Client relationships are the cornerstone of a solid recruiting firm. Simply put, the more your clients trust and depend on you, the more secure your firm’s financial future will be. There are a million and one ways to keep your clients happy, and every recruiter will have different formula for success. One, often overlooked, service that can add to your “building loyalty” arsenal is the exit interview.
Most of the time when we step into the process of recruitment, positions are vacant due to turnover. While you most likely conduct exit interviews when a candidate you placed leaves your client, offering to handle all of your client’s exit interviews can be beneficial in several ways.
First, most managers dislike the idea of an exit interview. It can be awkward and uncomfortable for both the former employee and the manager to discuss problems with the company. Most ex-employees will not open up and voice their true issues with the person who will likely be their reference at the company. When you offer to take this unpleasant task from your client, you allow the company the opportunity to get constructive criticism and feedback that can help lower their turnover. In short, you score brownie points, which we can never have too many of collected.
Second, and equally important, is the inside information you gain about your client to assist with the process of recruitment for positions you now have to fill. You can learn more about the day-to-day work involved in the position, and you are learning from someone who will be candid about the details. Knowing the good and bad, from an employees point of view, will help you prepare and coach your next placement. This will help you avoid fall-offs and turnover during your guarantee period.
From a profit perspective, you may be able to charge for this service. If your client is a large company, this may be a profitable option. Even if you cannot charge for the service, the information you gain will impact your bottom line, in one way or another, down the road.
Tips for Conducting Exit Interviews
- Avoid face-to-face exit interviews and exit interview forms. Former employees are less likely to be candid in a face-to-face setting, and forms rarely get returned.
- Reach out to the former employee within 3 days of the last day of employment. During the first 3 days after leaving a place of employment, most people are still emotional, and thus more likely to be honest, about the working conditions.
- Be sympathetic, but be careful to ask a combination of questions that will highlight the positive and negative of the person’s employment with your client. Your client is your partner, and reminding former employees of the positives will help with reputation damage control, which ultimately can impact your recruiting efforts.
- If the feedback you receive is negative, consider typing a formal overview of the exit interview to give your client, instead of discussing the results by phone. Emotions run high in situations where an employee was fired, and writing the details out will help prevent emotional backlash aimed at the bearer of the bad news.
Recruiting firms that prioritize excellence in every aspect of the recruitment life-cycle (which sometimes includes terminations), will stand out from their competitors. It is also good to remember that terminations with one client do not necessarily mean that the candidate is “unplaceable” elsewhere. If you take some time to provide the candidate a personal, friendly, and helpful experience, they will of course work with you in the future. While we all have the story of the 1/1000 crazy candidate that is better off forgotten, with most people, it’s just a matter of finding the right company fit for them.
If done properly, exit interviews can help your client relationships and business while building trust among the community of professionals for which you recruit.