Why Are You Leaving Your Position Or What Led You To The Decision To Leave
Your employer may ask this question to find out if you are leaving because you have been offered a better opportunity or for personal reasons. Try to maintain a balance between honesty and politeness when answering this question. If applicable, mention the skills or experience youre hoping to get from your next job.
Example:I have really enjoyed working here, and I have learned a lot over the course of my employment. However, I feel like I have accomplished all I can in this role and need something different. While I have learned much at this job and honed my skills and experience, I feel it is time to go in a different direction. I have gained invaluable experience for the future, and I feel the time is right to expand my experience and strengthen my abilities.
‘i Never Really Liked ‘ Or ‘ Was Never Very Nice To Me’
Don’t get personal. “Attacking certain managers or employees will only reflect poorly on you, and make you come across as bitter or vengeful,” Kerr says. “It’s okay to discuss some behaviors that you feel had an impact on your decision to leave, but resorting to name calling or character assassination will never get you far and will only make it look like you were the difficult person to get along with.”
How To Use Data From Exit Interviews
While these interviews can bring incredible value to your company, they need to be executed in the proper way to provide useful insights. Over 90% of Fortune 500 companies conduct exit interviews, yet just over 40% of them view the practice itself as successful.
Reaping the benefits that go hand-in-hand with conducting exit interviews all starts with asking relevant questions specific to the employees role. An essential next step is understanding how to analyze and interpret the answers to improve your employee relations and workplace environment.
Creating and implementing more effective and consistent interviews can seem challenging and time-consuming at first, but the insights you will gain from understanding the connection between employee feedback, behavior, and organizational trends will tell you everything you need to know to grow your business tenfold.
Deb Muller is the CEO of HR Acuity, a technology solution that combines documentation, process, and human expertise so organizations can meet the challenge of managing employee relations in the modern world.Be proactive. Manage risk. Create a safer workplace.
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If Something Illegal Happened Don’t Wait Until The Exit Interview
A lot of people try to avoid conflict or uncomfortable conversations at all costs. Sometimes this means holding onto information about something inappropriate or possibly even illegal happening in your workplace.
I can’t tell you the number of times that it’s a shocking bit of information I learned through an exit interview that I would’ve 100% addressed immediately.
King says the exit interview isn’t the ideal time to surface these situations for the first time. Rather, tell someone at the organization if anything happens that is against the law, discriminatory or that constitutes harassment so they can deal with it sooner rather than later.
“Don’t wait. Do it right away. It’s such a common mistake for exiting employees to assume that HR or management is aware if something illegal happened,” King says. “I can’t tell you the number of times that it’s a shocking bit of information I learned through an exit interview that I would’ve 100% addressed immediately.”
Helps To Improve Employee Retention
Hiring and training a new workforce is a time-consuming as well as an expensive process. Most organizations are trying to find suitable ways and means to increase employee retention to minimize these unnecessary costs.
The exit interview is a platform where an interviewer can ask related questions and determine the reason for quitting the job.
Why are you leaving, were you unhappy, what is the new job offering that we were not and will you change your mind about the current company are some important questions that need to be addressed.
Answers will give the management a fair idea about its own organizational culture so that they can make appropriate changes to improve employee retention.
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Final Thoughts On Exit Interviews
Exit interviews are a very useful HR tool for gaining valuable insights into a companys ability to attract and retain the best employees.
However, you shouldnt rely on exit interviews as the only source of information about employee experience in your company.
You should conduct recurring employee interviews, check-ins and surveys in order to get feedback and obtain data on employee experience, job satisfaction, employee engagement and employee retention in your company.
Here are some useful resources to help you get started with these useful HR practices:
Exit Interview Best Practices
Ultimately, an exit interview doesn’t just help you understand why your talent is leaving it also helps you ensure you can implement strategies or cultural changes to improve the satisfaction of employees who stay.
However, it’s not always easy to discern what a highly productive exit interview looks like.
To learn more about exit interview best practices, I spoke with Winston Tuggle, an HR Business Partner at HubSpot. Here are some of the best practices he suggests.
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Pinpoint Opportunities For Employee Development
A study from Glassdoor Economic Research found that employees are about three times more likely to leave for a new employer than to stay and move into a new role at their existing company. Simply put, job title stagnation hurts employee retention. And its particularly important for Millennials. Exit interviews can give you valuable information to help prevent more of these motivated employees from jumping ship.
They Can Help You Improve Staff Retention
High staff turnover is costly because recruiting and training new staff is costly. Thats why most organisations have the goal of retaining talent wherever possible. Exit interviews are a useful solution to the problem of high turnover.
Firstly, exit interviews can reveal patterns in the reasons staff leave. Your interviews should be asking things like:
- Why did you decide to leave?
- Were you unhappy with your pay/manager/role?
- What could we have done to make you stay?
- What would you have changed about your job?
- What does your new job offer that we cant?
Answers to these questions can all reveal important information about your workplace and organisational culture. If leavers consistently complain they dont have the tools required to do their job, for example, you can change that and improve staff retention as a result.
But without exit interviews, youd be in the dark about problems causing your staff to leave.
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Timing Of Exit Interviews
The timing of Exit Interviews has a big impact on the completion rate. Organisations that conduct Exit Interviews in the week prior to departure were more likely to achieve completion rates of 80%+ . Conducting them too early is less effective with only 19% of companies achieving high completion. Leaving the interview until after the employee has left results in very poor completion rates with only 11% achieving 80% or more.
Best Practices For Exit Interviews
Exit interviews are a great face-to-face way to collect organizational feedback during the offboarding process, and they should never be adversarial. Because not everyone leaves a company on good terms, the way you conduct exit interviews must be handled with an extra level of care. But done correctly, they can lead to benefits for the employee and the organization.
âIn an exit interview, the goal is to understand why someone chose to leave,â says Tulloch. âThere are some very valuable questions that can be asked to dig deeper into what their decision point was. Ultimately there may be attrition causes that the organization cannot do much about but when possible, act on the feedback.â Any change is an opportunity for an organization to learn and grow, even if that change uncovers uncomfortable issues. Employee feedback gives an on-the-ground perspective about numerous facets of an organization that executive teams may not have considered.
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‘i Think Is Really Unhappy Here’ Or ‘nobody Is Happy Here’
Don’t speak for others. “This can hurt you in the eyes of people who may have shared confidences with you,” Kerr says. “Just make this about your story, no one else’s.”
Also, don’t try to suggest the ship is going down with you. “Even if it’s true, your coworkers won’t appreciate it, and you’re not their spokesperson,” Taylor says. “If they’re about to jump ship, that will be their task.”
Best Approach By The Company
So, what approach should the company take when conducting exit interviews? It is important that this process is well established throughout the company. There should be clear and concise documentation. This should outline the correct steps to be taken. Also, there should be a standard format for everyone to follow. First, set a timeline for all exit interviews to be carried out.
Next, have an agreed set of questions and topics to create consistency, as mentioned above. Finally, have dedicated interviewers for these interviews. Very often, HR holds this role in many companies. Here are some additional considerations for companies to keep in mind.
Create a Comfortable Environment
When conducting any interview, it is the role of the interviewer to create the right atmosphere. Here, your role is to ensure that the leaver is comfortable and ready to share. By taking the lead, the interviewer should make every effort to create an environment where the interviewee is at ease.
Select a location that is private, yet comfortable. Make arrangements that the interview should not be interrupted. Minimise possible noise or distractions. Give your full attention to the interviewee at that time. Offer a refreshment if possible.
Be Ready to Listen
Encourage the leaver to share comments rather than leaving the sections blank. Avoid putting words or ideas into their answers. Allow them to answer for themselves.
Update All Relevant Notes
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Do Or Did You Think The Company Supported Your Career Goals
When answering this question, let your employer know how they lived up to your expectations and supported you in your career path. Support might include providing training or education. Provide feedback on how or why you felt supported and when you did not.
Example:When I came to work here, I was excited for the opportunities to continue to advance my position or increase my knowledge and experience. While the company has given me opportunities to learn things I have aimed for in my career, I believe that I have gathered sufficient knowledge working with this firm. It is the right time for me to expand my skills at another company.
What Reason Primarily Describes Your Reason For Leaving
Was it a change in lifestyle, a career change, or a better opportunity elsewhere? While the last option may seem like the most common and useful answer, a change in lifestyle such as becoming a stay-at-home parent could tell you where else you could improve.
For instance, you could offer paid parental leave so that your employees no longer have to choose between their jobs and their children. Or if theyre switching careers, you could offer more interdepartmental mobility to current employees, so they dont feel stuck in one role.
What to Look For
Dig into the specific reason for their leaving without letting the employee dive into anecdotes or frustrations. Focus on what attracted them to the new opportunity, new career, or new lifestyle, and use those answers to figure out what you could offer your current employees.
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Create A Comfortable Environment For The Exit Interview
The key to conducting an effective exit interview is to create an environment in which the exiting employee is comfortable providing honest feedback. The organizational culture that fosters useful exit interview feedback is one in which employees are comfortable sharing ideas openly, are encouraged to criticize processes and methods, and are never punished for sharing their thoughts.
Explain The Purpose Behind The Exit Interview
It’s important you explain the purpose behind the exit interview to each employee before you begin. You might say, “We hope to use your feedback to continuously improve our culture and business processes, so we are interested in your honest opinion on how your experience has been.” That way, they dont feel theyre taking part in a conversation that wont be used to create change.
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What Is An Exit Interview
An exit interview is a meeting between an employee who has resigned from their job and a representative from the company usually a member of the HR team. Exit interviews usually take place towards the end of an employees notice period, such as on their last day of employment.
From the companys perspective, an exit interview is a chance to collect feedback about the employees experience both positive and negative. It often provides real and tangible examples of where the business is performing well and where improvement is needed, particularly if it is directly impacting staff turnover.
For employees, an exit interview is an opportunity to raise relevant issues and concerns from their time working with the business, and expand on their reasons for leaving if they feel comfortable doing so. Its also an occasion to share any positive moments, as many employees leave on good terms and have personal reasons for leaving.
Offer The Truth About The Job Roles
What you expect and what you get are two completely different things. The expectations of an employee can be different from the actual realities of his job profile.
The importance of an exit interview is that the management will be able to know the difference between the expectations and realities from the point of an employee.
The next time the company advertises for the job, it will be more specific so that the new employee has a true concept about his role and responsibility in the firm.
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Foster Innovation By Soliciting Ideas For Improving The Organization
EIs should go beyond the individuals immediate experience to cover broader areas, such as company strategy, marketing, operations, systems, competition, and the structure of his or her division. One emerging best practice is to ask every departing employee something along the lines of Please complete the sentence I dont know why the company doesnt just ____. This approach may reveal trends.
Share Information With Executives
You want to make sure that exit interview data reaches key decision-makers in your organization who can implement changes as effectively as possible.
Its helpful if HR leaders maintain a consistent schedule for periodically sharing exit interview data and important trends with executives. Quarterly updates work well for many organizations. Time these updates to be in sync with an annual board meeting or other important dates in corporate decision-making. Most importantly, dont let any valuable data go to waste.Deb Muller, Exit Interview Data Analysis Strategies & Best Practices
Sometimes executives are skeptical about how honest departing employees were in their statements, so its essential that you prepare by carefully evaluating all of the data and anticipating objections from decision-makers prior to presenting them with the information and your suggestions.
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The Exit Interview Process: How To Get It Right Every Time
When an employee has decided to part ways with your company, they are simultaneously opening a window of opportunity for you, as the employer, to gain valuable insight into why they have decided to move on, what went wrong , and what can be done in the workplace to improve retention and company culture.
Considering the disappointing nature of employee termination, many employers fail to recognize this opportunity, and wave goodbye to their former employees without learning anything.
Lets just get it done with and move on is a way of summarizing this attitude.
Furthermore, they fail to close the relationship on a positive note by showing the individual that they care about listening to their thoughts, and taking action to improve employee morale in the future.
This is a grave mistake, because not only are you missing valuable, actionable insights which will help you attract and retain top talent, but you are also leaving a trail of disappointed, perhaps bitter former employees that can damage your reputation amongst job seekers.
Not to mention, employee turnover is expensive, and failing to take preventative measures is nothing short of shooting yourself in the foot, financially as well as in terms of your brand reputation.
And so, conducting a structured exit interview with a departing employee is an incredibly important, often overlooked part of the offboarding process.
In this Process Street post, were going to be looking at:
Pros And Cons Of Exit Interviews And Surveys
All HR pros know its important to collect exit feedback: exit feedback allows an exited employees voice to be heard, and it can mitigate the many costs of losing an employee in the future. And HR isnt the only one who recognizes the value of exit feedback.
In fact, 93% of employees believe that exit feedback is important, and 87% of employees believe that their feedback can help others at the organization.
So when it comes to types of exit feedback, what method should you choose? There are two primary options: exit interviews and exit surveys.
In this blog we’ll cover both, including:
- Pros and cons to exit interviews and surveys
- How to collect 360 feedback to improve employee turnover
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