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Exit Interview Questions and Template for a Successful Interview

Exit Interview Questions and Template for a Successful Interview

Including an exit interview process is beneficial for all companies to improve employee retention and day-to-day operations in the future. Find out how to effectively conduct an exit interview to get the feedback you need. Learn why using a third-party exit interview template is the best way to streamline data to improve your company. 

What Is an Exit Interview?

Exit interviews are generally completed in person by the human resources department. During the exit interview process, former employees answer a series of questions about the company, their experience, and more information about the decision to no longer work there. While you are looking for honest exit interview answers about the employee’s experience, the purpose of exit interviews is for feedback. Exit interview data analysis is where the work of improvement begins. 

Studies have shown that using an independent third-party interviewer can provide unbiased interviews, which can give you constructive feedback to improve your workplace moving forward.

5 Steps To Conduct an Effective Employee Exit Interview

Third-party interviewers have decades of employment retention and exit data that they will use when conducting exit interviews, which will translate to the interview itself and give your company useful honest information for current and future employees.

If your company is limited to conducting internal exit interviews, try these five steps to set yourself up for a successful interview process that will provide useful feedback every time. 

Ask Questions and Pay Close Attention in an Exit Interview

For best results, have questions prepared for your exit interview session and leave space for the former employee to speak their mind. Providing an outline of how to do an exit interview and the questions you will ask is a formality that will give interviewees peace of mind and a clear projection of the time commitment. 

Questions To Ask in an Exit Interview

The best approach to get the exit interview answers you want is to ask the right questions. Use a friendly and casual tone but structure the job exit interview toward transparency. 

Most effective interview questions are those that are geared toward the key drivers of employee retention. Don’t be afraid to tweak questions that are not eliciting the information that you are looking to receive. Yes and no questions or closed-ended rating questions are the least helpful if you truly want to gain exit interview information for improvement. 

  • What training and support were you given for your position?
  • In what ways were your work and accomplishments recognized and appreciated? 
  • How did this company align with your personal goals? 
  • Is there anything you wish you were aware of before taking this job?
  • In what ways did your supervisor support you?
  • What was your general experience with this company?

Questions NOT To Ask in an Exit Interview

An exit interview is geared toward gaining insight into establishing positive and healthy relationships with employees who want to stay with your company. The professional world is constantly shifting. Take this time to identify your role in this person’s professional career and ensure it was positive by not asking inappropriate, awkward, or unprofessional questions. 

  • Would you reconsider?

Remember, you want honest information to retain employees who want to work for you, not to spend time groveling for employees who don’t. 

  • What’s your problem with working here? 

Leaving a bad taste in an employee’s mouth is never a good idea. An exit interview is for your benefit. Choose your questions wisely. 

  • What are the worst things about working here?

This information is not technically outside the range of benefits, and it is inappropriate and unlikely to get an honest answer. Keep your questions neutral and listen for what the former employee doesn’t say. 

  • If you could choose one person to leave this company, who would it be?

The focus of exit interviews is how to improve relations to retain employees, not to find more ways to terminate more employees. Stay focused on retention and improvement. 

Understanding the Positive Aspects of Employment 

While you are primarily focused on employee performance, working atmosphere, and production, there is also a space for you to inquire about the positive aspects of a career at your company. Ask the interviewee about their satisfaction with the benefits packages your company offers. 

Create a Comfortable Environment for the Exit Interview

Going into the interview, you may not be sure of the employee’s impetus for leaving. If it is based on culture, the exit interview process may come across as intimidating and critical. Consider choosing an offsite location for your exit interview so that the employee feels more comfortable speaking their mind rather than being honest for fear of retaliation.  

Distill Employee Anxiety During the Exit Interview

Aside from choosing a neutral location, another way to calm the anxiety of departing employees is to ensure that you will keep their exit interview answers confidential. Professionals are often concerned about their reputations and references and ensure that the information is used to improve, not punish. 

Ask the Most Important Question

The most important question you can ask is, why did you begin seeking other employment, to begin with? With advances in technology, occasionally, an offer will drop out of the sky that is too good to refuse. However, employers can often match offers. Ask why they chose to seek employment elsewhere or why they did not ask for a matching offer.

Why Do You Need an Employee Exit Interview Template?

Exit interview templates are important. Regardless of who is conducting the interview or even if you are using an online tool, consistent process and questions are critical. This allows for a consistent experience for departing employees, while also producing consistent data that can be aggregated for analysis.

Contact Work Institute Today 

Building a better company is based on getting and keeping quality employees who are loyal and committed to the mission of your business. While the departure of some employees over time is inevitable, their exits can provide critical information that can be used to improve the way you do business. Utilizing an independent third-party interviewer is the best way to get honest, unbiased answers from your former employees.

Work Institute provides employee lifecycle research to show the benefits of employee retention and engagement solutions for modern companies. Learn more about employee engagement and retention services by contacting Work Institute today.


Image Source: Antonio Guillem /  Shutterstock