Exit Interview Tips

diverse coworkers working together in boardroom, brainstorming,

An exit interview can offer useful information about your organization’s policies, procedures, and practices. They can teach you which policies are working and which policies may need to be revised. For employees, an exit interview is an opportunity to give a review of their experience.

When both the employer and employee focus on constructively learning from each other, an exit interview can end on a positive note. Many times the feedback employees provide is positive, and when it’s not, it gives you valuable insight on how to fix it for other employees.

Determine Who is Best for the Interview

Consider having the HR manager or an outside consultant conduct the exit interview.

  • Although it seems expedient to have the department manager be responsible, doing so can obstruct useful information.
  • That can occur based on relationship dynamics or the desire for a good reference.

Learn Why Employees Leave

Employees resign for many reasons. Carefully crafted questions can help to identify course corrections your organization can consider for improved employee performance and retention.

  • Ask why the employee is leaving. Listen and request more information if doing so adds value.
    • When did you first decide to move on?
    • Was there a particular event that led to this decision?
  • Inquire about key junctures during a person’s employment:
    • As you look back on your onboarding weeks, were there steps in the process that should be changed? Please describe.
    • What, if any, changes should be made in the employee performance appraisal process?
  • Ask questions about the compensation, benefits, and perks of the workplace.
    • What is your opinion about our company’s salary and benefits package?
    • Are there suggestions you have for improving these or company perks?

Conduct an Open-Ended Exit Interview

Allow sufficient time to listen to suggestions and/or complaints the departing employee offers.

  • Inquire about their feelings about leaving the company without letting it become negative.
    • How do they feel about leaving?
    • What are the top two things about working here?
    • What three aspects of this organization would you change?
    • Please elaborate on the most important change we should make.
  • Ask for information specific to their time with the organization.
    • What was your most important achievement at this job?
    • What is one thing you hoped to accomplish and did not?
    • What supported you with the first and limited you with the second?

Closing Thoughts

  • Express appreciation for the employee’s service and contributions to the organization.
  • Close with a simple statement. Thank you for making the time for this exit interview. Add words that are relevant for this now past employee.

Check out How to Keep Your Employees from Fleeing