Using an external consultant isn’t typically a recommended course of action unless necessary, as the external consultant won’t have a personal relationship with the employee. This will result in a less productive interview and may leave a bad taste in the employee’s mouth.
About 8.2% of organizations used more than one interviewer. At times, it can be useful to have a second person there who can corroborate any claims made by the employee leaving.
Especially if the employee is leaving for a contentious reason, having a second interviewer can help ease tension and confirm what is said if it is brought up later. It can also diffuse tension in the meeting, depending on the situation.
Having one interviewer has perks as well, though. For one, the employee will likely feel more comfortable speaking one-on-one rather than being outnumbered in the interview process.
Who you decide to have conduct the exit counseling and how many people are in the room are negotiable, but having an exit interview is not.
When Should You Schedule An Exit Interview?
Exit interviews are best held on the departing employee’s last day of work. When someone leaves a company, an exit interview should be scheduled with clear communication to the employee about what they can expect in the discussion.
Failing to schedule exit counseling is a wasted opportunity to dig into the employee’s knowledge and experience. Employers should take some time to talk to the departing employee about their choice to take part in the exit interview when they hand in their notice.
This helps to ensure they’re ready for this kind of interview; they may need to prepare their statements, especially if their cause for leaving is an emotional one.
They may also not be expecting to discuss if this is their first exit interview, so the heads up may be necessary. You want them to come to the meeting prepared and ready to talk.
Where Should An Employee Exit Interview Occur?
Because HR professionals often organize the exit interviews, a typical exit interview traditionally occurs within an HR office, depending on company policies.
Many companies leave exit counseling up to human resources; the HR department is usually in charge of ‘hiring and firing’ and finding solutions to employee-related matters, so it makes sense to allow them control over this initiative. Although, as discussed above, that is not always the case.
The most important factor of an exit interview process is privacy. Employees won’t feel comfortable sharing their experiences and disclosing important details if the meeting is done in a location that is not private. If you have an open-plan office, reserve a meeting room to ensure you’ll have privacy to discuss sensitive issues.
Telephone interviews aren't ideal, but in a remote work environment may be the only option. Telephone interviews offer less face-to-face discussion, so consider a video call instead.
Exit Interview Questionnaires
To save time and resources, should you have employees simply fill out online surveys and go on their way? Only if the company wants absolutely no actionable data to work off of.
Simply handing interviewees online or paper surveys to fill out may leave them with a wrong impression of your company. It isn’t a good sign if you can’t make time for the employee as they gear up to leave.
You can, of course, create a questionnaire to help guide the discussion. Instead of giving it to the employee and leaving it in their hands, it’s best to follow along with the questionnaire together to open up candid conversations around it.
In Harvard Business review’s study on exit interviews, responders said that 4.4% used questionnaires. An even smaller number of them, 1.9%, used a questionnaire accompanied by a face-to-face or a telephone interview.
And we’re happy to report that only 2.5% used questionnaires as the sole form of an exit interview.
Mistakes To Avoid During An Employee Exit Interview
An exit interview doesn’t have to be complicated, but there are some mistakes you can make. Indeed, the main mistake to avoid is letting your employee feel under scrutiny and that they have made a grave mistake leaving the company.
To avoid this, prevent the interview from being overly strict or pedantic. If you want to obtain some valuable information in the form of constructive feedback, you’ll need to allow the interviewee to be as honest as possible.
Turnover is normal, and you need to ensure that the departing employee doesn’t feel guilted or judged for leaving.