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Exit Interviews – What to Ask, What to Learn

Is job hopping the new accepted normal? A poll by The Australian found that more than half of employees plan to stay in their current job for less than five years. Another poll of 6537 Australians found more than 70% want to stay on in their current job for more than five years! Only 14% of those surveyed said they wanted to quit within a year! So, clearly employees want to stay but when they do quit, the reasons behind their decision is worth exploring. Exit interviews are the last opportunity for employers to understand and make a note of the red flags. Why conduct exit interviews? Exit interviews can provide valuable information on multiple aspects including processes, culture and ethics, motivation and appreciation and other day-to-day issues. Once the employee has handed in the resignation, he or she is more likely to give an honest opinion on the management, biases if any, opportunities (or lack of) for career growth and so on. Recording exit interviews over a period of time can help recruiters recognise a trend or pattern that can be then worked on. Why are you leaving the job? Finding out why the employee is leaving the job is important. The question should preferably include a set of options on the work environment, supervisor or immediate manager and top management. More than 50% of employees quit because of “bad boss” issues which proves people often quit bosses and not jobs. Did the job match up to your skills and expectations? The answers to this question helps recruiters devise methods to hire better fits. There could be many reasons why the job did not match the employee’s levels of competency and expectations. Future hires can focus on how to set expectations right as far as the day-to-day realities of the job and skill levels of employees go. Did you have access to the necessary tools and resources? Outstanding results are impossible to achieve even by the best of employees when they do not have access to the right resources and tools to carry out their tasks. From building the right support system to providing relevant training, there can be many ways to bring out the best in employees. Exit interviews provide the opportunity for recruiters to understand the pitfalls, if any, that need immediate remedial measures. Would you recommend the company to others? Employees – even those who are leaving- are potential customers and brand ambassadors for the company. While it is not realistic to expect everyone to say they would highly recommend the company, it can be worth finding out why they would or would not recommend the job to other candidates.  


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