An exit interview is a question-and-answer session between an employer and an employee leaving the company. When you get hired at a new company, you probably don't think about what it will be like when you leave. 

But for the employer, it's important to make sure that their employees are happy, and that they're getting what they need from their job. It helps the employer know whether or not they're doing their job well and if they aren't, how they can improve. 

It also helps them know what their employees are looking for in terms of future employment. This is why an exit interview is conducted with a departing employee to understand the reasons for their resignation.

In this article, we will discuss the concept of an exit interview, and its benefit for both the exiting employee and the employer/organization. But first, let us look at the meaning of an exit interview.

Free For Use: Employee Exit Survey Template

What is an Exit Interview?

An exit interview is a meeting between an employee and their employer that takes place after the employee has given notice. The exit interview gives the employee a chance to share their thoughts and feedback on the company culture, benefits, management, and job tasks.

This information can be helpful for HR departments when making decisions to improve the employee experience. The purpose of an exit interview is for the employer to find out why an employee is leaving and get feedback about things that could be improved in the workplace or in their approach to management.

Employers may also use this to offer additional benefits to try to convince the employee to stay. Still, most employees will have already made a decision before they're asked to do an exit interview. Exit interviews are typically conducted face-to-face with someone from human resources, but some companies conduct the interview over the phone or online.

Explore: Employment Exit Survey Template

Purpose of Exit Interviews

Exit interviews are an important part of the employee lifecycle because they give employers insight into the employee experience, including some of the challenges employees face in their role, what opportunities for growth were presented to them, and how they feel about the relationship with their manager.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the average cost of losing an employee is between one or two times their annual salary, with higher costs for highly-skilled positions such as sales, executive management, and high-volume production roles like manufacturing and distribution.

Exit interviews provide you with invaluable insight into your organization so that you can take actionable steps to improve retention and reduce turnover costs. The ultimate goal of an exit interview is to gain insights from employees who are leaving so that managers and HR leaders can make improvements to the workplace and enhance engagement.

Explore This: Free Interview Consent Form Template

The goal is to understand what might have led someone to choose to leave, and if there's something that can be done to improve the company or the workplace experience for people who remain. While exit interviews can cover any number of topics, they generally focus on asking questions about why the employee is leaving and what could be done to improve the workplace experience in the future.

It's important that each person who leaves feel like they've been heard, and have peace knowing that their feedback will be taken seriously. Sometimes these interviews are performed by a manager or HR representative; other times, they're more informal and take place with a trusted peer.

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The Exit Interview Process

Exit interviews are generally short and within 30 minutes to an hour and can either be conducted face-to-face or over the phone, depending on your organization's preference. Once an employee resigns, you should schedule a time to meet with them in person, over the phone, or via email to discuss their experience at your organization, the reasons for their departure, and areas for improvement.

The structure of the discussion should conform to your employer's policies, but there are some general questions you should be sure to ask:

  1. Why did you decide to leave this position?
  2. What was your least favorite part of working here?
  3. What could we have done better during your time here?
  4. Do you have any other feedback for us?
Read: Screening Interview: Types, + [Question Examples]

Methods of Conducting Exit Interviews

There are different methods for conducting exit interviews, including one-on-one interviews, group exit interviews, and written surveys. In order for the results of an exit interview to be most helpful, it's important to ensure that all of your employees are participating in them, even if they are not leaving on their own terms (for example, if they have been fired).

There are two main ways to conduct exit interviews: in person and over the phone. 

  • In-person exit interviews are great for gathering detailed information from employees about their experience working for a company. However, this type of interview tends to be stressful for both parties and can take up a lot of time. 
  • Phone exit interviews offer more flexibility, but they may not be as effective as in-person interviews in terms of gathering information.

It is important that the interviewer is unbiased and professional, and that the employee feels comfortable talking with them. The conversation is private, and should never be shared outside of HR (or whoever conducts it).

Use For Free: Employee Satisfaction Survey Template

Exit Interview Best Practices

A good exit interview should be conducted in-person or over video chat (not over email or text message), and it should be structured as a semi-formal conversation that provides ample space for the exiting employee to feel comfortable sharing their experiences without fear of embarrassing themselves or others.

Exit interviews can sometimes feel tricky because they involve asking questions from an employee who is no longer bound by a commitment to the company. However, it's important for managers to remember that this is an opportunity for growth.

An exit interview isn't just about placating someone who is angry with the company; it's about learning from mistakes so that you can improve your team, your management style, and your overall workplace culture. If you keep this in mind (and are respectful of people's time), an exit interview can be a valuable

Read: Unstructured Interviews: Definition + [Question Examples]

Benefits of Using the Right Exit Interview Questions

If you want to know why employees are leaving your company, you need to know how to ask the right questions. By using the right exit interview questions, you can find out a lot about what's wrong in your office.

You can also make your departing employees feel heard and respected, which will help you keep them as brand ambassadors for your company. The benefits of asking the right exit interview questions include:

  1. It helps employees feel valued by their employer (especially if they are leaving for a negative reason)
  2. It helps the organization to improve retention and hiring
  3. It also helps you to learn more about the employee's experience for future consideration
  4. Identify problems within the workplace before they become severe enough to cause an exodus of employees

Examples of Exit Interview Questions

The exit interview questions may vary according to each company's needs but some common ones include:

  • What do you like most about working for us?
  • What did you like least about working here?
  • Why are you leaving your position?
  • If you could change one thing about our organization, what would it be?
  • Is there anything that you would change about your job?
  • Do you feel like we could have done anything differently in order to keep you from leaving?
  • What do you think of our leadership team?

Conclusion

The data gathered from exit interviews can be used to learn more about employees, their job satisfaction, and what could have been done to retain them. Exit interviews aren't just an opportunity for you to get the feedback they are also a chance for your departing employees to give feedback on what they liked and didn't like about their job or workplace.

This can help them process their feelings as they leave the company while giving management insight into what needs improvement.



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