Improving Your Company With Exit Interviews

Exit interviews should be taken more seriously. Here are some keys to doing it well.

Firms showing a knack for exit interviews also stick with basics:

� They rely on oral interviews rather than written ones. That's because body language and other signals in a face-to-face interview reveal more than written replies to questions.

� They ask open-ended questions that get outgoing employees to give wide-ranging and detailed responses.

� They decide beforehand what employee satisfaction or other goals they want to meet by conducting exit interviews.

� They also nix burning bridges with former employees. They build alumni networks that provide future business contacts for the company. Such networks lure valued workers back if other jobs don't work out.

At many companies, they are simply a formality, but they can provide ideas for improvement, and can collect proper contact information in case old employees become new customers some day.