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The value of an exit interview

The value of an exit interview

  • Apr 11, 2016

It's me, not you. You probably won't hear that in an exit interview, but with the right questions you'll learn some valuable information. Exit interviews should be conducted by someone other than the employee's supervisor and focused on how the employee's experience could have been better, as well as how the company can improve. The employee being interviewed needs to understand those purposes.

It might be best to start by asking the departing employee to summarize their experience at the company starting with the interview process. This will give you a general idea of how the exit interview will go and what follow up questions will be best to ask. To focus the interview more on productive feedback and less on office gossip here are some ideas for questions:

  • What is the company doing right? Where could it improve?
  • Do you have suggestions to help those improvements?
  • What advice do you have for the next person in your position?
  • What are three things you enjoyed most about working here?
  • What are three things that would have made your experience better?
  • Who are the three people that made the most positive impact on you and your career here at the company?
  • How did the job match your expectations?
  • Did you feel that the work you were doing aligned with your personal goals and interests?
  • Did you have the tools and resources needed to effectively do your job?
  • Would you recommend this as a great place for a friend to work?

While these are good questions, follow-up questions to the employee's answers in more of a conversational style will help provide honest candid feedback. Stay away from talking negatively about other employees. It's best not to agree or disagree with the exiting employee about other employees still working at the company. If the interview is headed that direction, change course quick!

Now you have their feedback, what happens next? If no action is taken as a result of the exit interview, you're missing the point! If they have suggestions on how the company could improve, tell you the job differed greatly from what was described in their hiring interview, admit they didn't have the resources needed to do their job effectively, or have any other suggestions, turn that valuable feedback into action. Document these interviews so you can see trends across multiple exit interviews which may reveal a large company weakness you need to address.

Do you have questions about how to conduct an effective exit interview or how to turn exit interview feedback into company improvement? Contact one of our expert HR representatives at (888) 819-5952 and we’ll help you get on the road to smarter HR.