BLUF - DO I share my observations and feelings during an exit interview

I'm leaving my current place of work.  I've been here for many years and have worked through many levels.   I have many observations and "feelings" of what is being done, what needs to be done, and why.   We have had new leadership for the last year and 4 months.  I don't have a good relationship with them, and the primary mover in the area I have knowledge/skills/experience in is a non-communicator "bad boss".  Do I attempt to have an Exit Interview with this person and share (and I don't mean attack).

I know in my new job that I will need to maintain a relationship of sorts with this boss.  And people I care about and have good working relationships with are affected by his decisions and poor communcation. 

Part of me really wants to share in a non-emotional way what I think is happening in the business and why, and what the impacts this will have on the business.

Another part of me just wants to leave quietly and highlight to people roles that they are suitable for when they come up.




rgbiv99's picture

There was a cast about this. I can't find the link. In short: say nothing negative about anyone or anything, ever. Repeat that mantra as necessary.

The reason is because people are not going to change their behavior based on an exit interview. The only thing that will happen is they will remember Douglas as the guy who hated meetings,  or didn't get along with a peer, or couldn't handle too many projects, etc.

Say positive things (don't let them bait you), thank them for the opportunity, and move on with your life.


PS Congrats on the new job!! 

stephenbooth_uk's picture

Like Kate, I remember it being said in a podcast but can't remember which one.  I did a text search of the show notes I have but didn't find anything.

There is some advice in the comments on the 'Manage your boss' cast.

I've had exit interviews over the years and have honestly found them to be useless.  For one thing if you're leaving over an issue the person conducting the exiti interview is the person most likely the cause of the issue or who failed to deal with the issue (i.e. your boss).

If you can, try to have a handover meeting rather than an exit interview.


jhack's picture

It was mentioned in the Angry and Demeaning Boss series that just wrapped up.  Cast 4 or 5.   It was also covered in a previous cast, "How to Resign". 

Say nothing bad.  Quoting Mark:  "Say nothing negative in any way to anyone about anyone EVER"


asteriskrntt1's picture


Were you actually asked to have an exit interview or are you offering to have one? 

You don't have to have an exit interview - you can decline.  I would not offer either.

In addition to everything said above, what you are attempting to do is manage up the chain.  And that rarely works.  Don't try to manage your boss or bosses.




douglase's picture

Thanks for you input guys.  No I haven't been asked.  Part of our HR rules indicate that there must be an exit interview for all staff.  Because i have somewhat... confusing lines of reporting, I can almost choose who I get to do mine with.

But I doubt that one will actually happen.  I really wanted to validate what I was feeling (ie say pretty much nothing) which has been done.

If they want one, I would be curious as to what their questions would be.  And I would answer carefully.

Thanks again.


Mark's picture
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Say nothing without lying.  The quote from John is spot on.

Do not seek one out.  Avoid it covertly if possible.

There's not a cast on this, but there will be.

Enough said.  ;-)