 'friend' to you.

in fact, nothing HR does is ever going to be good for you. avoid them or just smile and get out of their way. they are not like you and I and they pretty much only do harm, in their daily routine.

(been thru enough jobs in my 30+ yrs of working to know this fact. I know it very well, and first-hand, sorry to say.)

"Discuss" (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40743973)

Suck it.

Re:"Discuss" (1)

Schmorgluck (1293264) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744557)

It's "discuss", not "cuss".

Not just jobs (0)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#40743977)

Same goes for college exit interviews. Completely pointless. They wouldn't to me when I was going to school there, why should I care if they will or won't listen to me once I'm done.

Re:Not just jobs (1)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744219)

Both my community college and my current university ask for class evaluations. The community college asks for campus administrative feedback every semester. Maybe you need to go to a better college?

Re:Not just jobs (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744555)

My university had an "Exit Seminar" for seniors. Once a week we had someone come in, tell us all about their job, and then we wrote essentially a book report on that plus one other topic set by the prof.

One of the essays was on the worst class we ever took. I chose the exit seminar, on the grounds that the class could have been redesigned as a freshman technical writing course and given everyone in the major a lot of help. Aside from the writing skills, every week, we got to listen to awesome people doing awesome things, but since we hadn't taken classes X, Y, and Z, most of the people in the class probably never get to be as awesome as that guy.

The professor sent me an email telling me I had 24 hours to rewrite the essay or fail.

I always start honest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40743991)

And sure, I've only ever worked anywhere for a day, but at least I can hold my head high. If I ever find somewhere that lets come back for a second day, I think I've found a winner.

I don't care about their reference... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40743995)

I have a scorched earth policy.

Be Nice You Might be hired back (3, Insightful)

BoRegardless (721219) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744021)

Happened to me when they ran out of people to do the work.

Re:Be Nice You Might be hired back (4, Funny)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744023)

Did you do the second exit interview the same way?

Re:Be Nice You Might be hired back (2)

skaffen42 (579313) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744181)

Very true. Be nice, be as honest as you can without stepping on any toes, and don't burn any bridges if you can avoid it. The world is much smaller place than many people realize, and even if you don't end up back at the same company there is a good chance you might end up with some of the same co-workers one day.

Re:Be Nice You Might be hired back (2)

khasim (1285) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744399)

The world is much smaller place than many people realize, and even if you don't end up back at the same company there is a good chance you might end up with some of the same co-workers one day.

The co-workers who were decent probably had the same experience you had. So they can swap horror stories over beer with you.

The other ones are ones you probably don't want to work with anyway.

Re:Be Nice You Might be hired back (2)

desertfool (21262) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744267)

I live in an area where all the IT people know each other. We all know which company is worth working for and which isn't, who pays well and who doesn't. The area is small enough where you speak ill of NO ONE, because tomorrow you may be interviewing with their cousin/sibling/friend.

Sucks. Since the corporation is sh*tty to work for. But I can't burn any bridges.

Not only that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40744033)

Exit interview conclusions about you could be used against you to deny you future employment at that company or elsewhere. No sense in burning bridges, and also no sense in inadvertently closing bridges either.

Posting anonymously for obvious reasons.

Re:Not only that... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40744449)

Posting anonymously for obvious reasons.

I knew it! You're Sasquatch!

Depends who is doing the interview. (4, Insightful)

trout007 (975317) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744043)

If it is someone that can actually make changes be honest. If its an HR person forget it.

Stop that. (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40744047)

Don't post a story to /. and end it with "Discuss". That is condescending and pointless, and removes much of my desire to actually participate in the discussion.

Re:Stop that. (1)

evafan76 (2527608) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744281)

Don't post a story to /. and end it with "Discuss". That is condescending and pointless, and removes much of my desire to actually participate in the discussion.

It makes it sound like a writing prompt in a Freshmen writing class.

Was borderline interested until... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40744061)

Discuss.

How did this make the front page?

Re:Was borderline interested until... (1)

Tr3vin (1220548) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744097)

People voted for it.

Re:Was borderline interested until... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40744115)

k5 cabal, duh.

Don't tell them anything unless it can benefit you (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40744077)

Why would you? Exit interviews are for the employer's benefit, not yours. Any changes they make will be after you're long gone. All you're doing is providing free consulting. Unless you think saying positive things about a boss will get back to them, don't waste your time.

I disagree (5, Interesting)

GrahamCox (741991) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744087)

I have to disagree. Being honest can serve two purposes: a) it can be extremely satisfying, if you have had a very bad time of things and they are coming to an end, and b) it can highlight bad managers or other employees that have caused you so much grief and they might be reined in so that they don't continue to make life hell for others.

I had an appallingly bad manager some time ago who made my life hell with his ultra-micromanagment and his constant snooping. He finally drove me to leave and there was a bit of a showdown - I wouldn't exactly call it an exit interview but his boss was there. I told him exactly what I thought of him and why he was such a bad manager. I think he was actually surprised that his 'style' caused so much friction. Interestingly (though too late) several people came forward afterwards and told me they had had the same experiences with the same guy, and had asked for transfers to get away from him. My response of leaving was more extreme, but driven by the same problems. I heard a few weeks later he did get moved (not fired, unfortunately) and given a role that did not involve direct people-management. So these things can have a positive result for those you leave behind.

Re:I disagree (4, Insightful)

Gordo_1 (256312) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744369)

That's not an exit interview. An exit interview is conducted by some HR flunky who has no real sway over anything. They're just doing their job and that typically involves recording your parting thoughts in your employee file. As the OP recommends, nothing particularly good will come to you as a result of being honest in an exit interview. Just smile and be friendly with the HR droid. You never know when you'll need a reference in the future and some anonymous HR person you never worked with looks up your file only to find a diatribe of complaints.

If you need a cathartic release, you're better off to go home and bash a printer with a baseball bat or something.

Re:I disagree (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40744451)

A few years back, I left a fortune 500 company.

Though mostly a positive experience, there were definitely things I did not like about the company.

In my exit interview, I lied and said everything was great. Why? Because I knew that anything I said would just be used to score the department I was leaving, and saying anything bad would do nothing but hurt the friends I left behind.

Re:I disagree (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744549)

or, just threaten to set the building on fire.

oh wait, that would be .... jumping to conclusions!

(yes, there is snark in this post. and I'm going to go ahead and have to ask you to move your desk again...)

Re:I disagree (2)

Phibz (254992) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744503)

I have to agree with this.

I had a similar experience when leaving. I was caught in a three way battle between my boss, his boss, and myself. I was the lowest ranked and ended up choosing to leave.

If you're considering "firing back" during an exit interview ask yourself the following questions:

1. Given the politics at play and the person I am speaking with what sort of outcome can I expect?
    * There is no point in complaining if HR/higher up managers don't care or are complicit in the problems

2. Are my complaints grounded in fact or open to interpretation?
    * Remember you are the one leaving. You will likely be blamed for the problems that led to you leaving. Make sure that anything you say is backed up with facts and difficult to spin (perception is reality).

3. How will my actions affect the rest of the team?
    * You may very well get the person you are upset with reprimanded. Be mindful of how it will affect the larger team. In my case I did indeed get my direct supervisor moved off of the account and on to another team and I got his supervisor put on probation with another VP and HR sitting in on all team meetings. Unfortunately this meant much more scrutiny on the team as a whole. Some of the other members on the team who were valuable contacts of mine did not look on this kindly. And were understandably upset with me.

Remember most likely your actions will not get the person fired. It's easier to blame you for the problems and reprimand the individual at fault while attempting to diffuse the situation.

Managers will almost always be more likely to opt for a calm, predictable situation even with mediocre output from their employees over having to clean house, and find new talent. With the predictable approach they can work on the team over time and not further compound the upset that your leaving will cause.

The Breakup (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40744091)

Baby, it's not me, it's you. If you'd have treated me better, I'd stay but this has been going on for too long.

Look, I've already begun seeing someone else and I don't want to cheat on you. Let's still be friends. Really, there's someone out there in this big world who is just right for you but that's not me. I really want you to be happy but I want to be happy too. I gotta go. I'll pick up my things later.

Next up: The sun will rise in the east tomorrow (1)

enjar (249223) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744095)

Then set in the west.

There's nothing for anyone to gain, no follow-up, no repercussions, etc.

Move on.

Ask for money. (4, Insightful)

Ryanrule (1657199) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744121)

Advice is not free.

I disagree (5, Interesting)

DeDmeTe (678464) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744137)

I had a worthless boss at a job I left, I requested an exit interview with the head of HR. They didn't normally do exit interviews, but I had been there for 6 years, so they wanted to know why I was leaving. Took a few months after I left to find time for a meeting, but I laid it all out. How I felt, why I left... 2 months later I got a call to come back. They fired my old boss after I opened their eyes to the BS he was pulling. I went back.. with a nice raise and a $4k signing "bonus". It works in certain cases. YMMV.

Re:I disagree (with your disagree) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40744287)

Your particular case is THE exception that proves the rule, on a number of levels:
(Rule#1) Never be honest in an exit interview, particularly if you expect to ever work again;
(Rule#2) Especially never be honest with anyone in HR -- they have an acute sensory perception of Bravo Sierra;
(Rule#3) Normal corporate SOP is the Peter Principle (like promotion to VP), not the Firing of a bad boss.

With your good luck / fortune / karma, you shouldn't even need to work. Why haven't you bought that lottery ticket yet?

YMMV? Ha, ha , ha, ha ... LOLZ. ROTFLMAO.
 

Re:I disagree (with your disagree) (2, Informative)

jaxtherat (1165473) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744509)

I don't normally reply to anon or trolls, but what the devil are you smoking? What a total misuse of "THE exception that proves the rule" you blithering monobrowed goatbanger. This instance the exception BREAKS the rule, making it not a rule. Dear lord.

Here, read up on it:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exception_that_proves_the_rule [wikipedia.org]

Re:I disagree (3, Insightful)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744561)

very uncommon experience.

you had your one. don't expect another in your lifetime.

Sometimes it does good (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40744157)

I worked for the biggest jerk in the world, and when I quit, I told H/R the things he had done to me, and urged them to not just take my word but to ask around.

Later that week, they fired him and escorted him out (not typical there).

The next day, my former coworkers had a going-away party for him, but they didn't invite him (and they did invite me).

Be a dick?? Yeah, that's great advice .. not! (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744159)

Just because you weren't treated the with respect doesn't mean you can't be a better person and treat them professionally along with respect. Why be an asshole just because you can? Life has an uncanny habit of "What goes around, comes around." Plus you can use this as an opportunity to practice your diplomacy skills.

That's the problem with the world -- people just don't care. Maybe if enough people set a proper example there would be less apathy.

Re:Be a dick?? Yeah, that's great advice .. not! (1)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744467)

Just because you weren't treated the with respect doesn't mean you can't be a better person and treat them professionally along with respect.

"Being the better person" is nice way of saying "Let them get away with it."

If no one tells them when they are doing something wrong or mistreating their employees, then they can just as easily keep doing what they were and plead ignorance to how it was making people feel.

If what goes around comes around, aren't you simply returning what they did first?

Re:Be a dick?? Yeah, that's great advice .. not! (2)

shentino (1139071) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744553)

You be nice in an exit interview to keep vindictive assholes from getting an excuse to stab you in the back when they're called on your next job application during a reference check.

When you need someone's help, you kiss their ass.

I disagree (1)

Grayhand (2610049) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744183)

I think my "Bite My Hairy Ass" speech is both informative and entertaining.

It's a bird, it's a plane! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40744191)

Thank you, Captian Obvious! You've saved the day once again!

Wish I could've had one at HP (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40744205)

When my contract for Hewlett Packard was terminated a couple of years ago, I never got an exit interview - and why should I have? I was just a lowly contractor (who HP considered hiring directly, but my contract forbid it). Had they interviewed me, I would've had positive things to say, some suggestions, all very constructive as that's my style when it comes to communication in working environment. Instead what I got was various incompetent people talking shite about my work behind my back after I had already left. And I would never have heard of it, had I not met an ex-colleague in a bar who told me years later just how bad it was... and this was not the only thing HP screwed up when terminating my contract.

My opinion: make sure you get your exit interview, you can affect just how badly your career can be sabotaged without you necessarily ever knowing why you're not getting that job you applied for.

PS. Only after writing this I noticed this article is hosted by, who else than, HP. Oh the irony.

Re:Wish I could've had one at HP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40744363)

Seriously, bitter much?

Re:Wish I could've had one at HP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40744537)

A bit, but for reasons I've left out as they were irrelevant to the discussion, and I will not list them here as they could lead to me being identified, and they are irrelevant to the topic at hand. However, now that I'm aware of the situation, I will work with who's left of my colleagues at HP to resolve the situation.

I am an IT professional, and I expect the same level of professionalism of my employers they expect of me. I have many fond memories of the time I worked for HP, I worked in a great team run by the best team lead I've had in my entire time in the industry. It was just the way my exit was handled that left a bit of a bad taste - something that could've been handled better by, for example, having an exit interview.

Was nice once (5, Interesting)

Killer Instinct (851436) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744221)

I gave a good honest exit interview when i left my first fulltime software job.. Wasnt a asshole, and kept it professional, mixed in what i didnt like and what i thought they did real well. The company has hired me back 3 times. Did the same thing at all 4 exit interviews, and maybe if i ever need a job again (with this market one never knows) i will get hired back, and that is worth a lot to me personally. But theres been a couple other places i burned the bridge down from shore to shore, not even a splinter left. Assholes had it coming....and i delivered.
-KI

Red stapler, red stapler (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744223)

Sometimes the best exit interview involves gasoline and a plane ticket to the Bahamas. All work and no play makes Milton a dull boy.

STOP!: Time is money friend! (2)

DRAGONWEEZEL (125809) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744237)

If you're leaving otherwise secure employment for greener pastures, is it really worth your time to do an exit interview? If your leaving for money, realize that your time is now worth what you're getting paid at the new place!

I say Politely Decline!
Or if they insist, schedule one for the last day you are there, and don't show up.

Here's why,
1. It's too easy to say stuff you might regret. Your leaving, your shoulders are light, and your tongue is heavy. You never know who is friends w/ that HR guy.

2. Even if you are rational enough to point out exactly what was wrong w/ this company w/o belittling anyone, How can you articulate that in a way that won't burn a bridge or how will HR interpret that?

3. You can't resist telling them off? Write a letter to HR, and whomever else you think might need to know. It'll be quicker than an interview, and you can sit on it before sending it. You will probably have someone actually read it.

4. Plan to leave like you're coming back next year. The grass isn't always greener (trust me, I made a lateral move for a higher end potential only to take a per hour pay cut north of 30%, My former boss only has to slightly hint that one day they'll need additional staff before I tell them I'm ready to come back. In my personal hypothetical future case, it won't be my boss, I'm actually quite fond of their leadership, it'll be the guy 2 levels up, who publicly mocked how we had to work all this OT, but not 1 breath later mentioned he's getting a fat bonus check for meeting our deadlines.
(This really happened in front of > 75 people.)

Re:STOP!: Time is money friend! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40744303)

Or if they insist, schedule one for the last day you are there, and don't show up.

I like this one. What are they going to do? Fire you?

Re:STOP!: Time is money friend! (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744589)

They can tell all their buddies that you're a sore thumb that won't stay nailed down.

The article summarized in 20 words (1)

pkinetics (549289) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744269)

Be professional. Offer positive recommendations. Don't crap in the pool cause no matter how large the city, everybody knows everybody.

Terrible advice (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40744271)

The article seems to assume being honest also means being a dick. It doesn't. It's possible to give honest and constructive opinions during the exit interview without burning bridges. Being dishonest isn't going to help them improve and it won't give you any satisfaction. Be honest, but be constructive and specific, sometimes it really does help. (Often it doesn't, but you won't know unless you try.)

What a coincidence (1)

evil_aaronm (671521) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744273)

I just left my employer of nearly six years and, at my exit interview, said that everything was peaches and cream, lying through my teeth the whole time. I figured, yeah, I could vent like hell, but a) it wouldn't do any good - as a huge company, they're not going to change based on my opinion; and b) I might need to go back, someday. I'd rather gargle with a mixture of glass, shards of razor blades, and lye, but never say never. So I was "nice" and said all the "right things," even though I hate lying.

It's simple (1)

Centurix (249778) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744335)

1. Complement them on their company and its direction
2. Tell them they shouldn't have to wait for the exit interview to communicate effectively with their employees.
3. "Thanks! Bye!"

Exit interviews are about statistics, not about gathering opinionated solutions. If they seem to act on your advice after you've left, it'll be due to the stats, not your once off rant.

HR drones...ugh... (2)

erp_consultant (2614861) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744341)

I have worked with a lot of HR types over the years and the vast majority of them are worthless steaming piles. Harassment legislation here in the US gives them an overinflated sense of worth and power. Anyone that has been around for a while knows how to game the system when it comes to interviews with HR types. You just throw around a few buzz words, enough to baffle their feeble pea-sized brains, and it's off to round two. Once you are an employee you can expect nothing useful from them. You'll get the annual benefits signup, which is most likely self service anyway. If you dare ask any questions it will surely be met with a condescending sneer. You'll get a notification that it's time to take the BS harassment seminar that everyone sleeps through. At the end of it all you'll get the exit interview. Now if I thought it would do any good to tell them what I really thought of their company I might open up. But the exit interview only occurs under one of two circumstances - I got pissed off and quit or they fired/laid me off. In neither case am I going to be in a great mood. If I quit it's because the company is messed up. What good is it going to do to tell them it's messed up? I'll just end up looking like a malcontent. If I get laid off I might end up saying something that I'll regret later so better to just bite your tongue and move on. Here's the dirty little secret - the HR drones don't give a shit what you think either way. They'll just laugh about it in the lunch room later that day. Here's the other dirty little secret - even if you did tell the HR drone how to improve their company nobody on the business side will listen to them. They are the hall monitors of the business world. Remember that kid in high school that got stuffed into a gym locker? He's working in HR now.

It Depends.. (1)

SuperCharlie (1068072) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744343)

I left a bloated University bureaucracy and there was nothing I could do or say that would have made one iota of difference in the political warfare that was the IT Depts. I could have ranted on about the mismanagement and waste and it would have been good chuckle-fodder for the Division head as he went to his next meeting with the president to spend another million on the buzz word gotta have of the day. I took the high road said almost nothing in my exit.

Now.. if you are in an organization that gives a crap..thats a different story and they might use the exit as a tool but imho, any company over a thousand or so..its just a waste of time and paper to push.

It also says they fire bad managers... (1)

bigsexyjoe (581721) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744349)

The article also says they sometimes fire bad managers over exit interviews. And let's be honest, that's the effect you want from exit interviews, right?

In any case, be a politician. Don't be TOO honest. But if your boss was a total dick and you know he's not going to help you in the future anyway, go ahead and tell on him.

Of course, some companies don't listen, but you can laugh at them when they go out of business so much more satisfyingly if you done told 'em.

Be incredibly nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40744367)

Don't be honest. Smother them with nice words to the point ridicule.

Lessons learnt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40744427)

Don't be delusional and think everyone plays nice.
Most people are awful creatures that take peverse pleasure out of hurting you (in my experience - and no don't tell me I've had a unique experience. I've lived and worked in 4 countries in several different industries, and several companies per industry/country).
I have met a few nice people though too, and they are the ones you stay in contact with.

I had an exit interview (1)

Kr1ll1n (579971) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744431)

And i was brutally honest. The new IT Director had run off the entire team I was working with as soon as he came on board, but i had to stay due to a pregnant wife. During this time, i was responsible for 3 data centers (about 500 servers) and all network issues. I resolved all issues and change requests without a single hiccup, but once he got his people in to replace my coworkers, he tried to say "You are a Help Desk guy, not a Systems Engineer". I brought my New Hire paperwork in for my new manager (yes, this dickwad even ran off my manager) to fight for me, which he was hesitant to do, since he had just started.

Lucky for me, the new manager was a good guy, and went to bat for me.

I eventually found another job, and when i did the exit interview, since I knew the HR guy had a reputation as someone who was not a douchebag, I told him everything. Halfway through, he apologized profusely, and just wanted to ask his own list of questions. The point was made, and he knew it. He had heard it before from all of my former coworkers.

I found out later that the new IT Director came from another department internally, and those guys were 5 days shy of approaching HR and threatening mass resignation if they did not remove him. Unlucky for myself and others, he got moved up before that could happen.

Feedback is feedback. (1)

thomthegoose (2691299) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744469)

Realistically, feedback is feedback. When you take away the way it was delivered, you're left with the simple message. No matter when your former company asked you for the feedback, they still asked the question. Besides, giving feedback with tact can still be as pleasurable and it may show of qualities in you that you may have not previously demonstrated, which could ultimately leave the door open for reemployment...if you had to. You could also help out now former coworkers improve their current situation.

The important part of all of this, and where some people go wrong, is the way the feedback was delivered. Often when people are in these kinds of situations, especially if you're on the getting canned side of things, their emotions are running high. This will sometimes mean that you're running in more of a 'primal' mode rather than thinking about your message. As a result, it can look like a impassioned rant or a blubbering pile of incoherent blabbering (on the extremes). If providing feedback, it's important to place this kind of feedback in an actionable, realistic way. Keep emotion out of the situation.

When responding, try to answer in capsules of information presented in a very factual, respectful manner and including details along the way. For example, "I find that the relationship I had with Peggy Sue was great in many ways. She always greeted me. Though, there were some challenges that ultimately resulted in my decision to terminate our employment relationship. I found that her style was a little too hands on and I felt like she didn't trust me to run with a project to the finish line. For example, recently we were working on using genetic cloning to make a white horse that also grew a unicorn horn. I almost had the base sequences aligned and only needed a few more days to make it perfect. Peggy Sue surprised me with a check up regarding this project and was in the impression that I had finished my plot and decided that she would now take over the project and assigned me to start figuring out how to make pigs fly. This is one example of this type of behavior, I can provide more if needed."

Another critical part of delivering the how is making sure your tone of voice remains neutral, even slightly positive and forward thinking. Since this is text based, I'll try to explain my meaning... Think about a time when you've gone out for dinner and the server you've had is simply amazing. The kind of experience you walk away from saying 'yeah, they were good!' What did their tone of voice sound like? I'm not really saying you have to sound like a sultry temptress (damn you, hooters girls!) or that really flaming gay dude at the gap....but they were into their job and had passion in their voice enough to say that they really cared about the situation, but not enough to get creepy about it.

PS: Huzzah for first registered /. post! =d

the selfish gene (2)

bonds (701580) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744473)

Saying negative things about people is rarely in your interest.

Don't answer like an engineer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40744495)

Seriously.

Try not to answer any of the questions directly. They want to know if litigation is imminent, if you'll be applying for unemployment or disability, if you'll be a security risk or breach confidentiality. You answer all that by saying;

"Thanks for the opportunity here. I have a new opportunity that I just can't turn down."

Find creative ways of answering every question they pose with some facsimile of the above.

There's no point in telling them more about their company -- it's not your problem anymore. Move on. If they really want you and make a counter-offer, tell them that you'll consider it, and then do. Consider it. And what would have to change to make staying worthwhile.

If they don't ask. Don't offer.

I was honest (1)

router (28432) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744525)

I was painfully honest. They had real issues. I had previously on several occasions told my boss what they were. Nothing changed. I asked for a layoff and was told the company would never lay someone who was skilled off. So I quit for unemployment. Told them so. Won't change anything I'm sure, but my conscience is clear.

andy

Only if there's severance pay involved... (5, Insightful)

Angst Badger (8636) | more than 2 years ago | (#40744539)

...and then be blandly pleasant. Otherwise, just don't do it. What are they going to do, fire you?

I'm always amused at the naive goodwill that people extend to their employers. Most of us live in at-will states, without unions, and without any real workers' rights that can be exercised without spending more than they're worth retaining counsel. These are the people who can fire you at any time for any reason, but they want two weeks' warning if you leave on your own. Why give them extra freebies?

Look, forget the employer-employee bullshit. You are a vendor, selling a service. Your employer is a customer. As long as they're buying what you're selling at the best price you can get (which includes work conditions and perceived job security as well as pay and benefits), the customer is always right. As soon as they stop buying, or you find someone willing to pay more, then go attend to your new customer. The old customer wants to take more of your time for free? Politely decline. You're running a business -- you -- and the only point in giving something away free is if it leads to another sale.

Don't bother with work ethic or pride in your job at this point. Those are good concepts and they have their place, but that place is well before anyone starts talking about exit interviews. If you're leaving voluntarily, they treated you well, and you feel like extending the courtesy, sure. But even then, don't say anything that can be used against you later. It's just business, and that's how they see it. Go and do likewise.

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