An exit interview is a final wrap-up between the employee and the representative of the company he has been working for before he leaves the firm for good.
These are very popular and of course, common in the business sector, government offices, and educational system because it helps to know the answers to several related questions.
The actual purpose of an exit interview can be deemed as feedback that can serve as a guiding force for improving the recruiting of new forces. The exit interview is used in future practices to improve the retention ability of the related organization.
In a business setting, it is the personnel of the Human Resource department that generally conducts the exit interviews. He is allowed to set up an interview and conduct it to the mutual satisfaction of both the parties.
In some cases, the firms cannot be bothered with such trivialities and are outsourced via an HR service provider.
In the education sector, it is the exit interview is generally handled by the students that have already passed out from an institution.
During election times exit interviews are conducted to gauge the mood of the people who will be voting. In associations, it is conducted with members who show an interest in terminating membership with an association.
Although several companies have made exit interview a mandatory concept still, the process needs to be voluntary. Remember you cannot force anyone to opt for an exit interview as he may start lying and leading the interviewer towards the wrong direction.
Steps to Conduct Exit Interview Process
There are several ways and means to conduct an exit interview. As per the available data, the interactive methods are the best ones as they give the interviewer ample opportunity to mold the questions to suit individuality, listen to nuances and see the expressions and most importantly ask to follow up questions to get to the root of any problem.
To conduct a viable exit interview, it is important to go through some important steps that are described below-
#1. Create a comfortable environment
An exit interview is bound to be a bit taxing on the nerves of an employee leaving the firm. He can feel the pressure of what to say and what not to share. The key or an effective exit interview process is creating a comfortable environment so that the interviewee relaxes his guard and can offer honest feedback.
Make sure that he knows that sharing ideas and criticizing any process or employee will not have any repercussions on him if you are interested in getting an honest opinion. Your assurance will go a long way in dispelling any anxieties so that he can be truthful and forthright in his feedback.
#2. Choose the interview format
Prepare beforehand by choosing the exit interview format that you think will work in the present condition.
#3. Pay close attention –
An interviewer needs to put his onus fully on the interviewee. Ask lots of questions and follow-ups so that you can know and understand the reasons for an employee who is leaving your firm.
How did he perceive his stay, was he satisfied, what were the areas that he considered needed attention and what were the main reasons that led to his switch from this job to another are some important questions that must be addressed.
Listen carefully to his answers and gauge his expressions to understand what he is saying and especially what he is unable to express. Both of them are important if you are looking to improve employee retention in your firm.
The exit interview is the last chance that a firm has to delve in its employee’s mindset, get attuned, and find out answers that will prove a blessing in the long-run.
#4. Don’t waste time
Remember an exit interview is as important as a job interview. Do not waste time, and it is important to make sure that both the interviewer and interviewee are serious in their effort to make it a resounding success.
#5. Find out the positive aspects of employment in another firm –
An employee is leaving your firm for a reason. The exit interview gives the interviewer a chance to know about it from the horse’s mouth, and in this case, it is the interviewee or soon to be an ex-employee.
Enquire and thus discover the reason for which he is leaving the firm. Ask whether it is the benefits and compensations that have tilted the balance in favor of a rival firm.
By gaining an insight into the positive aspects of employment in another company, you can make changes in your firm to increase employee retention.
#6. Ask about the positives in your firm
It is important to know whether the employee has anything positive to say about the company that he has been working for. Ask him to share the positives in the existing firm, for instance, about the vision and mission of the company, its managers, and his co-workers.
This will help you to gather some useful information about the firm.
#7. Thank them
Thank the employee who has turned out for the exit interview. Make sure that his contribution is appreciated and others in the firm are aware that the management is appreciative of his efforts.
This will help others to come forward and take part in them voluntarily.
How to Conduct Exit Interview Process?
Employers must encourage exit interviews as it is a golden opportunity if you can utilize it for the benefit of your firm. This rich source of information can be used to improve the present discrepancies in a firm.
There are several ways to conduct an exit interview process. Some of the most popular ones are-
#1. Face-to-face exit interview
One of the most popular methods of conducting an exit interview is via face-to-face. The interviewer can either belong to the human Resource department or be part of the management circle. In some cases, the responsibility is outsourced and is handled by a third party.
There are several advantages of going through a one-on-one interview as it gives a personal touch and clears the way for some informal talks and truths that can have a bearing on the future handlings and workings of the firm.
The interviewer also gets the chance to ask to follow up questions and determine the expressions on the face of the interviewer first hand. You cannot have advantages without the disadvantages of any system. Similar is the case with a face-to-face interview.
Sometimes the personal touch seems overbearing, and it becomes difficult for the interviewer to answer honestly. Moreover, the process is time-consuming and expensive, especially if you opt for outsourcing.
#2. Online Surveys
After face-to-face, the most popular exit interview is conducted via online surveys. The participation rate of employees is very high as they can offer an honest opinion without coming into direct contact with the interviewer.
Even the firm finds it handy because all the information is available just with a single click of your mouse. The information that is collected can be automated and thus compiled and tracked in a manner that will prove handy for the interested party.
As the employees are comfortable in their settings, it becomes easier for them to share information that they might hesitate when they are facing or hearing from their interviewer. The disadvantage of an online survey is that you cannot ask follow-up questions and get to the root of the problem.
Moreover, it is seen that the participation rate of an online survey is higher than its completion rate.
#3. Surveys via paper and pencil
Forms are distributed as part of the paper, and pencil exit interview process and individuals have to write the appropriate information in the spaces given below.
The biggest advantage of surveys is that the individuals find it easier to share their grievances on paper and hence try o offer honest opinions.
It is no doubt a time-consuming and expensive activity as the firm will have to keep a separate team to track, file, and handle the information.
#4. Telephone exit interview
More and more firms are opting for telephone exit interview as it is easy to make contact and conduct an interview over this device. These too can be performed by management, Human Resource, or third party.
The best part of the telephone interview is that you can record it and enter the data in a tracking system simultaneously while conducting the interview. It does not require any additional effort on the part of the interviewer.
The completion rate of telephonic exit interviews is also very high as it is easy to schedule and gain appropriate answers with the help of follow-up questions.
The disadvantage of such an interview is that it becomes difficult for the interviewee to answer in a forthright manner on the phone, and if conducted through an outsourcing party can prove expensive.