Why you should 'lie like hell' in an exit interview and say only nice things about your boss, according to a careers expert

Why you should 'lie like hell' in an exit interview and say only nice things about your boss, according to a careers expert
Be positive during exit interviews, two experts say. Skynesher/GETTY IMAGES
  • Be ready to lie during your exit interview in order to leave your job on good terms, an expert said.
  • Avoid saying bad things about your boss, Robbie Abed, the author of "Fire Me I Beg You," said.

You've finally had enough of your manager and joined the record number of people quitting their jobs.

You want to leave a good impression, so you continue showing up, working hard, and ensuring the handover goes as smoothly as possible. Then a member of the HR team requests an "exit interview" to ask why you're leaving.

What should you say during the interview?

Complimentary Tech Event
Transform talent with learning that works
Capability development is critical for businesses who want to push the envelope of innovation.Discover how business leaders are strategizing around building talent capabilities and empowering employee transformation.Know More

If you want to leave on good terms, "say only nice things," even if it means you have to "lie like hell," said Robbie Abed, the author of the 2017 book "Fire Me I Beg You: Quit Your Miserable Job (Without Risking it All)."

"So many people think that they're going to be the hero on the way out. The reality is that if you wanted to make a change within a company, you would have done it while you were there," Abed said in a recent interview with Insider.


"If they ask, 'Do you have any constructive feedback?' you should say: 'Nothing really. I enjoyed working here, and I hope I get to work with others in the future,'" Abed said.

HR workers are unlikely to keep your interview to themselves, so negativity isn't going to help you or the company, Abed said - it could even backfire and make you look bad. "From a purely economical perspective, it simply doesn't make sense to leave on bad terms," he said. "It's the dumbest thing you could do career-wise, financially-wise."

Jill Cotton, a careers-advice expert at the employer-reference company Glassdoor, agreed that it's best to stay positive in an exit interview and leave your emotions out of it.

"It's important to remember the exit interview isn't really about you. They exist so that employers can understand your decision to leave and benefit from your insight," Cotton said.

Cotton recommended preparing a few specific examples of positive experiences, such as outlining how much you've learned or how much you've grown in the role.


"Showing the company what they did right shows good grace," Cotton said. She also said you should keep notes during the interview to ensure that it stays on track.

But what if you're quitting because you really hate your boss?

Even if you're quitting because of your boss, you shouldn't single out anybody as the reason for your departure in your interview, Abed and Cotton said.

"Talk more generally so that you remain honest but professional," Cotton said.

Abed argued that whatever bad things you say about your boss, HR will already know about them. "This is not new information to them," he said. "They keep that person there for other reasons."

Have you recently quit your job and want to share your experience? Contact this journalist at sjones@insider.com.