I gave my resignation to the current company. HR told me that I must conduct an exit interview. But I don't want to do it since I believe it is pointless and I don't want to spend my time.

I checked my contract, but I couldn't find anything. There is only mention about to help my substitute to take up my duties.

Can they do anything if I refuse to conduct the exit interview?

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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – motosubatsu
    Oct 13, 2021 at 8:15
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    'Conducting' would mean that you are in charge of preparing, leading and evaluating the interview. Surely you're actually just expected to show up and answer questions? Oct 13, 2021 at 8:43
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    Are you still employed by the company? In other words, are they paying you to do the exit interview?
    – DaveG
    Oct 13, 2021 at 15:51

6 Answers 6


What are they going to do, fire you?

But in seriousness - if it is during the time you are still serving your notice, I would advise just going to the interview and keeping it brief. Your contract probably mentions something to the effect that you are required to perform tasks according to what your manager says, and this would likely be one of those tasks. Not much will happen, but if you don't want to burn bridges and be a bad leaver, just go along with it. It's probably less then an hour of your time.

If the interview would take place after you had your last day, they of course cannot force you.

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    I am not one of the beloved employees in the company. I know they already talk bad about me. Oct 11, 2021 at 13:26
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    @RustumirStormbraid - All the more reason to go, and be professional then. You don't have to answer their questions at length. Likely it's a formality, "what did you like here" "what didn't you like". You can be as brief or talkative as you like. But don't burn any bridges, as is mentioned elsewhere.
    – BruceWayne
    Oct 11, 2021 at 16:58
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    "What are they going to do?" There are worse things than being fired. One could be fired without severance. Blowing off an exit interview could be grounds for not paying a severance. OTH if OP's company was not paying a severance anyway, then OP can probably blow it off without consequence.
    – emory
    Oct 12, 2021 at 13:49
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    @DJClayworth Do not worry about dismissal. If the boss creditably promises you 6 months severance pay, then I would probably show up for the exit interview. They are not just giving you severance pay b/c they like you. They want something for it.
    – emory
    Oct 12, 2021 at 17:40
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    @RustumirStormbraid your current attitude may be a part of why you're not a beloved employee. Do your job. This is part of your job. FWIW, when I resigned from a place I hated and gave an exit interview happily, I was quite up front about how horrible one of my managers was. Turns out they'd had other complaints about that manager, and mine was the final straw. That manager was punished (demoted to a non-management position) after I left, according to my previous co-worker friends. The company just wants to ask you some questions. Be nice and answer them, just like we're answering yours.
    – The111
    Oct 13, 2021 at 3:28

But I don't want to do it since I believe it is pointless and I don't want to spend my time.

It's not your time that you're spending - you are still employed by them and on the clock. If they want to waste an hour of that time with an exit interview (rather than you doing documentation or more useful handover stuff) then that's fine.

Can they do anything if I refuse to conduct the exit interview?

They could refuse to give you a reference (or give you a negative one). Depending on how your industry works, the could also chat with their peers at other companies, and add you to the list of people who shouldn't be hired (blacklists are usually illegal, but still happen).

The best thing you can do is to go to the interview, and give non-committal answers to their questions. Focus on the positives of your new job, rather than the negatives of this one.

Do not use this as an opportunity to vent or complain about the company or individual staff. You have nothing to gain from doing so, and it could potentially backfire and result in negative consequences for you (as per the above).

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    @SolarMike I've never heard of a company doing exit interviews outside of working hours. If they are asking for that, then say you'll be happy to do it, and give them your working hours as your availability. That puts the ball back in their court, and if they can't choose a time when you're available then they don't get an exit interview - but that's their choice, not your refusal.
    – Gh0stFish
    Oct 11, 2021 at 12:19
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    @RustumirStormbraid you may want to think of some generic answers to give to make the process smoother. For instance, if they ask you "What don't you like about working here?", saying "nothing" or just not answering will make things a bit awkward. If you answer with something like "the commute", then that's a perfectly reasonable answer - but one that there's no real follow up or response for.
    – Gh0stFish
    Oct 11, 2021 at 13:31
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    @Gh0stFish the last company I worked for conducted the exit interview outside of working hours - three weeks after I left. But it was over lunch in a nice restaurant and they were paying so I was happy to go :-)
    – Aaron F
    Oct 11, 2021 at 18:12
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    @Gh0stFish I had that happen to me once: I got a phone call from someone with my former employer after I'd started working for my new employer suddenly asking for an exit interview. They were weirdly aggressive about getting it done on a specific day even though I kept telling them I was going to be at a work conference. I ignored any calls I got while working at the conference and they never tried again.
    – BSMP
    Oct 11, 2021 at 18:28
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    @AaronF, very strange, but at least they made it worth your while.
    – Seth R
    Oct 11, 2021 at 21:55

Legal and practical issues addressed at exit interview

You said:

since I believe it is pointless

You may be incorrect.

An exit interview is often the time when the Human Resources department will cover important legal and practical issues.

  • You likely will sign a formal agreement about your precise date-time of separation.
  • You will discuss returning any company-owned equipment (tools, keys, laptop, mobile phone, etc.).
  • They will remind you of your obligations under any non-compete agreement if you had signed one.
  • They may explain compensation policies about cashing out accrued vacation time, and how your final paycheck will be handled such as where you want it mailed.
  • Information and documents are conveyed relating to stock options, pensions, and retirement accounts.
  • In the United States, they will explain signing up for continuing insurance coverage under COBRA.

So attending the exit interview is quite beneficial to you. This is the opportunity to wrap up all these legal and practical matters as quickly and simply as possible.

Take all the time you need to read through any documents that they ask you to sign. Do not feel rushed. If you are at all uncomfortable with any document, or do not understand it, explain that you cannot sign at the moment, and ask for a copy to take with you. Then you can study further, or consult an attorney or such.

As others have said, you may be invited to give feedback about your experience with the job and company. And as others cautioned, this is a fruitless formality that should be kept short with a polite simple statement. This part may take less than one minute.

The HR person does not really care about the motivations for your departure, so there is no grilling or interrogation. They just need to tick some box in their HR software form. Generally, you are under no obligation to provide them any feedback or commentary. So one of those boxes on that form will be “No comment”, and you may choose that option.

If you have any pending or potential legal issues with the company, check with your attorney as to what to say or not say during the exit interview meeting.

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    +1: this is usually what exit interviews are - basically a summary of what's going to happen, when and how you have to turn stuff in (if that wasn't already done) and other minutia, and if any special arrangement is not covered, a good chance to ask Oct 12, 2021 at 7:56
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    @JulianaKarasawaSouza -- indeed. And "exit interview" is an unfortunate name for it, because it doesn't really capture what the event is about. Oct 12, 2021 at 14:58
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    THIS is indeed what happens and why it's important. As for the "fruitless formality" around the soft questions such as what you (dis)like, you have NO obligation to answer those: "If it's ok with you, there is little I have to say" is a clear signal and a safe & healthy answer if you are leaving with any feelings of contempt. As for legal obligations, you generally have NO obligation to reveal your plans but you can reassure them that you are aware of your legal obligations.
    – P2000
    Oct 12, 2021 at 17:25
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    "Take all the time you need to read through any documents that they ask you to sign" and don't sign anything you aren't 100% sure about and comfortable with. It's always OK to say, "I'm not willing to sign this until I've run it past a lawyer." Most good lawyers would probably say not to sign anything at all unless it's just the instructions on where to deliver your final check. Definitely don't sign any NDAs or non-compete forms at this point, anything that implies any wrongdoing on your part, or anything that suggests that your final check will be tied to some additional requirement.
    – Bloodgain
    Oct 13, 2021 at 20:33
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    Just don't sign anything. There is no reason to sign anything at an exit interview. Oct 14, 2021 at 3:49

I would think that your contract would state something along the lines of performing tasks or about being professional but either way I don't see any harm in going there. If you today have a good reference why waste it?

The only con I see of going on it is that you feel that you wasted a little bit of time.

The cons of not going I see first and mostly a red flag on you being unprofessional and if you are not moving far away it may happen that one of those people will end up your boss and then you want them to have a good memory of you


I would say one thing,

DO NOT Sign Anything that may limit your ability to earn income without a comparable consideration

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    Right. They can't say "you can't leave the company before you sign this document" unless they are offering you a severance package conditional on your signature. They time for an employer to limit your rights is up-front when you start, not when you leave. The only thing you should sign is something that says "I came to the exit interview, I gave you back everything that was needed and I was given a copy of whatever I signed when I started in the company"
    – Flydog57
    Oct 14, 2021 at 0:09
  • @Flydog57 Totally agree
    – Strader
    Oct 14, 2021 at 0:33
  • Came here to say exactly this. Do not sign anything at an exit interview. Oct 14, 2021 at 3:50
  • Do employers often ask employees to sign such things at exit interviews specifically?
    – NotThatGuy
    Oct 14, 2021 at 13:14
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    @NotThatGuy: YES! It's such a classic dirty move that this site has a number of questions on the exact topic - employees leaving a job where they had no NDA or non-compete, and the employer pulls a new NDA or non-compete on them as part of the exit process, hoping they'll be foolish enough to sign something for no consideration. Oct 14, 2021 at 16:54

I would go and listen to them talk and give them whatever rubbish answers they want to make the whole thing end as quickly as possible. They may very well waste your time but you are on the way out so they won't be wasting it for much longer. You answer there question in a non confrontational way. Don't be sarcastic or snide, let the tone of your voice be as neutral as possible. I would give them what they want because after all they did employ you for however long you worked there.

You were probably able to feed and clothe yourself while you were working there, this should at least have earned a little bit of respect from you. You may have been unhappy and they may have treated you poorly but even bad jobs can be a means to some sort of career end.

If you flatter them it does not matter that your flattery is not sincere. I would even go and thank them for working there. This may be the most insincere thing you ever say, but if there is just a possibility of some future benefit arisesing from it why not do it?

What you have to realise is that manipulation that does not negatively affect other people is not a bad thing. If you can gain some benefit in life by saying something then you do it. If you gain some benefit from remaining silent then that is what you do it. You work with the personalities you come in contact with as to best benefit yourself. This is selfish, but as long as it does not negatively affect others then it is not bad.

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