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Definition of Exit Interview:

An exit interview is the final meeting with a resigning or terminated employee. Usually conducted by the HR team, managers are also encouraged to speak to the leaving employee. This is because exit interviews can bring to light some latent issues that are bothering the team. With timely interventions, managers and the HR team can take steps to counter the issues and avoid high turnover rates in the team. 

For the exiting employee to give honest feedback, it is important to foster trust with them. They should be able to help you identify issues. Ask for their suggestions if need be, and assure that the issue will be taken care of. 

How are exit interviews conducted?

Here are some ways in which you can conduct exit interviews:

  • In-person interviews: Done with their managers and the HR team. It is more personal, and employees feel more comfortable in sharing the reasons for leaving. That said, it can get time-consuming and would be difficult to track and report the reasons when conveyed verbally. 
  • Telephonic or online interviews: Can be done by the company HR/manager, or with an external agency. It can get a little time consuming, and employees might not be very comfortable in sharing their negative experiences.
  • Exit interview surveys: This can be done online, or can be done on paper as well. This gives employees a chance to discuss problems that couldn’t be spoken in person. However, managing paperwork can be difficult and employees can see this as a chore and not provide honest feedback. 

How to conduct exit interviews effectively?

Exit interviews are the last conversation the employees would have with the company. It is important to companies because it gives you a chance to reaffirm your principles and fix problems if any. Here are some tips to conduct exit interviews:

  • Plan the meeting beforehand. This can be done after a written exit interview survey where you address the issues put forth by the employee. By doing so, they would feel validated.
  • Make the employee feel comfortable. Do not criticize them for voicing their opinions and negative comments. Encourage them to give honest feedback.
  • Prepare and ask the right questions. Have clarity on what are the answers you are looking for and know how it can help improve organizational development. Make a note of all the questions and concerns they have and try to understand their feelings. 
  • Try to convince the employee to stay. In-person meetings give you a space to discuss the remuneration and benefits, if that is cause of employee resignation. 

Questions to ask during an exit interview:

  • What prompted you to look for a new job?

  • What is the one thing you like about the company is treating their employees?

  • What is the one thing you would like the company to change when it comes to employee management?

  • Are there any suggestions to improve or fix the problems that prompted you to leave?

  • Are there any ideas or plans that you’d have liked to be implemented while you were working with the company?

  • How has your relationship with the manager been?

  • Do you have any feedback or suggestions on our employee orientation program?

  • Any advice for the person who’d be taking up your role?


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