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What is an Exit Interview?

Exit interviews are intended to give employers a better understanding of the level of employee satisfaction.
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  • Written By: Ann Casano
  • Edited By: Lucy Oppenheimer
  • Last Modified Date: 16 June 2014
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Exit interviews are voluntary meetings held between a member of a company’s Human Resources (HR) Department and an employee who has resigned. Although exit interviews are still a traditional practice, more and more companies in the modern era have shied away from them.

The goal of the exit interview is to ask questions that would presumably help the company improve the way that they do business especially in the area of employee satisfaction. Skeptics argue that these interviews are more of a safeguard to protect companies from possible future lawsuits. In turn, if a former employee feels that the company did him wrong in some way, his remarks made during his exit interview could be used against him in court.

Career experts disagree on the effectiveness of exit interviews. One of the obvious benefits is that they actually do help companies make improvements based upon honest perceptions of an employee’s personal work experience. Other experts argue that interviews performed while a person actually still works for a company would be more sincere and ultimately beneficial. A former employee may be disgruntled, fear burning bridges or simply not care about the company enough to provide valid thoughtful answers.

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Some popular exit interview questions: What did you like or not like about your job? What is your main reason for leaving? Do you have any advice to improve the company? Were you happy with your supervisor? Would you consider working for the company again in the future? Would you recommend working for the company to your family or friends? Were you ever discriminated against or harassed while working at the company?

The ultimate decision on whether to participate in an exit interview is solely based upon the decision of the outgoing employee. However, it is usually recommended that the employee keep their answers general. If a person feels that they will not be able to quell heavy emotions or might become angry during the interview, then they should probably pass on participating in the process.

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