The Importance of Exit Interviews
Exit interviews are crucial to running a business. You may think you know the reason why an employee is choosing to leave; but chances are, you’re pretty far off. While we’re often focused on finding that next employee, we should also take the time to evaluate why this person has resigned. These conversations will give you true insight into how your office is running and give you ideas on how to improve. Keep the meeting friendly and end on positive note to close the relationship on good terms.
What should I ask in an Exit Interview?
In an exit interview you’ll want to identify what you’re doing right along with what the company can improve upon. You’ll want an array of questions from job satisfaction to how management is performing. The following questions are some examples of questions to ask in an exit interview:
- What made you want to work for this organization?
- What are your ultimate career goals? Did we give you the opportunity to achieve this?
- Why have you decided to leave the company/what triggered your job search?
- Did you share these issues with anyone in management? Were there strides to resolve these issues?
- What did you enjoy most about this position? What did you enjoy least?
- Does the job description meet what the job actually entails?
- Did you have the tools necessary to complete your daily tasks?
- Did you feel supported in your work?
- Were there clear expectations about what needed to be accomplished/company goals?
- Was there enough training provided to you?
- How was your work environment? What would you have done to improve it?
- Was there feedback given to you on your performance? How often?
- Would you consider working for this company in the future?
- What advice would you give to the next person in this role?
When should the interview occur?
Depending on the situation, interviews can be conducted anytime from the day the employee gives their notice to a month or two after they have left. Try to avoid giving the interview on the employees final day. If it’s a matter of the employee finding a better opportunity, having the exit interview when they give their notice is not a bad idea. You can also choose to have them complete a written questionnaire if it will be too uncomfortable to interview. Sometimes, approaching the former employee a few weeks after they have left will provide you with better feedback. At that point, the former employee will have had more time to collect their thoughts and formulate an unbiased opinion.
When NOT to hold an exit interview
If the employee is leaving because of a single incident which led them to being hostile with the company, the exit interview will not be constructive. The purpose of an exit interview is to collect constructive feedback, whether it be positive OR negative, but, an angry employee will be very one-sided.
Who should hold the interview?
Each situation is unique, but in most cases, you should never have the employee’s direct supervisor or manager conduct the interview. It should be held by an unbiased member of management, preferably your HR manager.
What do I do with the feedback?
The feedback from your exit interview is extremely important. The employee feels comfortable giving you this feedback because there are no risks; they are no longer employed with you. While this information needs to be taken seriously, it is more effective in numbers. It’s important to cycle back to other employees who may have left on similar terms and see if they can provide you with feedback. It’s also a good idea to survey current employees semi-annually. If you’re noticing trends, it’s time to take action. The information obtained in this interview should be confidential, but used to improve your facility.
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