What Is An Exit Interview and Why It Is Important?

What Is An Exit Interview and Why It Is Important?
Updated:28 Mar, 2022

A good organization puts all its efforts into providing employees healthy, motivated, and productive environment to work with. But eventually, the employees leave, either due to retirement or they go on to a different company. However, it is not enough to let them leave without saying goodbye, and here is when an exit interview comes into the picture.

What is an Exit Interview?

An exit interview is a meeting between an employee who is leaving the company and a manager. It's used as an opportunity for the employee to provide feedback about their time at the company and to say goodbye.

Many companies require employees to participate in exit interviews, and it's considered good practice to do so. When completed warmly and professionally, exit interviews can give you a lot of insight into what it's like to work for your organization.

What Happens During an Employee Exit Interview?

The exit interview questions vary depending on the company and what they want to learn from employees; however, they normally cover:

  • Job Satisfaction - Questions about how you felt your job was going - satisfaction is a huge factor in retention
  • Negative Issues - Any significant problems that may have occurred during your tenure at the company should be discussed
  • Positive Issues - Problem areas can often be mitigated, so it's good to discover these before they become issues
  • Wrap Up - This part collects references and provides the employee with any necessary documentation for their records.

Why Are Exit Interviews Important?

There are several reasons why conducting an exit interview is important.

1. It's a Good Opportunity for Employee Feedback

It is challenging to keep track of what your employees are thinking about the company and how their view changes over time, but exit interviews allow you to get "the other side" of the story. When we ask, we often create an internal monologue in our own head about why we do things without considering it.

Additionally, by talking about past and present problems, you can imagine improving them and avoiding similar issues in the future.

2. It Can Help you Mitigate Negative Issues and Improve Productivity

When employees leave a company, it is usually because they were not satisfied with their job or something went wrong during their tenure at the organization, which led to their departure. But if these things were not addressed, they might simply fester and become a problem for your organization.

3. It Helps Improve Staff Retention

As stated before, employee retention is essential. Conducting exit interviews allows you to learn about things that keep your employees from staying effective in their job and resolving them. This way, the turnover rate will be significantly reduced.

4. It Let's You Enhance Work Culture

As a company, you can learn a lot about your employees and how they work together by observing them during the exit interview. Even an informal chat between employees after an employee leaves can provide very interesting information, as long as it is done professionally.

It is also good for you to understand what kind of people enjoy working with your organization and what kind of employees you should try to avoid recruiting. By adhering to this, you can create a healthy culture and be proud of your organization as an employer.

Of course, nothing is perfect, but if the exit interview is conducted in a professional manner and provides useful information, there isn't much room left for criticism. Just remember that when you're trying to find information, don't ask leading questions and try not to interpret any of the answers.

Tips for Conducting an Effective Exit Interview

There are a few things that can improve your chances of getting useful information during an exit interview.

1. Set it as Soon as Possible

You should conduct an exit interview as soon as the person informs you about their departure, no matter how soon this will be. If they have already left, set up a phone call to get some feedback.

2. Don't Lead the Conversation

Asking leading questions is an excellent way to get useless information during an exit interview. For example, asking "Do you feel that your boss treated you unfairly?" will prompt almost every employee to say yes. Instead, ask more specific questions like "what was the main reason for your decision to leave?" or "what could be the reason that your employer would give for not rehiring you?".

3. Talk About Current and Past Issues

When talking about problems, it is best to focus on the present and past. For example, asking "Did you find your work satisfying?" will make people think about their future job prospects as well as their past work experience. It can be very difficult to predict future events, so it is best to focus on the present and past situations.

4. Use the Right Tone

It is important to keep your emotions in check during an exit interview. You should listen carefully and try to understand why employees are leaving, rather than judging them or getting upset about their decision.

5. Ask for Their Perspective

Give people a chance to explain their motivations and think about whether there may be other factors affecting the situation. Also, don't forget to give the employees an opportunity to voice their opinions. This will make them feel like they are being heard and that their opinions matter, making them more likely to provide useful information.

Exit interviews are an important way for organizations to learn why employees are leaving and resolve any issues that may have led to their departure. Companies can improve staff retention, work culture, and even recruitment by professionally conducting exit interviews. There are several tips for conducting an effective exit interview, but the most important thing is to be respectful and listen carefully to what employees have to say.


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