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How to conduct an Effective Exit Interview


Exit Interviews are a final interview that an employee goes through before leaving the organization. They are a common trend and a part of the exit procedure.

Exit Interviews can be nerve-wracking for both the HR and the employee.

On one hand, where the employees are strained enough to start this new phase in life, they usually sit and wonder what this exit interview will be about. They have to be calm, and also tell why they chose to part ways. Whereas, the HR, is probably thinking how to get this done in the most professional way and still get the most accurate feedback.

Exit interviews differ depending on whether the separation is retirement, the position has been made redundant, the employee has been dismissed, they are leaving semi-voluntarily (i.e. to accompany a spouse on a new posting, moving to look after ill parents, to raise a family…) or leaving voluntarily to take up a new role (and even then there is a big difference between making a change of industry, to a move to a direct competitor…).

Usually, it is the HR along with the Team Lead who takes this interview. Points that they should keep in mind, while taking this interview, are:

  • Exit Interview will normally be of 30 minutes so 6 questions with 4 or so back up questions are ideal
  • One should not stick too readily to the questions but rather be prepared to follow interesting themes being set out by the interviewee
  • One should try to conclude the discussion in each area with a general “How can the client organization manage this situation/these issues/those challenges better?”

An HR/ Team Lead should use the list of questions below:

Q1. The decision to leave
i. How did you come to decide to leave?
ii. What is your core reason for leaving?
iii. Why is this core reason significant for you?
iv. How could the situation (surrounding the core reason to leave) been better handled?

Q2. Organization
i. How do you feel about the organization?
ii. What are the most satisfying aspects of your time with the organization?
iii. What has been frustrating for you?

Q3. Their role
i. What could you have done better if we had we given you the opportunity?
ii. What extra responsibility would you liked to have had?
iii. How could we have enabled you to make better use of your capabilities and time?

Q4. Professional development
i. What training or development would you have liked but did not get? What effect would having this skill have had?
ii. What training or development did you find most helpful or most enjoyable?

Q5. Communications
i. How do you feel about communication within your department? How can this be improved?
ii. How do you feel about communications between departments? How can this be improved?

Q6. For recent recruits of less than a year
i. What did you think about the way we recruited you? How did the reality differ from your expectations?
ii. How could your induction have been improved?

Q7. Performance management
i. What can you say about the way your performance was measured? How was the feedback you received about your performance?
ii. What do you think about the appraisal system?

Q8. Working conditions
i. In terms of working conditions, hours, shifts, amenities… would you change anything?
ii. What would you say about equipment and systems you used?

Q9. Management
i. How were you managed?
a. On a day-to-day basis?
b. On a month-to-month basis?
ii. Would you change the objectives you were set? What impact would this change have?
iii. What, if any, ridiculous examples of policy, rules, instructions… have you seen?
iv. What examples of pointless reports, meetings, bureaucracy… have you seen?

Q10. Looking ahead
i. What can the organization do to retain its best people and not lose any more like you?
ii. Are you happy to say where you are going (if you have decided)?
iii. What is it about them that makes you want to join them?
iv. What are they offering that we are not?
v. Could you be persuaded to discuss the possibility of staying?

Q11. Closing
i. Can we be of any help to you in this move/deciding what to do next (we can’t promise anything obviously, but we will lend a hand if feasible)?

With the help of this little legend, an exit interview can be carried out with ease. Without putting anyone in an uncomfortable position to answer any question.


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