Besides getting to the reasons that the person is leaving the organization what other things of value should I look to get from the exit interview?

Any suggestions on how to document and store the results?

ctomasi's picture

This is an interesting question in light of part 3 of "How to Resign". The word there was that exit interviews don't work and you don't need (or want) to say anything. It doesn't work. It sounds like we might get some insight that they may... Hmm....

dbeene's picture

I was wondering about a similar question. In light of Part 3 . . . I understand the advice that Mike/Mark gave about being tight-lipped and that they aren't effective at changing or improving the organization. But if they're so ineffective, why do companies still do them?

danstratton's picture

This is exactly the question that popped into my mind, too. How much build up do you want Mark, before you grace us with wisdom? :o

cwcollin's picture

You know maybe it won't "work" for the purposes of getting me anything. But I just can't feel good about letting this person walk out of the door and not meet with them on their last day with our company.

But maybe let me step back and categorize this exit interview as a final one on one and not something where I have a list of questions for them to answer or a form to fill out.

So let me add an addendum to the initial question: If I can't get anything what should I be looking to give?

HRmgr's picture

I work in a company that does use exit interviews and I've seen mixed results from them. Those that use the exit interview as an opportunity to rant on everyone and everything that has ever bothered them do not leave a favorable impression and their feedback is discounted. Those, however, who are able to provide professional, constructive feedback leave a very positive impression & we take that feedback seriously. And we do try to act on that feedback - although part of our process is to assure anonymity to the individual. We distribute quarterly reports to the exec team, however, they contain only aggregated data. With respect to what I "give" in these exit interviews, in addition to providing benefits info (COBRA, what happens to your 401K etc.), in some cases I also lay the groundwork (for excellent performers only) to keep in touch in the event that they find the grass isn't really greener and they might be interested in coming back... it's happened more than once. Done right, I think exit interviews can be very effective.

Mark's picture
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It may be a first that I post twice in one night that a NEAR term cast will address an issue, but it's true here.

I think it's important to be clear about exit interviews and what they are and aren't. (And by the way, companies do all KINDS of things that don't work).

Exit interviews are org driven events designed to gather data about personnel loss. Usually they are done by HR - good or bad, depending.

I take a different approach. What is an effective way for a manager to engage with someone who is leaving?

If your company has you do the EI, fine, if you know what they want you to ask. Gather that data as best you can. (Aggregating is CRUCIAL before acting). And, add some other stuff... to be released shortly.

EI's rarely work. But you can make this time INCREDIBLY valuable.


cwcollin's picture


Is the NEAR term cast you speak of the resolving conflict cast? If not, will the cast be released before Friday?

Mark's picture
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No, and I'm sorry I missed your post about it being a final one on one.

THAT is a great idea. Have a relationship cementing meeting (future cast also). If this is someone you want to stay in touch with, say so. Wish them well, offer to help when you can, open up your network to them, set a date for lunch in 30 days or so, talk about performance and growth, encourage them to fit in, give them some ideas for the first 90 days.

Don't make it short, and make it all about helping them be successful where they're going. It will likely astound them, and will make the relationship way better.

One of my favorite quotes about baseball (huge fan) is from Jon Miller, the mellifluously-voiced announcer. After a spring game several years ago he announced, "Well the Orioles lost 5-3 today. But come back tomorrow, folks, because after all, it's spring, and it's baseball, and you never know."

You never know. Start staying in touch now.