MEANING•An exit interview is an interview conducted by an employer of adeparting employee.•They are generally conducted by a relatively neutral party, such as a humanresources staff member, so that the employee will be more inclined to becandid, as opposed to worrying about "burning bridges".•Exit interviews are conducted by paper-and-pencil forms, telephoneinterviews, in-person meetings, or online through exit interview managementsystems.•Some companies opt to employ a third party to conduct the interviews andprovide feedback.•In human resource terms, an exit interview is a survey that is conducted with anemployee when he or she leaves the company.•The information from each survey is used to provide feedback on why employeesare leaving, what they liked about their employment and what areas of thecompany need improvement.•Exit interviews are most effective when the data is compiled and tracked overtime.
PURPOSEThe purpose of an exit interview in business is :•to gather employees feedback on the work experience in order to improve workingconditions and retain employees. I•Improving work productivity,•providing an early warning about sexual harassment,•workplace violence and discrimination issues and•measuring the success of diversity initiatives.Common questions include reasons for leaving, job satisfaction, frustrations, andfeedback concerning company policies or procedures. Questions may relate to the workenvironment, supervisors, compensation, the work itself, and the company culture.
In schools:Schools may also conduct exit interviews with students before graduation, oreven as a requirement of it. This is sometimes called a graduation interview.During elections, pollsters may conduct random exit polls.Human resources departments conduct exit interviews (also called exit surveys)to gather data for improving working conditions and retaining employees.However, a hidden purpose is to help employers avoid costly litigation down theroad, caused by "disgruntled" employees.In other words, your comments and the notes an HR rep takes during your exitinterview might be used against you in court, should you decide to sue yourformer employer.
Should one Submit to an Exit Interview?No. Its your right to decline an exit interview. A reputable employer will respect yourdecision.However, a not-so-reputable employer might resent that you didnt participate andfile a "would not rehire" or similar adverse notation in your personnel records.The same employer might reveal the notation during a background check.
•But other career experts question the usefulness of an exit interview.•A better time to conduct such a meeting is while an employee iscommitted, not while he or she is on the way out the door and concernedabout burning a bridge.•Consequently, they dont think the risks for departing employees areworth it, so they advise against participating.•Alternately, they advise participants to give "generic" responses only or atleast think carefully before responding.•Besides potential bridge burning, risks for departing employees includethe information falling into the wrong hands and ruining references, theemployer revealing negative information during a background check, andas previously indicated, the employer submitting either positive or negativeinformation as evidence in a lawsuit.
We have explained the importance of exit interviews with an examplebelow:EXAMPLE:BANGALORE: In 2007, an Indian automotive firm had recruited a US-basedexpat as their R&D head. However, he soon found out that he wasexpected to work on their idea of rolling out a hybrid car and not on theoverall R&D platform. He tried to convince them that India was not readyfor such a car but to no avail. He left within a few months but made it clearin his exit interview that the companys plans for a hybrid car would gokaput. The auto major soon conducted a survey , which according to anindustry expert, was triggered by the exit interview and found out that thehybrid car would indeed be ahead of its times. The plan for the car waspostponed by three years.
Exit interviews are not merely a formality, but can often be an eye-opener forthe organisation.In the last 4-5 years, an increase in replacement costs and dearth ofemployability has also forced firms to pay heed to the changes an employeeleaving the company talks about in his last interview.Take for example retail giant Titan. Its chief human resource officer (CHRO) SRamadoss says, "Some of the exit interviews in our retail sector have shown thatworking women find it difficult to stay back after 7 pm, so we will make ourtimings more flexible from next year."This is not the first time that Titan has made policy changes triggered off by exitinterviews.Last year, they introduced an education policy under which employees couldpursue an MS/MBA degree with BITS-Pillani.
Pros and Cons of each method of Exit Interviewing•In-Person Exit InterviewsWith in-person exit interviews an HR representative meets individually with eachterminating employee.ProsCan provide information regarding benefits and retrieve company property duringthe interviewGives a personal touch to each employeeCan probe for more information on each questionConsEmployees may be afraid to share sensitive or negative information during an in-person interviewFor larger companies, it may be too time consuming to interview every employeeIt’s difficult to track information received verbally during an interview
•Telephone Exit InterviewsTelephone Exit Interviews are conducted over the telephone by an HR Representativeor an outside third party consultant.ProsCan probe for more information on each questionCan enter data into a tracking system while conducting the interviewEasier to schedule than in-person interviewsConsTime consuming if done in-house by an HR RepresentativeExpensive if done with an outside consultantEmployees often reluctant to verbally share sensitive or negative information
•Paper and Pencil Exit InterviewsPaper and Pencil Exit Interviews are usually conducted by a form that is given tothe employee on their last day or mailed to the employee’s home.ProsTakes less time to provide a form compared with conducting an in person or phoneinterviewEmployees can share information on paper that they may be reluctant to say inpersonConsReturn rates for exit interview forms average just 30-35%Difficult and time consuming to compile and track the data from paper and pencilforms•Online Exit Interview Management SystemsProsEmployee self-service so easy for HR to administerEmployees comfortable sharing information by computer so more honestresponsesInformation automatically compiles and trackedReports available at a click of a buttonParticipation rates (for WebExit customers) double that for paper and pencil exitinterviews