Do's and Don'ts of Employee Exit Interviews | Fora Financial Blog
Do's and Don'ts of Conducting Employee Exit Interviews
August 17, 2018

Do's and Don'ts of Conducting Employee Exit Interviews

Exit interviews tend to have a bad reputation, among both employees and employers. When done well, exit interviews can be an opportunity for constructive communication and a valuable source of information for you as an employer. In this post, we’ll provide details on what the do’s and don’ts of conducting employee exit interviews are, so that you can make this a useful meeting for both you and your employees.

What Are the Do’s and Don’ts of Exit Interviews?

Do: Prepare for the Interview Ahead of Time

Preparing before exit interviews will help to ensure that you’re able to cover everything that needs to be addressed. To start, we suggest using this list of exit interview questions from Glassdoor. That list will serve as a guide to keep the conversation moving. In addition, be sure to ask follow-up questions when it makes sense to do so and use the list when it’s time to keep the interview on track.

Don’t: Create an Uncomfortable Situation for the Employee

As you conduct the interview, keep your employee’s situation in mind. Start by remembering that an exit interview may be your company’s policy, but your employee isn’t required by law to participate. For instance, consider who should give the interview. Personal issues with specific supervisors could make the employee uncomfortable and prevent them from being completely candid.

Do: Keep the Conversation Professional

One of the most important factors when conducting an exist interview is ensuring that it remains professional. Rather than discussing personal issues or inserting your own opinion into the conversation, keep the focus on work-related issues. Your employee could (and should) give you constructive criticism throughout the interview. Don’t take the comments personally – and give them the freedom to voice their opinions.

Don’t: Be Pushy

It’s important for you, as a manager, to understand that this might be a difficult time for your employee, regardless of the reason for them leaving the company. Personalities vary greatly, and some individuals may be less willing to share details about their departure than others. There are many reasons that employees may choose to leave their job, and some are more sensitive than others. Don’t demand answers; instead, try to engage in a relaxed yet professional conversation.

Do: Listen to Your Employee

When participating in an exit interview, listen carefully to your employee and recognize opportunities to get more insights about why they’re leaving, and how your company can improve. It may be tempting to ask as many questions as possible, but the purpose of this meeting should be to hear your employee’s feedback. If you’re talking more than them, it isn’t going to be a useful meeting for either of you.

Don’t: Forget to Take Notes

A lot can be said in a short conversation. As you listen to your employee’s responses to your questions, be sure to take notes. Review the notes later and pick out key messages about your company’s strengths and weaknesses.  Once several exit interviews with different employees are completed, you’ll have a wealth of information that could help you to make necessary changes to your company culture.

Do: Be Receptive to Feedback

By asking the right questions and giving your employee the opportunity to share their thoughts about their role, manager, and your business’s overall company culture, you’re creating an ideal situation to receive valuable feedback. It may be unrealistic to think that through this interview you’ll find the key to keeping employees happy at your company, but you’ll probably get some insight on areas that you can improve.

Don’t: Gossip About Interview Answers with Coworkers

When you finish the exit interview, you’ll most likely have personal information about your employee. Due to this, confidentiality is incredibly important. Unless there was an ethics violation or mention of a hostile work environment that needs to be reported, the information that was revealed to you shouldn’t be shared elsewhere.

Conclusion: End on a Positive Note

Exit interviews, in general, may not be a time to celebrate, but they can be a positive experience for both employers and employees. Use data from exit interviews to determine trends in employee retention and evaluate how you can improve your business with the information you collect.

Fora Financial

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Jess has a passion for helping business owners build their brand and connect with their audience. She writes about money, tech, health, and travel for blogs and businesses.