Managing Resident Turnover with Exit Interviews

Have you ever quit your job? Well, if you haven’t, there’s often an official order of business that you have to attend to in between telling your boss that he can take this job and… fill it, and trying to get to your car without all the pilfered post it notes and highlighters falling out of your pants pockets. That’s right, the dreaded (?) exit interview, where former employees are asked to review the company, their position, their manager, all that, so that, I don’t know, it can go on the manager’s permanent record or something.

For a company, I don’t know how effective these exit interviews are. Even if the job consisted solely of blood, sweat, tears and burnt microwave popcorn, or if the boss’s screaming volume was always turned up to 11, no sane person would go in and trash their manager or company. Because the working world is surprisingly tiny, so it’s always best not to burn bridges—you could hurt a lot of trolls that way. (There are a lot of trolls in the working world.)

Now, in the apartment industry though, that’s a horse of a different color.

When managing your resident turnovers, have you ever considered providing exit interviews to the leaving residents? Unlike employees, residents, especially good ones who paid their rent on time and didn’t set up a meth lab in their second bedroom, really have no motivation to lie or sugarcoat things. They’re leaving, after all. Plus, if they did pay their rent on time and left their apartment in nice shape and didn’t cause any problems, would you blacklist them from your apartment building in the future if they wrote that the gym could stand to use new treadmills? Of course you wouldn’t. Right?

Exit interviews could provide you with some valuable feedback about what you’re doing right, and even more helpful, what you’re doing that can be improved (so you can improve it). And it doesn’t have to be an interview interview. You can ask the residents to fill out a quick survey when they say they’re not going to renew their lease. Even better, you could have one online and just send them the link. Maybe, so they’ll actually fill it out, have a contest where you’ll select a random survey at the end of the year and give some sort of prize, like a discount on one month’s rent if they ever use your company again, or an iPad or something. (Hey, if you’re giving away iPads there, I’ll totally fill out your survey too!)

Would you consider giving an exit interview when residents are leaving your community?

-Jessica Fiur, News Editor

Photo credit: Daniel Schweinert