Exit Interviews – Why They Are Important for Employers AND Departing Employees

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The information that employers gain from an exit interview will do more than show what’s working and what’s not working within the company or team.  Understanding the real reasons an employee leaves should be incorporated into the hiring process.  Insights gained from the exit interview can be used as prescreen questions for new hires.

Exit interviews are a chance to keep relationships civil and open for both sides. I caution exiting employees here to NOT use this opportunity to vent or sling mud or use it as a therapy session.  Check emotions at the door.  It should be kept as professional as possible.

Some Exit Interview Questions You May Get Asked

  1. Why are you leaving?

Kind of an obvious first question, the employer is always looking to employee retention so they need to identify whether you had some personality conflicts, a falling out with a manager, a single event or if there is a shortfall within the role itself. Were you discriminated against? Harassed? Experienced a hostile environment?

     2. Job satisfaction: What was most satisfying?  What was least satisfying? What would you change? Were you happy with your salary and benefits?

Answers can be used to improve the role for the next employee and help reduce turnover, increase employee retention. Constructive feedback is what they are looking for to move forward.

    3. Do you feel you had the resources to support you so you could do your job well?  If not, what was missing? Do you feel the quality of the supervision was sufficient? What was your relationship like with your manager? Did you receive enough training?

Provide practical information and again, leave emotions out of it and don’t burn bridges. Berating your boss is not constructive, offer some useful information on how they could improve; “I would have liked to have seen….”

More than likely this information will be relayed to your supervisor so remember the Financial Services industry here in Canada is a really small street. That manager you didn’t like may just get a job at your new firm next month!

     4. Can we do anything to change your mind and get you to stay? What did your new firm offer you?  What is your experience with employee morale and motivation?  Would you recommend to others to work here?

Counteroffer statistics show that 9 out of 10 people that accept counteroffers have moved on within 6 months of accepting one.  Reasons for leaving are usually the original reason you wanted to leave was still there or the employer took that time to find your replacement on their terms and not yours.

     5. Anything else you would like to add?

Here’s a good chance to thank your former employer for the opportunity and summarize your employment experience in a positive way. Wish them well and move on.

The best outcome is that the employee feels like they’ve been “heard” and the employer gleans some insight into the culture of the firm and take steps to improve performance and increase employee retention.


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