An exit interview is a discussion with a departing employee. The opinions gleaned from this interview can be used to improve company processes and practices, with a particular goal of reducing further employee turnover. The exit interview is the last chance to discuss matters with a departing employee; do not waste this opportunity. There are three goals in an exit interview:
- Feedback. An employee may have a number of comments about the company (likely negative) that he or she was not willing to divulge while working for the company. Encourage the person to state any concerns about the company, as well as suggestions for how to improve them. The intent of this conversation is not to allow someone to vent their anger, but rather to probe for actionable feedback. This feedback is especially useful if the same topics keep arising with other departing employees, thereby establishing a pattern.
- Prep for return. If the company is losing a valuable resource, say so. Make it clear that the employee would be welcomed back if the new job opportunity does not work out.
- Introduce to alumni network. If it appears that the employee could be a valuable future resource, make known all aspects of the company’s alumni network, which may include a mailing list, scheduled gatherings, a newsletter, notifications of job postings, and so forth.
Finally, gather all possible contact information from the departing employee, such as their e-mail address, Twitter handle, blog URL, phone number, and so forth. The intent is to be able to keep track of the person for as long as possible, to maintain relations.