What is an exit interview?
An exit interview is a scheduled meeting – often with HR – that occurs at the conclusion of a professional’s employment. In the events and conferencing industry, exit interviews are often held between front-line seasonal staff and a leadership staff member (who was not their direct supervisor) to gain insight into that season’s opportunities for improvement.
How long should it be?
It’s good to approach your interview time strategically. The end of summer is still a busy time, since many front-line staff are students returning to their studies. It may be a good idea to develop your questions and then gauge your meeting length on how much time you’ll need to learn what you need to learn. Don’t forget to leave time for your interviewee to ask their own questions!
Wait, what do I ask?!
Well, what do you want to know?! List out your goals for next summer as well as what you thought were the challenges from this summer. Use these lists to help guide your interview question development. Exiting staff are more likely to be candid in their answers to questions, so this is a great time to ask about management pitfalls or client setbacks.
Why do an exit interview?
The number one benefit of performing exit interviews with your student summer staff is that it’s the best opportunity to get candid feedback about your operation, management, and clients from a captured audience. Set the tone that all feedback will be taken objectively and kept confidential, and be sure to stick to that promise. Students will open up and divulge their true feelings about the summer and, in return, consider offering them the opportunity to return next summer to help change the operation for the better.
What should be prepared?
Both parties in an exit interview should prepare questions and constructive feedback for each other. Request that your interviewee bring their feedback and feelings about the summer. Be sure to have your own to offer in return. This is a great time for praise and guidance with professional growth opportunities they may have.
What do I do with this information?
Create a spreadsheet in which to easily organize your interviewees answers to questions you pose, as well as concerns raised. It may benefit you to form your questions in an online poll format. Many free polling options generate automatic statistics based on answers. Trending responses help you identify where your operation’s opportunities are.