Get advice on how to deal with jerks at work Check out the book 'Jerks At Work' and other titles by Ken Lloyd Ph.D. Return to the homepage Learn more about Ken Lloyd, Ph.D. Submit a question to Ken Lloyd, Ph.D.

You asked, Ken answers ...

This item is filed under these categories:
Quitting Time Insults Expectations Exit Interviews

I will be giving two weeks' notice to leave after the first of the year. The problem is that our manager insists on exit interviews, and I have heard from others that the session is stressful and filled with harsh questions and insulting comments. I don't know if I should just sit there, fight back, or try to avoid the interview altogether.

In the words of Jerry Seinfeld, your manager sounds like a "bad breaker-upper." Exit interviews are not supposed to be a time to grind an employee down with brutal questioning, nor a time to put an employee down with derogatory comments.

It makes far more sense for management to use these interviews as an opportunity to learn about the employees' perceptions of the company and the reasons for wanting to leave. These interviews can provide management with an excellent opportunity to gather valuable data that can lead to reduced turnover.

Although you have the option of avoiding the exit interview altogether, it is possible that much of the talk that you have heard about these interviews is exaggerated. And, if you enter this interview expecting the worst, you are actually increasing the likelihood of a disaster.

You should go to the session, listen to what your manager has to say, and then use a calm and businesslike approach to provide some specific feedback on the company and on this session if warranted. Let your final act with the company be a class act.

Comment on this item

Your name (optional)
If you leave this blank, we'll list you as "Website visitor"

Your comments
Please keep your comments focused on the topic. Thanks!