Everyone has to leave their job at some point in life. We all need to move on to something bigger and better when it comes along. Sometimes it can be a very difficult process fro both the employee and employer. When the inevitable happens, it is important to tie up lose ends and make the transition as smooth as possible. The best way to ease this tumultuous process, is to conduct an exit interview. Here are some tips to conduct an effective exit interview.
First off you should pick a private location with minimal distractions for either of you. It is best to conduct the exit interview about three to four days prior to their last day. Also remember to give the employee a heads up on how the interview will go and make sure that it’s just the two of you with no one else involved.
It is also good to provide the employee that is leaving with a set of the questions that will be asked. That way he or she can be mentally prepared and more prepared to answer difficult questions. You don’t want to catch them off guard and ask them something out of the blue that they have no way of answering.
Always use open-ended questions and avoid accusations. Predominantly you want to use why/how/what questions for the employee who is leaving. A few sample questions could be
1) What did you most like most/least about working here for this company?
2) Why exactly are you leaving? / What are the reasons for leaving?
3) Hypothetically, what changes would make you want to stay?
Always avoid the blame game. Don’t ask questions like “who did what” in the interview. By doing this you are looking to fix blame on someone during the situation. During the interview make sure that you provide the employee a time and place to voice concerns without any sort of fear. When they do voice their concerns, listen sincerely and remember, you should remain neutral at all times. When it comes to addressing difficult issues never cut the employee off and always remain clam when certain things are brought up by them. If the employee brings up certain things that have happened, you should neither judge them nor make promises to solve issues.
Use this opportunity to take notes. Sit quietly and let the employee know that you genuinely understand, remember that this time is for you to talk less and listen more. Exercise confidentiality and reassure the departing employee that they can tell you anything without fear of gossip spreading. However you also need to let them know that it’s also their responsibility to report anything that is of concern and could be harmful. It’s your job to assure the confidence and it’s the employees job to report anything that needs to be addressed.
Finally, don’t forget to address all the administrative issues associated with the employee’s resignation. Make sure the employee is aware of the severance package and any other policies your company has with regard to resignation. Take the time to discuss his next course of action and give him/her any career advice you can.
Always include time at the end to discuss any general concerns or questions that he or she might have, and avoid arguments with the employee. At the end thank the employee for their time with the company, and make sure that he/she leaves with the best impression of your company.