How to conduct an exit interview

Woman doing paperwork on a TV or film production

People move quickly from one contract to another in the film and TV industry, often without getting constructive feedback or having the time to reflect on the role they’ve just finished. 

Offering team members the opportunity to have an ‘exit interview’ can be of huge benefit, giving people the chance to gather information that can help them develop in their next role.

Exit interviews also give senior leaders the chance to find out more about what went well and what could be improved.

These valuable insights into working conditions, clarity of role and culture, along with both peer and leadership support, can contribute to improving mental health on future productions.

 

Do you have to hold exit interviews?

While there’s no legal obligation for an employer to hold an exit interview, it’s generally recognised as good practice.

When conducted in a sensitive, fair and non-threatening way, exit interviews can be a very powerful tool – providing essential feedback for the employer and a helpful process for the person moving on.

 

How to approach an exit interview

How you approach an exit interview will depend on your specific situation and resources.

If your production has HR support, it’s a good idea to discuss how this could become a more formal part of all projects.

While you may feel you don’t have the resources to hold individual interviews for all crew members, the following suggestions could help you accommodate them.

Consider these five easy steps:

  1. What format are you going to use?

Face to face is preferable, but if your team is too large or lots of people are leaving at the same time, this may not be realistic.

In this case, a confidential online survey through a platform like SurveyMonkey may be a better option.

  1. Who is going to conduct the interview?

Ideally, interviews would be held by HR or an independent third party.

If this is not possible, they should be carried out by a senior independent person at the company who is not directly involved in the production.

Make sure this person is fully briefed on their role – and knows they are there to listen only.

Also note that any third parties involved should sign a confidentiality agreement.

  1. Remember to prepare in advance

Send out information in advance so crew members can prepare.

If the meeting is in person, organise a quiet space to ensure confidentiality – and discuss any accessibility needs or reasonable adjustments in advance.

If the meeting is online, it’s helpful to silence messages to avoid distractions.

  1. Have you got a process in place for any issues of major concern?

Be prepared for major concerns and plan how you’ll respond should you need to tackle anything urgent.

Identify any relevant HR contacts and ensure you understand who to notify on the production should any issues arise.

  1. What support and input have you got from senior management and decision-makers?

Senior management support and involvement is key for setting the right tone and acknowledging accountability.

Can you collaborate with broadcasters and commissioners to get full support in initiating this process?

 

Template

With the following Word template you can:

  • Find sample questions that you can include in individual interviews

Exit interview sample questions

 

 

Feedback

As we regularly review Toolkit content, if you have any suggestions to improve this guide, or any part of the site, we would love to hear from you.

 

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