Exit Interviews: How to Harness the Power of This Tool

An “exit interview” is typically held as an employee leaves the organization.  As your last official point of contact with an exiting employee, the exit interview offers a significant opportunity for gathering information.

Why Should We Hold Exit Interviews?

Exit interviews give the organization a chance to find out why an employee is leaving.  They provide insight into the strengths and weaknesses of the manager and of the organization as a whole.   Information gathered at an exit interview can be used to improve communication and management processes for existing employees and to make decisions about hiring future ones in order to improve the cultural “fit” of new hires.

To be most effective, exit interviews should foster an environment in which former employees feel comfortable providing honest evaluative feedback – both good and bad.  Whether an exit interview takes place before or after the employee’s final work date, reassure the employee that his or her information will not result in negative consequences and will be used only to improve the company’s performance.

Key Questions to Ask in an Exit Interview

Although the specific questions asked in an exit interview will depend on the circumstances of the employee’s exit, an effective exit interview will focus on feedback that can improve the company’s operation and future hires.  Useful questions to ask during an exit interview include:

  • What prompted you to start looking for a new job?  Was it a single event, or an ongoing pattern of events?  Remember that “the last straw” is often not the only one.
  • Why are you leaving the company?  If the employee identifies his or her new job, ask how the new position differs from the old one.
  • What did you value about working for our company? What did you dislike?  Positive feedback can be as informative as negative feedback, so don’t hesitate to ask both questions.
  • For most people, their relationship with their boss is one of the most important things about their job.  How would you describe your relationship with your supervisor here?  Ask follow-up questions as needed to seek feedback on how management might improve.

Where to Turn For Help

If you’re creating an exit interview process or wish to improve your company’s existing process, talk to your staffing partner.  The team at Marquee Staffing can help you improve the exit interview process and analyze the information you gather to improve your company’s hiring and retention.  Contact us today to learn more.

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