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Profile for Rob Scott, Managing Director of Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment


When one of your employees leaves, you’ve one last chance to get something useful from them. Not the keys to their office desk, but their honest thoughts about your business and the lessons that you can learn from why they are leaving. In this article, we’ll explore how you can conduct a productive exit interview.


What is an exit interview?

This is when you as an employer get to have an honest and open conversation with someone that has recently resigned, to understand their thoughts on working for your business, any problems they had or concerns over processes or operating practices.

Think of it as a job interview in reverse. Instead of ‘Why do you want to work for our business?’ it’s ‘What made you resign and why?’

You’re aiming to gain valuable information about what staff truly think but are generally too afraid to say. Perhaps some management practices stink? Maybe sales targets are set way too high, sinking morale? Maybe working conditions are archaic compared with other businesses?  Products are out of date and not as attractive as those of the competition? Or, it could be something sinister like bullying, or a ‘virus’ member of the team that is undermining all of the good that you are trying to achieve.

All of this can give your business valuable insight and empower you to make changes that might stop any other team member that you value ‘throwing in the towel’.

However, the whole process can only work well if the leaver is relaxed and feels like they can speak openly. If there is a culture of fear about speaking out, then your business has issues beyond the scope of this article. What we’re interested in now is a leaver understanding that their specific feedback will not go straight back to their manager or former colleagues. The leaver might want to work with you again or, if you’re in a niche industry sector, they don’t want to be identified as a troublemaker.

Therefore, make sure you spell out that his or her exit interview is entirely confidential, that ‘Chatham House Rules’ apply and that their answers will be collated with others and used as aggregate feedback for the business, management and directors.


How should I plan an exit interview?

Your planning should be two-fold:

1) ensuring you know enough about the leaver to get the most out of them and;

2) creating the right atmosphere for the meeting to be a success.

If the individual worked in your business sales team, you need to do some homework about not just the leaver, but his/her management structure, colleagues, how the team works and how it fits in with the rest of the business.

Only then can you ask pertinent questions, as well as spotting early if the leaver seems to be holding back or talking too generically. If you don’t know enough about their sales team, you’ll not understand what has been pressing this leaver’s buttons over the years. Be sure to have thoroughly read through the employment record, taken note of past performance reviews and comments from managers.

Keeping the leaver relaxed during the exit interview will empower them to be more open and honest. This is their chance to say what they really think, as long as they understand they will never be compromised by doing so. If possible, you’ll be having someone from human resources doing all this for you… it’s not good practice for a Sales Manager to conduct the exit interview of a Sales Executive, unless they are strictly able to not be defensive or allow the meeting to become emotional. They might have form together, good or bad, and that will unduly influence responses.  Third party HR agencies will be willing to conduct the exit charge for a nominal fee, as will some retained recruiters, that are tasked with filling their vacant role.


10 questions to ask while conducting exit interviews

1) Why did you want to leave? Perhaps the most obvious question. Some leavers will take this and go straight to the point, but others might be more reserved, and you’ll need to coax out their reasoning via these follow-up questions.

2) Why did you accept this new position? Here you might learn if another organisation pays more or has better benefits or apparent career progression. You might find it’s as simple as: “It’s less of a commute.” Or “it’s a better work-life balance, enabling me to spend more time with my kids”

3) How did you find the culture of our company? An individual leaver’s answer here won’t mean much in the scheme of things, but if you aggregate leavers’ answers from conducting exit interviews, over time, you might draw useful conclusions.

4) Are staff recognised and rewarded well enough? While everyone would always like more money, this is more about whether your business rewards verbally or celebrates success. Everyone likes a pat on the back.

5) Were you well equipped and trained here? Perhaps it’s time your sales team were given some extra training programmes to help them reach their targets?

6) Did you share your concerns with anyone here? This will expose a ‘culture of fear’ exists if many leavers suggest they could not speak up.

7) Were you satisfied with the way in which you were managed? The leaver needs to understand his answer will not be taken up directly with their manager. As a business, your alarm bells should be ringing if several leavers spoke against the same manager.

8) What could we have done to keep you? This isn’t about you trying  to make the leaver change their mind. It’s too late for that. Rather, you’re hoping to be proactive in making sure other good staff members don’t follow the leaver out of the door.

9) Did you have clear goals and objectives? You’d hope a sales team had clear targets and incentives. But does your organisation try and align some goals and objectives with the wider business, allowing staff to feel more invested in the organisation’s success?

10) Would you ever consider coming back here? If it’s: “Never again,” then you had probably picked up this vibe throughout the rest of the exit interview. But for some star leavers, it’s good to know if they would come back, and perhaps what it would take to do so.


What shouldn’t I ask in an exit interview?

While remaining alert to any hint of harassment, bullying or discrimination allegations, which you should act upon under your normal procedures, you should avoid talking about individuals during an exit interview. Asking about individuals, or relationships with a particular colleague, can fuel office gossip and what you hear might not be entirely accurate or fair.

And while we’ve already pointed out, it’s a good idea to ask whether the leaver would like to work with you again, conducting exit interviews is not an excuse to try and persuade them to stay. Such efforts should have been made at the time of resignation.


Finally if you are looking to replace an employee who has left or is in the process of leaving, please get in touch with Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment.

 


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About The Author


Robert Scott, Managing Director of Aaron Wallis

Robert Scott

Managing Director at Aaron Wallis Recruitment

Rob is the Managing Director of Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment, a national recruitment agency specialising in sourcing sales and marketing staff for businesses across a broad range of commercial sectors. Before setting up Aaron Wallis, Rob spent ten years at a specialist Sales and Marketing recruitment division of a £0.5BN recruitment group, leaving in 2007 as Marketing & Sales Director to establish Aaron Wallis.

With over 20 years experience in recruitment, Rob is a History graduate with a PgCert in Management Practice and a trusted authority in the sales industry; in 2013 leading the most extensive survey of sales professionals in the UK. From guiding employers through the recruitment process to helping candidates find their dream job, Rob's advice has been quoted in leading publications such as Business Insider and The Independent, as well as OnRec, who host The Online Recruitment Awards every year.

Find out more about Rob here.

 

 

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Understood the type of person we were looking for and good follow ups - not too frequent.

Managing Director, bigHead Bonding Fasteners Ltd

Aaron Wallis has continuously provided us with suitable candidates that have been proactively sourced. Having used countless recruitment companies, Aaron Wallis are the only company that I can count on to deliver.

Managing Director, JARK Healthcare Recruitment

Rob is a true recruitment professional that goes the extra mile that I have never experienced from any other recruitment agency before. If you need sales people call Rob or someone in his team, as they really are experts in sales recruitment.

Sales Director, Inside Business

Since joining DSGi, Rob has been a supplier of permanent staff and has performed to an extremely high standard, successfully filling 98% of roles he has worked on. If anyone is looking for a good sales and marketing based consultancy with an informal yet professional approach, I would recommend Rob.

Senior Recruitment Consultant, DSG International

Giles Phillips is a rare find in the minefield of sales recruitment; an honest and thoughtful recruiter who considers the needs of both the client AND the candidate to create perfect role matches. I look forward to working with him again in the future.

Marketing Director, City of London Police

I really liked the YouTube presentations which made the service seem both simple and accessible. The company came to see me, and my management team, at short notice to present their service and I liked the support and advice that I received about maximising the results from the applicant.

Managing Director, Leisuresec plc

In an industry where people over promise and under deliver, Rob and his teams have consistently provided a high-quality service. It is great to deal with someone that has an excellent understanding of UK industry, and a passion for sales.

Sales Manager, TR Fasteners

We appointed Aaron Wallis in February and the successful candidate, out of the six which Aaron Wallis introduced, was able to join Alphametrics before the end of April. The whole process took less than three months. I would recommend Aaron Wallis’ services to others without hesitation.

Chief Financial Officer, Alphametrics

I just wanted to thank you for your help with our recruitment process which went very smoothly and has – we hope – found us just the person for the job!

Managing Director, Citrefine International Ltd

I have used Aaron Wallis to fill a number of our Sales Development Manager roles and I have found them to provide a very professional service. I will use their services again in future recruitment campaigns.

HR Business Partner, Greene King

Rob’s knowledge of the recruitment industry and his thoughts and how to make it better for his clients have always been eye opening. I would recommend Rob to anybody who is looking for a professional, knowledgeable and flexible recruitment specialist.

CEO, Friday Ad Online Services

We were impressed not only by the quality of candidates you found for us but also the level of information, preparation and qualification you put into the process. You continually kept us informed of each person’s feelings about the process, which is very important but often overlooked. I am looking forward to working with your company again in the future.

Commercial Director, Incentive Facilities Management

I have always found Rob to be very knowledgeable about our industry sector, and it is refreshing to see after all of these years that Rob continues to quickly and accurately understand my requirements.

HR and General Manager, THK

I found Aaron Wallis to be very professional and efficient, taking time to understand the role and the type of candidate we were looking for. The candidates they put forward met our criteria and were of a high standard. The service they provided was exemplary and I would have no hesitation in recommending them, and will certainly consider using them again in the future.

HR Assistant, Fischer Connectors Ltd

Giles is highly professional and was a pleasure to work with. He achieves excellent results through his personable skills and tenacity. I have no hesitation in recommending Giles to anyone who considers employing his services.

Commercial Director, G4S Government & Outsourcing Solutions

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Less than two weeks after joining Aaron Wallis I was offered my new job. I got a £10,000 rise in my basic salary, car allowance, a laptop and many other perks, which will help to further my career. I definitely would not have found my dream job without the help of Aaron Wallis.

C. Hoy, Candidate

The Recruitment agent I used, Simon, was extremely helpful and really went the extra mile to ensure all of my questions were answered, and that I felt as comfortable and prepared as possible. Very professional company and would definitely recommend to others. Thank you Aaron Wallis!

A. Callaby, Candidate

Good swift process with Aaron Wallis, informative regarding the role and the process was moved at a good pace with healthy interaction. Would recommend them to anyone pursuing a change.

S. Bartlett, Candidate

Aaron Wallis have provided me with an excellent service, Giles went out of his way to help me preparing for my interview and supported me through all the processes. If you need an agency to give you a fully professional and consultative approach to finding you a new career move, the Aaron Wallis can certainly provide this for you.

D. Richards, Candidate

Very good advice and support was given during the course of the interviewing process. Potential job seekers would be well advised to use this company whilst looking for their new career.

R. Speakman, Candidate

I can honestly say that the time and expertise you gave me was way beyond any other recruitment consultant I dealt with. You are a rarity in your industry.

S. Akers, Candidate

Excellent service, very professional and friendly, would and have, recommended Aaron Wallis.

E. Heley, Candidate

Aaron Wallis (and in particular Rob Scott) have been fantastic throughout the recruitment process, and even a few months down the line, still continues to care. Rob clearly cares about each individual and has a wealth of knowledge and expertise, which shows in the work he does. Each candidate is not just a number, and the support received from Aaron Wallis has helped me get a career which I truly enjoy.

M. White, Candidate

I have to say coming across and having dealings with Aaron Wallis proved to be very successful. Being highly experienced did not seem to count for much during my job search bit a conversation with Robert Scott gave me a real confidence boost and enabled to get a position at the age of 63. Great service!!!!!!

D. Burgess, Candidate

I've had a really good experience working with Giles Phillips at Aaron Wallis. From initial contact to the finer details of securing the job, he has been very professional and a pleasure to work with.

M. Shutt, Candidate

Aaron Wallis helped me secure a position I really wanted. Giles saught to keep me updated with all the details preceding interviews and after with feedback. I would highly recommend Giles and Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment.

L. Taylor, Candidate

Excellent experience from first contact to ultimately securing a suitable placement. Giles looked after me in a very professional and friendly manner. He used his expertise and experience to ensure I was put forward for the most suitable positions for my skill set and found me a new role very quickly. I can't recommend Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment highly enough.

M. Green, Candidate

Perfect from start to finish. Simon deserves a shout out. Best recruiter there is. If you need a job, this guy will get you one. He's like the super man of recruiters. Top man, can't recommend him enough.

M. Crisp, Candidate

Aaron Wallis is an outstanding recruitment agency specialising in high calibre sales positions. I was working directly with Darren Dawrance who went above and beyond my expectations in sourcing me my perfect role. I was kept in regular communication with Darren and he worked extremely hard on securing my dream job. Highly recommended and Thanks Darren for all your expertise and hard work.

R. Sealy, Candidate

Really excellent experience dealing with Aaron Wallis. Liam Oakes who helped me get a great job was brilliant. Kept me up to date during the process and offered great help and advice, and a thoroughly nice guy. Highly recommended!

J. Hathaway, Candidate

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