One of the best tools leaders can use to gain productive feedback is the exit interview.
What is an Exit Interview?
Exit interviews are interviews conducted with a Soldier who is leaving the unit.
Why is an exit interview conducted?
The goal is to gain an honest and fair assessment of what the Soldier likes and dislikes about the unit’s policies, procedures, and leaders.
When is it conducted?
The Soldier should be completely out-processed before conducting the interview. Award recommendations and the Soldier’s final evaluation should be completed first. You want the Soldier to be able to speak freely without pressure or fear of reprisal.
How should it be conducted?
Conduct the interview in a relaxed an professional manner. Inform the Soldier that this is their time and opportunity to make the unit better. Use this time to actively listen and ask open ended questions. Ask questions that seek to find the root of a issue. Do not try and defend or argue with the Soldier. Simply listen and thank them for their feedback.
What questions should be asked?
- What was the Soldier’s level of job satisfaction?
- What were their frustrations?
- What do you like most about the unit?
- What do you like least about the unit?
- Do you believe Soldiers are treated fairly?
- Do you believe the chain of command sincerely cares about Soldiers and their families?
Who should give the interview?
The interview can be conducted at several levels. The 1SG/Company CDR or the BNCSM/BNCDR. It is imperative that these individuals work to establish a comfortable and relaxed environment aimed at getting honest responses from the Soldier. Otherwise the process is useless.