Exit Interviews: What Are They? And What Are They For?

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Have you ever been asked to fill a satisfaction poll or to give a review about a certain product or service you just enjoyed? The answer is probably yes. It is a common tool used for quality assurance purposes, in other words, that’s how companies know that their clients are actually satisfied with what they got.

There is a similar concept in the world of business and recruitment called “exit interviews”. They are as important as they are useful to any company due to the amount of valuable information that can be obtain though them.

What is an Exit Interview?

An exit interview is similar to the one that candidates have to go through when they are starting at a new company, but in this case, they are used on employees that are currently leaving; they can also be used on temporary hires when they have completed an important project. Their main purpose is to gain a better understanding of what aspects of the company can be improved in order to increase retention and create a better employee experience.

During an exit interview, some of the most common questions include reasons for leaving the company, what were the best and worst aspects of working with you, list things they wish they could change in their workplace, and what does their next job offer that you don’t. But we’ll dig deeper into these questions later on.

In the past, exit interviews were mostly used to finish off whatever paperwork was left or any arrangement with the resigning employee. In some cases, data was collected but nothing was truly being done about it.

Another possible use for an exit interview is sorting out any issues there might be with an employee that is leaving the company on less than ideal terms. This happens from time to time, when a worker quits their job in a bad manner or is fired for whatever reason, the exit interview is the perfect moment to try to sort things out by discussing the problem out in the open, and hopefully find a good resolution.

The Importance of Exit Interviews

The goal of any interview is to collect information or, in other words, data. It’s important information that can be used overtime to improve many things about your company.

By analyzing data collected over a certain amount of time from exit interviews, companies can begin to get a clear image of what they might be lacking in terms of employee satisfaction. By identifying trends and patterns they can pin point some of the reasons why people are leaving, and in due term, correct them in order to reduce turnover rates.

Further analysis can even help your company see which department has a higher turnover rate and why. This could be traced back to management problems, dysfunctional work teams, or maybe it’s because the salary or benefits that you’re offering are no longer competitive.

What to Ask During an Exit Interview

Exit interviews are all about feedback. This is the time to ask the hard-hitting questions without fear of what may happen. You want to create a comfortable environment where the resigning employee feels free to express their opinion towards your company.
Here’s a short list of some of the most commonly-asked questions during an exit interview:

1. Why are you leaving?

2. What do you think the company is doing right and wrong?

3. How would you improve work conditions?

4. Please describe the experience with your work and your colleagues in the company.

5. Please describe the good and bad things about your superior.

The key here is to make it clear to the ex-employee that the purpose of these questions is for the company to improve. See how the questions are designed to get information on different aspects of the company? You need to balance the positive and negative aspects of the experience.

If you only ask about the bad things you will create a negative environment and the longer the interview goes, the more likely it is that the answers will be tainted by their emotions. However, focusing only on the good thing will only make it seem like you’re boosting your own ego and there will be nothing to learn from in that interview.

Try to avoid asking about other workers specifically, except for managers, as this can be perceived as instigation and could cause more problems. Don’t let the conversation turn into gossip or personal issues, this is a professional meeting. Avoid slandering at all costs, and above all don’t try to make the employee stay. At this point their mind is made up, you don’t want to grovel.

Final Thoughts

An exit interview is just like a survey or a poll that you take after receiving a certain good or service. It’s an important tool to collect information that can be later used to decrease turnover rates, identify flaws in your organization, and better your company.

Edu Rojas
Content Marketing Editor at neuvoo