Making Exit Interviews Count
In the knowledge economy, skilled employees are the assets that drive organizational success. Thus companies must learn from themwhy they stay, why they leave, and how the organization needs to change. A thoughtful exit interviewwhether it be a face-to-face conversation, a questionnaire, a survey, or a combinationcan catalyze leaders listening skills, reveal what does or doesnt work inside the organization, highlight hidden challenges and opportunities, and generate essential competitive intelligence. It can promote engagement and enhance retention by signaling to employees that their views matter. And it can turn departing employees into corporate ambassadors for years to come.
Unfortunately, too few leaders pay attention to this tool their programs fail to either improve retention or produce useful information. The authors believe this is owing to poor data quality and a lack of consensus on best practices. They suggest six overall goals for a strategic exit interview process and describe tactics and techniques to make it successful. Among their recommendations: Have interviews conducted by second- or third-line managers. Make exit interviews mandatory for at least some employees. And because standard interviews enable you to spot trends, but unstructured ones elicit unexpected insights, consider combining the two approaches in semistructured interviews.
Idea in Brief
Where Are You Headed
Be general in sharing information with your next employer, if you have one. If you are taking on a different path like further studies or building your own businesses, then it is okay to be more generous with details.
Sidenote: Make sure to honor any non-compete clause your employment contract might have. A good number of contracts prohibit employees from being employed by businesses that are in direct competition. You would not want to get sued by your former employer once youre discovered to be employed by a competitor. Even if the offer is too good to be true, you are putting yourself at risk because your skills and possibly, trade secret will be put into used by the competition. If you are that ready to resign, it is best to turn down the offer of the competing company, inform them that you will need to for your non-compete clause to be voided to be employed by them and find better opportunities in another industry. You will know that competing company is serious in hiring you for your abilities or if theyre just keen on getting insider information from you.
What To Say During Your Exit Interview
As in any interview setting, do not lie during your exit interview. However, you may want to carefully word your responses so you do not burn any bridges.
The world of work can be small, and you never know when youll encounter a former colleague in a new job. Also, it is difficult to request a reference once youve burned a bridge.
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What Should You Cover During An Exit Interview
Start by letting the employee know, in advance, the goal of the discussion and what topics you want to cover. This will allow them to prepare themselves matter, and will typically result in a higher quality of answers. Make it clear that you are planning to have a conversation that is:
- Based on their personal opinion
Choose Your Interview Format
Giving your departing employees a questionnaire to fill out could be less time-consuming and help avoid some uncomfortable discussions. However, conducting a face-to-face exit interview has some benefits:
- You show that you care about your employees opinions by dedicating time to listen to what they have to say.
- You get the chance to have a less structured conversation that could result in unexpected feedback.
- You can end things on a personal, positive note.
Keep in mind, though, that your exit interview wont succeed if people feel forced to participate. Offer them an alternative like a questionnaire or a phone interview after they leave, if that makes them more comfortable.
There are many tools to help collect and analyze employee separation data. You can use tools like Culture Amp, E-exit interview, Beyond Feedback and Grapevine to customize your questions and spot trends.
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Your Reason For Leaving
This is fairly straightforward perhaps you were approached, unsolicited, by an executive recruiter with an exciting new role that was also a step-up in title and pay. Or maybe you are relocating to be closer to family or to support your spouses new job. Or perhaps you are burned out and need a break to reflect on what you really want in your career and life. This is helpful for the organization to know and can allow the exit interviewer to probe further in the appropriate areas.
What Factors Influenced Your Acceptance Of This New Role
Be honest, but not petty.
Work environments are constantly changing and evolving. If your current organization has not updated its values or policies, then this feedback is essential.
Most businesses will not make changes unless there is substantial evidence to back it. These exit interviews allow HR to find patterns, thus allowing them to make the appropriate alterations.
You are under no obligation to divulge all your deciding factors. Choose one or two that you think will help the organization improve themselves in the future.
My new role comes with a benefits package that suits my lifestyle. It includes a gym membership, on-site counseling, and requests that all lunchbreaks be taken away from the desk. The work environment is less formal.
This new role promises a new challenge, added responsibility, and more money. These three factors are pivotal to me achieving my goals, and I felt they were not available to me here.
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What You Liked Most About Your Job And The Company
Include positive elements of your experience at the organization what you liked and appreciated most about the job, your team, and the organization. Just as individuals need to hear positive feedback to know what they should continue doing, so do organizations. This could include specific benefits offered, investments made in your learning and development, or an aspect of the company culture that you most valued.
Exit Interview Tips: Planning Your Survey
Unlike an engagement survey where you deal with constructs built around employee attitudes, an exit survey should be much more practical and simple to design and interpret. If your exit interview questions are too general and open to various interpretations, you may want to consider redesigning your survey.
It can be useful to include a few open text field items within your exit survey questions too these often elicit richer detail and more nuances about an employees decision to leave compared to multiple-choice questions.
While historically qualitative answers have been difficult to turn into insights, text analytics software has come a long way in recent years. Natural language processing and sentiment analysis now allow you to automatically analyze tens of thousands of open-text responses and create topics, themes and trends to allow you to spot patterns and interpret the data.
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Why Do Businesses Have Exit Interviews
Exit interviews give your employer a chance to connect with you from a different perspective, Kavenagh says.
It encourages open dialogue and discussion and can be a learning opportunity for the employer within a safe, no-consequences environment.
If your workplace conducts regular pulse checks to gather feedback from employees, the information you reveal in an exit interview shouldnt come as a huge surprise.
An organisation that is in constant development and wants to learn, change, progress and engage its workforce will run interim interviews, so there arent too many surprises at exit, Kavenagh says.
Exit interviews might be reinforcing some of the gaps in the organization they are already aware of and trying to change.
How Exit Polls Work Explained
Exit polls get a bad rap. I don’t have a dog in this fight, but it’s true. Exit polls provide remarkably quick data on elections that comes with a smaller and smaller margin of error as an election night passes, telling us who came out to vote for which candidate and why. It’s essential, but like so many other polls, we only notice when the data is wrong.
When polls closed in New York on Tuesday, exit poll estimates showed Bernie Sanders trailing Hillary Clinton by only four points. That eventually got adjusted, but it was the most recent example of a poll showing a number that ended up being way off the final result.
To figure out why, I reached out to Joe Lenski, executive vice president of Edison Media Research. Since 2003, Edison has been conducting polling for the National Election Pool , a group of six media organizations that includes Fox, CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC and the Associated Press. Once upon a time, each of those organizations would have run their own exit polling now, it’s centralized through Edison.
To explain what happened in New York, it’s best to start at the beginning: How exit polls work, from start to finish. The interview below has been condensed and lightly edited, but you knew that because you seen these things before.
THE FIX: Let’s start by walking through the process.
FIX: So for Iowa, for example — how many folks did you have on the ground doing the surveys in Iowa?
FIX: This is a paper process?
LENSKI: For the NEP, these are all done on paper.
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What Did You Dislike Most About Your Job
Here it isthe flipside of the coin. Its time to share those not-so-great aspects of your position.
Maybe you hated having to coordinate the monthly board meeting. Perhaps your boss was a complete meddling micromanager. Or, maybe you think your entire department needs to be restructured in order to work more efficiently and effectively.
Nows your chance to be honest and share those complaints that you normally reserved for mutters under your breath and venting sessions over cocktails with friends.
Why Didnt You Like Working Here
When employees quit, you may feel shocked, hurt, angry or relieved. However, for the sake of your employer brand, its not always appropriate to make them aware of these emotions.
More positive alternative questions are: What things in particular would you change about this job? or What would your suggestions be to improve our workplace?
Do You Feel You Received Proper And Complete Training
Companies want their employees to feel prepared for their jobs. This is an area in which you can really help by sharing your candid experience. If you did not feel ready or if your training did not cover enough, let your employer know. Share practical ideas for improvement so future employees are better prepared.
Example:The best thing you can do for new employees is to make sure they understand their roles and supply them with the tools they need to perform their job. I didnt always feel as though I had the resources to do my job well, so I think new employees can benefit from more thorough and frequent training. To fully prepare new employees to meet the companys expectations, management might consider additional training or refreshers so new and current employees can meet their tasks to the best of their ability.
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What You Need To Know About Exit Interviews
An exit interview is a meeting, discussion or survey you might be asked to take part in when youre about to leave a company or workplace, to share information about your experience there.
While the process varies from one organisation to another, youll most likely be asked questions either in person one-on-one, or through an online survey.
Often, exit interviews are organised by human resources departments, and surveys might be conducted through third-party companies.
Exit interviews help businesses find out why an employee is leaving and learn about that persons time at the company. Its also a chance for businesses to get feedback on things like culture, management, structure, morale, and workload.
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What Made You Decide To Leave This Organization
While it may be tempting to list every single thing that made you want to leave your job, your HR officer does not want to know that someone kept moving your food or that your work neighbor made too much noise.
Highlight one or two practical reasons that impacted your decision. These reasons could be personal development, financial, flexible working hours or simply that your new workplace is closer to your home.
With this question, your HR representative is trying to establish if your leaving is because of:
- Abuse of power
- Personal reasons
The main reason I decided to leave was that I felt not enough attention was given to employee development. One of my personal goals is to be in a managerial position by the time I am thirty. My new role includes mentoring and goal-setting.
Having discussed promotions and salary increases with you previously, I believed that this organization could not give me what I am looking for. I have very much enjoyed my time here and am thankful for everything I have learned. However, I felt I needed to be at an organization that provides more.
Types Of Exit Interview Templates
You can use templates for exit interviews in two different ways. One technique involves asking the questions verbally the other is a written form that the employee completes.
You can also combine these two methods let employees fill out a form and then discuss their responses in an interview.
Any exit interview template should include questions that cover these five categories:
- Reasons for leaving
- Work environment
You should tailor the exit interview template to your organizations unique needs, but here are explanations of both methods with sample questions to consider:
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What Are Testing Interview Questions
Testing interview questions are an essential and unavoidable part of beginning a career in software development. Software testing is the process of finding bugs in a program or application. This is to ensure that the product being developed works as intended for the consumer. If you’re going to be interviewed for a software testing position, be prepared for a rigorous screening process. However, you can feel confident knowing what kind of questions you’ll be asked. Make sure you know how to answer the following questions to ensure a successful interview.
Did You Have The Tools And Resources You Needed To Effectively Do Your Job
This is a big one. In the early years of the company, I got pretty comfortable with bootstrapping my way to success, which means we still operate pretty lean and mean. This is a good thing in terms of conserving costs, but we also have to remember that we cant deliver outstanding work without the right systems in place to make the magic happen. Understanding how my employee felt about the kind of support she was getting would help us know what kinds of investments we should be making in the future.
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Would You Ever Consider Coming Back To This Organization
This is essentially a yes or no answer, but your interviewer may ask you to expand.
Depending on your answer, it may open a dialogue to negotiating your stay or return. If you say that you might return if the company culture changed and your pay increased, then be prepared for HR to work with that.
It may not happen in every exit interview, but if your company values you as an employee, they will do what they can to keep you.
If your answer is ‘no’ and all your previous answers have indicated that you really didnt enjoy your experience, then keep it simple.
Unfortunately, I would not consider returning to this company.
Due to my new living arrangements, it would not be possible for me to return.
Under certain circumstances, I may consider returning. If the organization updated its policies and procedures to reflect modern-day practices, Id be tempted. But I would also need a pay rise and more emphasis on career development.
A Guide To Giving Feedback Without Burning Bridges
An exit interview probably isnt the first thing on your mind when you decide to quit your job nor should it be but at some point, the issue is probably going to surface. After all, at many companies, an exit interview is a standard part of the offboarding process, right along with notifying your team of your departure or returning your computer to the IT department.
While exit interviews provide you with a great opportunity to make your voice heard, they can also provoke anxiety: what if your soon-to-be-former employer doesnt like what you have to say? When handled correctly, though, exit interviews are no cause for worry. In fact, they can provide you with closure, put you at ease and help you move onto your next great opportunity.
In this guide, well share how to prepare for an exit interview so that you provide your employer with the feedback they need while avoiding bad blood and burnt bridges.
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What Did You Like During Your Stay In This Company What Can Be Improved
Do express gratitude for training, experiences and the relationships you have experienced and cultivated during your stay in the company. No amount of unhappiness with the company can hide even just one good thing you have experienced.
When talking about areas of improvement, suggest, do not impose. And please do not bring your drama to the exit interview by recounting everything that has happened where you felt wronged. You are already resigning, so there is no need to harbor ill feelings and a sense of injustice during your exit interview. Bring up things that can be improved for the benefit of the remaining employees. Word your suggestions in a constructive manner and do not sound like you are on a personal mission to expose the personal discriminations you have experience. An exit interview may not be the wisest avenue to air those out. It may be great to bring that up in the future when you are already completely unaffiliated with company, so that you will not be accused of being overly emotional or taking everything too personally.
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