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How to Ace the (Exit) Interview

Employees have a wealth of information about your company—so when they leave, get them to share that intel. "The formal exit interview gives you so much information if you ask the right questions," says Williamstown (Mich.) human resources consultant Susan Heathfield. If the employee reported directly to you, ask someone else to do the interview. Assure the employee that the interview is strictly confidential, and try not to take too many notes, which could make him or her nervous. Then, of course, ask some good questions:

• Why are you leaving?

• What did you like/dislike about your job?

• Did you have the training and support to do your job? If not, what did you need?

• Was it clear exactly what your job responsibilities were?

• Did you get adequate feedback?

• Did you discuss any issues you were having with a manager before deciding to leave?

• What do you like/dislike about the company?

• How is your relationship with your manager?

• How could that person improve?

• What is your opinion of management?

• Would you recommend us if a friend wanted to work here?

• How is employee morale?

• What would make this a better place to work?

• What qualities should we look for in your replacement?

Back to BWSmallBiz December 2008/January 2009 Table of Contents

Barrett is a senior correspondent for BusinessWeek SmallBiz.

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