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The five dos and don'ts of conducting exit interviews

by , 15 September 2014
An exit interview is an interview you have with an employee who's resigned from your company.

While exit interviews are useful, they continue to be an underutilised tool.

One of the reasons for this is that companies don't have the know-how. For example, they don't know the dos and don'ts of conducting exit interviews.

The good news is, we're here to help.

Read on to find out the five dos and don'ts of exit interviews so you can get the most from this process.

It's crucial that you conduct exit interviews

According to Michael C. Jacobson, the legal editor at xperthr.com, when an employee leaves the organisation, he or she could provide extremely candid and useful information regarding problematic employment practices that aren't apparent.

He goes on to say, if you don't conduct exit interviews, you may be missing out on this information, together with the opportunity to identify post-employment legal risks.

To ensure you conduct exit interviews effectively, Jacobson gives you the dos and don'ts…

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Here are the five things you should and shouldn't do when conducting exit interviews 

Here's what you MUST do when conducting exit interviews:

  1. Circulate an exit interview policy to employees.
  2. Request that outgoing employees participate.
  3. Select the right person with the proper training to conduct the interview.
  4. Ensure the interviewer prepares in advance
  5. Consider whether a witness should be present for the interview.
Now let's look at the don'ts

DON'T do this when conducting exit interviews:

  1. Be overly forceful or threatening in attempting to convince an employee to participate in an exit interview.
  2. Choose the outgoing employee's direct supervisor to conduct the interview.
  3. Allow an unqualified or unprepared person to conduct the exit interview.
  4. Allow the interviewer to engage in debate with the employee or allow the interview to escalate beyond a fact-finding mission.
  5. Sit on the information you get from the interview or fail to take necessary corrective action.
Now that you know the dos and don'ts, make sure you get the most from exit interviews.

For more information on exit interviews, checkout the Practical Guide to Human Resources Management.

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