I am a head-hunter. I like to think I am a good head-hunter (we are all deluded in some way, I suppose) and I try and help my clients and my candidates get the job (I do get a fee when I do that properly).
However, I have, myself, only ever worked in small organizations and there is one subject I would love to find further information on: resignation and exit interview (from large firms: I work with banks).
-Resignation is typically done to the direct line manager. To what extend does HR get involved, other than administratively?
-What are Exit Interviews for? I did extensive research (i.e. I read your WHOLE BLOG) and the one post you made on it is a little ambivalent. Now this question is really for my intellectual curiosity. My real question is: Should the employee be honest as to the reasons why he is leaving? Arguably in my position they are not fundamentally unhappy about the position they are about to leave (I called them, not the other way around) and so we will assume that the frustrations they have with their role are relatively minor.
Resignations are a fact of life. In fact, a certain level of turnover is good for business–the thing HR cares about is not so much that someone is terminating, but that the right person terminates.
You see, there is good voluntary turnover and bad voluntary turnover. We’re interested in decreasing the bad voluntary turnover and increasing the good voluntary turnover.
Once someone has resigned, though, you are right, it’s pretty much administrative. (That is, in my never to be humble opinion, how it should be. I am not a fan of counter offers and think they should only be offered in the rarest of circumstances. My question when someone wants to make a counter offer is, “why weren’t you paying the person that much to begin with?” Of course, the answer is usually something involving poor compensation structures, but I digress.)
So, why do we want to do exit interviews? Well, because they are thrilling and break up the monotony of filling out forms all day. (Oh wait, exit interviews are paperwork. Sigh, I’ll have to think of something else that’s exciting. I know, I know, EEO investigations!)
Exit interviews. First of all, we know people lie. “This was just too fabulous of an opportunity to pass up, although it pains me to leave because I love it here so much,” means, “I’ve been networking like mad and stalking headhunters for the past year because I’m dying to get out of this nightmare.” That is fine. We know that.
We also know that the the main reason people leave their jobs is their managers. If you love your manager, you’ll put up with a lot more. Because I know people won’t be forthcoming (in most situations) about their true feelings regarding their managers, what I’m looking for more is trends. How many people are leaving in that particular department? How do they compare to other departments.
Questions that I want to know the answer to, but don’t generally get a straight answer to, are what company are you going to, and what is your new salary going to be? This can help HR know who our competition is, and if our pay structures are competitive.
You state that because you called them, not the other way around, they must be happy with their jobs. Well, yes and no. An object at rest prefers to remain at rest. It’s much easier to retain someone than it is to recruit someone new for that very reason. And it’s much easier for someone to stay in a job then it is to find a new one. And how did you get their names anyway? If you are cold calling, well, that’s one thing. But, generally when I’ve been contacted by headhunters and I’ve turned them down, they’ve always asked me the same question, “Do you know anyone who might be interested?”
Sometimes the answer is yes, and sometimes the answer is no. But, if I hand over a name of someone (by the way, I always ask the person first), it’s because I know they are interested in changing jobs. If they weren’t interested, you wouldn’t have their names, in that scenario.
Should an employee be honest? Absolutely. Should he be cruel and burn bridges? Never. Why are you leaving? Opportunity, more money, better hours, closer to home, can all be true answers, even if your manager is also driving you up the wall.
We do gain valuable information. And I think a second level answer is more revealing than a first level. Almost everyone will say they are leaving for a new opportunity. The second level question is what makes this a better opportunity than what you have here? Salary, promotional opportunities, management experience, varied industry experience, etc all help HR to develop succession planning tools and development plans that can meet the company’s goals, as well as help employees to be fulfilled.
And you say you are in banking. Do you have a job available that only involves blogging, but pays a lot? I’m very interested.