Don’t burn bridges.
There are things not to do in an exit interview to ensure that you leave on good terms. Somewhere down the road, you may find that the company you are leaving will help you with a strong reference in seeking another job.
Don’t discuss counter offers.
One of the purposes of an exit interview is to prevent losing employees who are critical to the company at the time. I emphasize “at the time,” because people known for disloyalty have a mark against them in future evaluations and layoffs. Counter offers can drag out the length of the exit interview, perhaps into days. Counter offers just increase the stress in your exit interview. As I have written elsewhere, they are offers that are too good to accept.
Don’t make the exit interview a gripe session.
If you are unhappy with the people or practices of the company you are leaving, an exit interview is not the time to express them. The time to express your concerns is before you start looking for another job and you can still make a difference at your current employer.
Don’t discuss your new job.
Don’t say where you are going to work or how much money your new employer is paying. Avoid giving any details about the function of the new job or your capacity in the new job. The information about your new job is confidential information between you and your new employer.
Don’t be rude or disrespectful.
Whether you are going through an exit interview with your supervisor or an HR person does not matter. Remember that the person who is conducting the interview is simply doing a job. They are not your whipping child. They are human beings you may or may not like. However, being rude or disrespectful will not help you garner respect from people who may read or hear about the interviewer’s experience with you.
As I said in the first paragraph, somewhere down the road, you may need the people involved in your exit interview to help you find your next job.