The Exit Process and Termination Interview

The Exit Process and Termination Interview

The Exit Process and Termination Interview

The Exit Process and Termination Interview. Dismissing an employee is one of the most difficult tasks you can face at work. The dismissed employee, even if warned many times in the past, may still react with disbelief or even violence. Guidelines for the termination interview itself are as follows:

1. Plan the interview carefully. According to experts at Hay Associates, this includes:
●● Make sure the employee keeps the appointment time.
●● Never inform an employee over the phone.
●● Allow 10 minutes as sufficient time for the interview.
●● Use a neutral site, not your own office.
●● Have employee agreements, the human resource file, and a release announcement prepared in advance.
●● Be available at a time after the interview in case questions or problems arise.
●● Have phone numbers ready for medical or security emergencies.

2. Get to the point. When the employee enters the office, give the person a moment to get comfortable and then inform him or her of your decision.

3. Describe the situation. Briefly, in three or four sentences, explain why the person is being let go. For instance, “Production in your area is down 4%, and we are continuing to have quality problems. We have talked about these problems several times in the past 3 months, and the solutions are not being followed through on.

We have to make a change.” Don’t personalize the situation as in, “Your production is just not up to par.” Emphasize the decision is irrevocable. Preserving the employee’s dignity is crucial.

4. Listen. Continue the interview until the person appears to be talking freely and reasonably calmly.

5. Review the severance package. Describe severance payments, benefits, access to office support people, and the way references will be handled. However, under no conditions make any promises of benefits beyond those already in the support package.

6. Identify the next step. The terminated employee may be disoriented and unsure what to do next. Explain where the employee should go next, upon leaving the interview.

Outplacement Counseling

Is a  formal process by which a terminated person is trained and counseled in the techniques of self-appraisal and securing a new position.

With outplacement counseling the employer arranges for an outside firm to provide terminated employees with career planning and job search skills. Outplacement firms usually provide such outplacement services.

Employees (usually managers or professionals) who are let go typically have office space and secretarial services they can use at local offices of such firms, plus the counseling services. The outplacement counseling is part of the terminated employee’s support or severance package.

Why not just give the person you’re dismissing the outplacement fee as additional severance? In general, providing
outplacement services seems to have positive effects for both the terminated employee and the employer.

For THE EMPLOYEE What should you do if you get fired or passed over for a position?

Most people surrender to the usual stages of shock, denial, and anger. However, the better first step is usually to think through why you lost the job. Doing so isn’t easy. Actively explore what (if anything) you did to contribute to the problem.
Then objectively consider what you might do differently in the future, keeping in mind that you should view the loss (difficult though this may be) as an opportunity. Then evaluate your new options and be ready to seize the right opportunity.

Exit Interview

Is an Interviews with employees who are leaving the firm, conducted for obtaining information about the job or
related matters, to give the employer insight about the company.

These are interviews, usually conducted by a human resource professional just prior to the employee leaving, that elicit information aimed at giving employers insights into their companies. Exit interview questions include:
How were you recruited? Was the job presented correctly and honestly? What was your supervisor’s management style like? How do the employees on the team get along?

The assumption is that because the employee is leaving he or she will be candid, but this is debatable. Researchers found that at the time of separation, 38% of those leaving blamed salary and benefits, and 4% blamed supervision. Followed up 18 months later, 24% blamed supervision and 12% blamed salary and benefits.

Yet these interviews can be useful. When Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania laid off employees, many said, in exit interviews, “This is not a stable place to work.” The firm took steps to address that concern for those who stayed
with Blue Cross.


The exit interview is just one part of a rational exit process. The employer should follow a checklist. Again ensure, for example, that the employee returns all keys and company equipment, that all computer and database password
access is terminated, that proper communications are sent internally (for instance, to other employees if appropriate, and to payroll) and externally, that the employee leaves the premises in a timely fashion, and that if necessary precautions are followed to ensure security.


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