Who Should Participate In The Exit Interview
Requesting an exit interview is appropriate for most departing employees, but not all. As a best practice, I dont recommend scheduling an interview with a terminated employee.
Even though they may feel they have valuable feedback to share, their experience will undoubtedly be clouded by the fact that theyve been let go by the company. In that case, the likelihood of receiving constructive feedback is much lower.
I do recommend conducting exit interviews with all other departing employees. Even if you feel you already know the reason why theyre leaving, you never know what other nuggets of insight theyll have to offer unless you ask.
Some HR managers feel its not necessary to conduct exit interviews with retiring staff. I tend to disagree with this idea though. Just because someone is retiring, that doesnt mean their experience of your company culture or employee morale is invalid. In fact, if they are retiring after many years with your company, you may get more useful information out of their exit interview feedback than youd expect.
What Did You Like And Dislike About The Job
Why they ask it: Theyre asking you this because theres a chance that they want to compare your notes to previous employees who had your role, or they may rethink the position.
How to answer it: Talk honestly about what you liked and about what you disliked, but keep things professional. Or, feel free to make a small joke about your dislike. I really like the amount of training I received over the years. I learned a lot about the strategic aspects of marketing and will be able to use those skills wherever I go. I disliked the coffee! But, seriously, there wasnt anything I disliked, but I do wish the company offered more flexible work options.
What Is An Exit Interview +10 Questions With Top Answers
You may think that the hardest part of resigning is behind you, now that youve given your boss the customary two weeks notice most companies require. But its not over yet. Someone from human resources may contact you to conduct an exit interview as part of the companys process for departing employees.
Dont be alarmed. An exit interview doesnt need to end in a tragic re-telling of your history with the company. It can be a productive experience for you and the employer, like the professional equivalent of getting closure after a breakup.
In this article you’ll learn what to expect in an exit interview. We’ll also review common exit interview questions and you’ll learn what to say in an exit interview.
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Are You Leaving Because Of What Happened With A Certain Employee
Engaging in office gossip during an interview doesnât help you gather constructive feedback and should not be part of the exit interview process. Jacquelyn Smith, a writer for Independent, said, âDon’t gossip, point fingers, or throw your colleagues under the bus. It’s unprofessional and unkind.â It opens a whole new can of worms and may cause the departing employee to become upset.
What Was Your Relationship With Your Manager Like
Your working relationship with your boss was probably the most influential in your daily work life, so your company wants to know the good, bad, and the ugly. What did your supervisor do well? How did you feel about his or her management style overall?
Be prepared to also provide some suggestions for ways he or she can improve. It might seem counterintuitive to say anything negative about your supervisorespecially when the dont ever complain about your boss rule has been ingrained in your memory for years. But its necessary feedback.
Again, just remember that you dont want to go off the rails and begin berating your boss. After all, much of your criticism will likely be relayed back to this person. So, when in doubt, keep it constructive.
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Why Are You Leaving The Company
Even if you already know the answer, asking allows you to probe for further reasons as to why an employee might be leaving your company. For example, you may have heard that Mary is leaving your company for a position with better pay. However, during Maryâs exit interview, she reveals that she struggled to get along with her manager. That insight gives you the opportunity to improve a managerâs leadership style, which can prevent more employees from resigning.
Remember That Youre Leaving For Greener Pastures
Its tempting to use the exit interview as a last-ditch effort to make all your complaints known. Whether you give in to that temptation is up to you. Just remember that youre already leaving and whatever you say during that interview may affect how your remaining friends in that company remember you.
It may feel awkward, just remember that this interview is just a negligible part of your overall career. Remember that a better job is waiting for you.
Editorial Note: This content was originally published in 2018. We’re sharing it again because our editors have determined that this information is still accurate and relevant.
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Distill Employee Anxiety During The Exit Interview
You need to assure the employee who is leaving that the feedback he or she provides will be combined with other employee feedback and presented to management in an aggregated format. This helps distill any anxiety on the part of the employee that there will be reprisals for less than positive feedback.
Employees are concerned about their reputations, and they worry about how the exit interview data will be used. They want to be assured that if they run into their manager or coworkers in the future, their information has been kept private.
How you quit your job can affect your future. So employees worry about burning bridges and leaving the employer with a less than favorable impression if they speak too honestly at an exit interview. Your goal is to create an environment in which the employee trusts that their feedback is used in an aggregated format with the goal of improving the organization.
Exit Interview Questions You Need To Ask For Company Growth
Ah, exit interviews. Something that polarizes organizations and strikes fear into both the employer and ex-employee. The truth is, though, if you craft the right exit interview questions, the process isnât something to be feared, but rather an opportunity to learn.
When an employee is on their way out, you need to accept that their mind and heart are already elsewhere. Getting exit interview questions answered honestly can be tricky. Especially if the employee is leaving because theyâre unhappy.
Happy or not, while theyâre working their notice period, their focus is going to be on tying up loose ends and handing work over.
If an employee agrees to an exit interview , make sure that it adds value to the employee experience and your company. Otherwise, itâs just a waste of time. And, remember, colleagues – even ex colleagues – talk. If one exit interview was a monumental waste of time, chances are theyâll tell members of the team, and youâll find that the decline rate when asking for exit interviews will shoot up.
Carefully consider what information you want from an exit interview and how youâll use it. Thatâs the starting point, and itâs something you should base all of your exit interview questions on.
Also, appreciate that the employee is doing you a favor by being honest theyâre no longer invested! So, craft the interview in a way that shows your gratitude, and keep your exit interview questions on-topic.
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How To Conduct A Successful Exit Interview
Different exit surveys will gather different types of feedback. Some ask for direct feedback on the persons manager while others just ask about the role and reasons for leaving.
If an exit survey isnt clear to interpret you may want to consider redesigning your survey
Exit interviews should also allow you to dissect data by performance levels, tenure, and role.
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 an exit survey isnt clear to interpret you may want to consider redesigning your survey.
It can be useful to include a few open text fields in your survey too often they elicit rich detail and nuances about an employees decision to leave compared to multiple-choice questions.
While historically these have been difficult to turn into insights, text analyticssoftware can process language and sentiment analysis to allow you to automatically analyze many thousands of open-text responses.
This then creates topics, themes, and trends to allow you to spot patterns and interpret the data.
What Could Have Been Done For You To Remain Employed Here
This may sound too direct, but this question allows your employees to understand your situation. It may also sound like theyre trying to retain you as an employee, but most of the time, it intends to inform your direct supervisor how to handle several scenarios that could have triggered your resignation.
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What Could We Have Done Better
Again, this may seem similar to question three, but the answer explores a different side of the issue. Say, for example, that an employee responded to question three with, more professional development opportunities. That answer insinuates that the number of opportunities is important.
But when asked question number four, he may offer this advice: Actively promote professional development and motivate employees to reach out. So maybe its not the number of opportunities you offer, but the promotion of those opportunities that is the real key. Asking both questions in tandem can reveal these finer points.
During The Exit Interview
To help you conduct an effective exit interview, its helpful to also set the tone before you dive into the questions. I recommend touching on the following:
- Thank them for agreeing to meet with you.
- Remind them that your company values feedback from departing employees.
- Reiterate that the purpose of the meeting is to understand their personal employee experience and the reasons why they are leaving.
- Reassure them again that all feedback will be kept confidential and not shared with their manager .
Digging deeper and the 5 whys
Once the exit interview has begun, stick with the questions in your template. This standardizes the interview process and makes the data more comparable than asking questions ad hoc.
However, dont be afraid to ask for more details if someone drops a bombshell. If an employee tells you theyre leaving because they felt discriminated against, dont just write it down and move on. Ask them to help you understand why they felt that way. This is your last chance to get their honest feedback so its okay to dig a little deeper.
Sometimes departing employees are tight-lipped with their feedback, and you may feel like youre only scratching the surface of their issues. In those cases, one helpful strategy you can use is the 5 Whys Technique.
Q1: Why have you decided to leave the company?A1: Because I have no opportunities to grow here.
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Common Exit Interview Questions & Answers
It might feel weird to prepare for an exit interview since youre already leaving the company and dont necessarily need to put your best foot forward. Think of it this way: in a job interview saying one wrong thing could jeopardize your whole application, in an exit interview saying the wrong thing could lead to an awkward conversation that your boss and former colleagues may hear about.
Knowing the questions in advance and preparing a diplomatic response is a good way to ensure your reputation doesnt get ruined after you’ve got no chance of fixing it because youre no longer there. Here are the exit interview questions you’re likely to be asked and some good exit interview answers:
Best Exit Interview Questions
What makes for the best exit interview questions? The best exit interview questions get to the heart of why employees leave and what can be done about it.
Below youll find examples of some of the best exit interview questions that weve seen, which can replace some of the questions in the sample exit interview above.
- What were the most important factors in choosing another job? Salary? Benefits? Time-off? Company culture? Something else?
- What does your new company provide that we dont?
- What advice would you give to new hires at our company?
- What changes to your job would have made you stay at our company?
- What were the three biggest challenges you experienced when working at our company?
- How would you describe our company culture to one of your closest friends?
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Sample Exit Interview Questions
Reasons for leaving your job
Sometimes it can be a challenge to verbalize your reasons for leaving. Research shows that the main reasons that people leave their jobs voluntarily are:
- For career opportunities that involve advancement and self-development
- A better work/life balance
- An improved fit with the company and job
- For more suitable management and leadership styles
- Availability of training
What Qualities Do You Think We Should Look For In Your Replacement
Question fourteen dealt with skills. Question fifteen deals with qualities. Yes, the job may have changed from one that focused on phone communication to one that focused on written communication . But it also may have changed in regard to some of the softer qualities like patience, people skills, and organization.
Asking the outgoing employee what qualities you should look for in her replacement is an excellent indication of this change.
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Should You Take Part In An Exit Interview
In the final days of your job, the last thing you probably want to get involved in is an exit interview. Youve likely already mentally checked out, and your natural inclination is probably to look forward to your new opportunities, rather than backward to old wounds. Even if you are filled with a sense of burning injustice depending on the circumstances of your leaving you are probably unsure that an explosive, tell-all interview will serve any useful purpose.
Youd probably prefer that the topic of an exit interview just didnt come up, but given that 91 percent of Fortune 500 companies and 87 percent of mid-sized companies conduct them, chances are that youll be asked to participate in one. So, the question is: should you do it?
Unless it is specified in the terms and conditions of your employment, you are not obligated to take part in your employers exit interview process. In my own personal experience, most employers dont make exit interviews mandatory. Youll most likely be safe if you decline an exit interview, if thats what you want to do.
This is not to say that there is no reason at all to ever participate in an exit interview. Your former coworkers could benefit from the insights and changes your exit interview brings about. If you believe your exit interview could improve working conditions for any beleaguered coworkers or for the business in general, then doing an exit interview could be an important final act of altruism.
How To Conduct An Effective Employee Exit Interview
An exit interview is a golden opportunity to glean important insights about your organization, from how it is run to how employees feel about you.
If you do exit interviews right, you will be able to make important changes to how your organization does workforce planning that will yield benefits years down the road — and slash turnover rate. Here are five key steps you should take when conducting an exit meeting.
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Do You Feel Your Job Description Changed Since You Were Hired How
The way we work is constantly in flux, so it should come as no surprise if an employee indicates that his job changed while he worked at your company. Take the information this employee gives and use it to update the job description before starting the hiring process. That way, you can be sure you are looking for the right skills to fill the vacant position.
What Are The Most Important Data Points To Gather
The first thing to acknowledge before beginning the exit interview process is that its not just about understanding why the individual is leaving. Theres a lot more that goes into it if you want to do it right.
These are some of the important data points you should gather:
- The employees overall experience of working at the company
- Their opinion of the company culture, if and why they feel distanced from the work environment
- Whether or not the job training/onboarding process was sufficient
- Reasons for joining the company in the first place, as well as reasons they considered leaving and then chose to follow through
- What they liked most and least about the job
- Professional goals
- Perceptions of the workplace that the employee is joining
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