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By Nick Corcodilos

Exit interviews fascinate me like cockroaches do. An exit interview is the meeting a company's human resources department has with an employee who has been terminated or who has resigned. Like the Top Ten Stupid Interview Questions, exit interviews are the cockroaches of the human resources world: no one knows why they exist, no one can justify or eliminate them, and they will likely survive into the third millennium.

While most companies still conduct exit interviews, many human resources managers tell me they don't bother with them any more. For reasons I'll outline in this article, I think employers should be embarrassed to conduct exit interviews and employees should be smart enough to decline them.

The ostensible objective of the exit interview is to help the company "improve the way it does things" so fifty more employees won't quit in the coming weeks. In other words, If you'll just tell us why you are resigning, we'll see to it that no one else ever has to resign for those same reasons. Why, we'll change our company for the better, and thank you for your candor.

The credibility gap
According to a white paper titled "Exit Interviews" by Nina Drake and Ian Robb from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), "exit interviews represent a prime opportunity to gain candid information on employment conditions" within a company. This is purely wishful thinking, and very naïve at best. Exit interviews invade an employee's privacy and insult his intelligence. Employers can't possibly believe they're going to get credible information in such a meeting.

Invading privacy
The decision to quit a job (or the reaction to being fired) is personal and often complex. I believe it is utterly presumptuous of a company to require an employee to explain it. Unless the employee wants to talk about it, it's not the company's business. If the company had any right to this information, it was only while the employee was a committed member of the team, not after he has decided to leave...



This article has been truncated...

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