How to Conduct an Exit Interview?

Author :

March 23, 2020

What is the purpose of an exit interview?
An exit interview is a meeting with an employee who is exiting the company, one generally conducted by a HR executive. The main purpose of an exit interview is to provide your organization with the opportunity to obtain frank and honest feedback from the terminating employee.

Conducting exit interviews is aimed to generate positive changes within your organization.
Once you have gained insight into the reasons for your employees' resignations, you can reduce your employee turnover rate after analyzing your findings obtained from an effective exit interview.

For instance, if a lot of your employees mention that their duties didn't line up with their original expectations as was told them, it would call for changing your job descriptions and onboarding procedure.

If your company's top-performers are leaving feeling unmotivated, this is the call to start adopting retention programs and offer your employees more opportunities to develop their skills & learning with regards to the job.

Exit interviews can also give you a glimpse of what the competition is offering in terms of salaries and other benefits, learn about the benchmark of competition.

What are the benefits of conducting exit interviews?
Most interviews take not more than 30 mins, usually never more than an hour; a small investment to earn a few benefits:

  • Genuine Feedback: As mentioned above, the first purpose of an exit interview is to gather feedback.. So, this is the time to ask the tough questions.
  • Mutual Parting: Whether the employee is leaving because of their choice or yours, they're still professionals who deserve respect. Even though it cannot correct/attend to all the unsatisfactory experiences, it helps restore a little cheering up.
  • Post employment details: An exit interview is the right place to ensure employees have understood obligations like equipment returns, non-compete agreements, intellectual property agreements, etc.
  • Q&A: This is the time for the employee to ask questions about PF or other remuneration or what they could have done to secure a promotion that was missed etc.
  • Review & issues: To reduce the possibility of them leaving a negative Glassdoor review, both the parties can clear the air about certain issues, at least you can be prepared to address it.

Exit Interview Best Practices & Tips:
Each organisation has set up its own procedure of this process, at Hullo Jobs we offer some exit interview best practices:

Schedule the meeting to communicate the purpose.
The last day of the employment is ideally y the best time to conduct an exit interview.
In fact, it can be scheduled so that it is the last thing they do, before exiting this stage of their career in your organisation-it may even be scheduled a few days ahead of the last day, so your employee can be prepared.
By providing an explanation or agenda of exactly what will be discussed will impart a sense of importance to the departing employees, so that they feel valued.

Let someone other than the employee's direct manager conduct the interview.
Even the best managers have areas where they may have dealt with less than satisfactory. In these cases, the employee might not feel entirely comfortable giving open, honest feedback about all their experiences to someone who was likely a big part of those experiences.

Encourage openness by reinforcing confidentiality.
Any employee, even if they are leaving, will likely find comfort in confidentiality. You can expect them to want you to address their feedback but this must be done in a way so that they feel exposed or identified. This is more important in cases when employees return and likely to work with past colleagues in future opportunities, or when they ask for a recommendation from a supervisor at your organization.
The employee needs to feel confident providing feedback without jeopardizing their future.

Prepare appropriate (and useful) questions.
The interviewer needs to take time in advance to prepare an outline of the specific questions they'd like to ask. In case the reasons & the circumstances of the exit are known, use this knowledge to form the right questions you'd like to know the responses to.

Express excitement and support for their new opportunity.
Even if it is a top performers who decides to leave, your company's attitude towards the employees should be one of encouragement on new challenges and opportunities for the individual.
Where appropriate, it can be a good exercise to express how much you and the company appreciate their contributions and that you wish them well on their new journey.

Implement the feedback.
This is perhaps the most important point of this exercise. The information you gather in exit interviews are helpful only if you attend to the points brought up in it.
It may be that not all feedback will require action (sometimes situations are isolated or departing employees simply want to express their frustrations), but when patterns or large issues can be clearly notices, it is high time to create a plan and start taking action immediately.

Exit Interview Precautions:
As is the case with HR tasks, exit interviews should be approached sensibly and with care.
It is always advised to ensure you end this interaction on a positive note.
• Keep it positive.
It can be easy to take a defensive stance when someone is providing a lot of feedback (let alone criticism), but the conversation should be guided to a constructive place by pushing for details that will help you make changes that impact performance and employee satisfaction.
• Don't reveal extra information.
This comes up in cases when you are friends with the leaving employee, it can be tempting to respond to exit interview feedback with a bit of insider information.
Your job is to protect the interests of the company now, and not create any legal risk for the company.
• Don't force the interview.
The employee always has the chance to decline from taking part in the interview especially of they believe it won't result in anything productive. In case there is paperwork they need to sign or procedures they need to complete, send it to them with the note that it needs to be filled within a due date.

Before your employees end this relationship with your company, ensure you've done everything you can to understand them and leave the workplace amicably.
When done with attention, exit interviews provide a lot of benefits for both your company and your departing employee.