The exit interview is not a time to burn bridges with your old company. It has become a very common ritual throughout corporate America, and the idea behind it is to find out from departing staff members, when they no longer have to worry about protecting jobs, exactly what things at the company can be improved upon. The interview is deigned to be a tool for making a company more efficient and a better place to work. However, many employees who are leaving an organization use this as a time to vent frustrations they may have felt. They see it as a personal gripe session, and loose inhibitions, sometimes venting personal ad homonym attacks against co-workers, and especially against former supervisors and bosses.
This is never a wise idea. Dale Carnegie and other personal growth gurus have told business people for many years that it is never good to burn bridges and offend someone when you could just as easily avoid it. It comes down to the old saying, “you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. ” Keep that saying in mind before the exit interview. Remember that if you make personal attacks they will be seen as such by the people who read the interview report. If you have genuine suggestions for improvement, your case could be weakened by making personal attacks. You don’t really gain anything from attacking or bad mouthing the people you used to work with or work for anyway, and you may regret saying something in anger later on when you are thinking more clearly.
Use the interview as a constructive tool, with good intentions. The company you used to work for did, after all, provide you with a way of making a living for the time you spent with them. Granted, you provided services to them that they needed. And, they paid you a salary or wages. Hopefully it was a fair exchange. If you have honest concerns, then the interview can be constructive.
For example, one reporter for a local weekly newspaper stressed that the computers being used were old and out of date, and that the firewall software used was ineffective. The system had suffered attacks of computer viruses in the past, and it was obvious to the reporter that the managing editor was not computer literate enough to understand how to fix the problem. The reporter knew that the publisher and the business manager would both read the exit interview report, so she carefully and diplomatically worded her comments, showing that buying new computers and new software would save the newspaper money in the long run. By wording it carefully during her exit interview she got her ideas across to the appropriate people, and they took her comments seriously because she had nothing to gain and nothing to loose, and seemed to be reporting this situation for the good of the newspaper and staff. In this manner the exit interview benefited everyone involved.
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