Articles From the Team

The 10 exit interview questions you must ask if you’re losing staff

Some law firms undertake exit interviews as a matter of routine, some don’t. For the firms that do, there's a real focus on what could've been done to persuade the employee to stay. Frankly, this is a bit ‘shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.’

Why exit interviews are so important

Exit interviews are a crucial form of self-reflection for employers and if conducted properly, can lead to meaningful and positive changes to a law firm's culture, leading to a happier workforce and lower staff turnover. A good exit interview will scratch below the surface of a business's website: they look to reveal workplace culture in a genuine way and they're a great way to start making simple changes to make a real difference.

For law firms in Yorkshire, now's a more important time than ever due to a recent recruitment shortage warning (stated in the latest Legal 500 listings). Put simply, in the current market, firms can’t afford to lose talent to the competition because there’s every chance they’ll struggle to find a replacement.

Bottom line, you need to ask the right questions. Open up the discussion by avoiding closed questions.

  1. Why did you start looking for a new job?
  2. Did you talk to your manager about your concerns before you started looking for a new role? If not, why not?
  3. How would you describe the culture of the firm and the culture of your team?
  4. How would you describe your colleagues in your team?
  5. How would you describe your manager and the way you've been managed?
  6. How would you describe the resources and support provided to do your job and develop your career? Were they enough?
  7. Ultimately, what made you accept the role elsewhere?
  8. If you could change one thing about this firm or your team here, what would it be?
  9. Would you consider returning to work here in the future? If not, why not and if so, under what circumstances?

Reasons outside of your control

At the end of the day, not everyone who leaves does so for reasons relating to the firm itself. Sometimes it’s because they're relocating or they want to change direction and it’s not a practice area their current employer offers. If this is the case, then, unfortunately, this type of staff turnover is unavoidable; beyond your control.

However, in the current market, undertaking exit interviews (and asking the right questions!) will serve you well in minimising a loss of talent.

Listening to the feedback is half the battle to getting the working environment where it needs to be. And the best place to start for receiving feedback is during an effective exit interview.

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