Top tips for conducting an exit interview

Recruitment Strategies
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Ever wanted to know more about why someone was leaving your company?

Offering your departing member of staff an exit interview could give you the insight you need. Read on for our top tips for conducting an exit interview the right way.

Whether an employee has been with you for ten years or ten months, moving on to a new role is always a learning opportunity. They might be clear on the reasons they’re leaving from the outset, with pay rises, greater responsibility or different roles being a few of the most common. But some employees can be more elusive, and while they might say they ‘fancy a change’, it can often be useful for your company to know what they would like a change from.

An exit interview can help you to gain a greater understanding of how your employees really feel, ensuring you repeat any good experiences, and avoid those that may have led to their departure. It’s within your best interests to make sure your company is a good place to work, after all, so that you can a hold on that all-important talent.

Whether you want to implement an exit interview process, or simply refine your exit interview technique, read on for our top tips to ensuring you get the most out of it as possible.


Find a suitable interviewer

Before the exit interview even takes place, it’s important to consider who will be conducting it and how. The interviewer shouldn’t be in a management position to the interviewee, to encourage openness. Don’t outnumber them either; your departing employee won’t be completely honest with you if they feel like they’re being grilled, so keep it as a one-on-one face-to-face.


Keep it confidential

Ensure your interviewee that everything they say will be kept within those four walls, and any feedback given in the exit interview will be anonymised. Be as welcoming and as friendly as possible, encouraging them to trust you and give you completely honest feedback.

They don’t want to be burning any bridges after all, and will be expecting a reference, and might even want to return to the business.

Ask neutral questions

When the exit interview begins, ask for a general summary of how they found their time at the company. By asking them to speak first, this allows them to set the tone of the interview, which will help them feel even more comfortable in the situation.

This summary should answer many of the questions you might have before you even need to ask them, and will then give you a platform to probe further questions.

When it comes to asking your neutral questions, focus on the positives and make them open ended. Rather than asking them what they didn’t like about the company, ask them whether there is anything that could have improved.


Top exit interview questions:

- How did you feel about your manager?
- How did you feel about your work load?
- Did you feel well supported by your team?
- Did you feel you were given adequate training for the job?
- Did you feel recognised?
- Could you see yourself returning?


Ask about the team

When one employee decides to leave, it can sometimes prompt their team mates to follow suit. It’s therefore a good idea to find out about the rest of the team.Ask the interviewee about how they found the rest of the team’s morale so that you can work on ironing out any issues that might lead to more resignations.

Listen to their feedback

You don’t want your departing employee to feel like the exit interview is an obligatory HR exercise; it’s key that you listen to their feedback, and ensure them that the exit interview process inspires your business to make significant changes.

Whether there’s a particular member of staff that has received numerous complaints, or numerous members of a team have left due to lack of recognition or insufficient training, feedback from the exit interview process enables you to spot patterns that your business can take on board.


Consistency is key

If you’re going to offer exit interviews, make sure you keep the process consistent across the business. Not every employee will want one, but it’s important that you give them the option. If you only offer exit interviews to select departing employees, you might appear biased.

Conducting an exit interview is an invaluable part of the recruitment process. As long as you encourage your interviewee to be as open as they like, ask neutral questions, and take their feedback on board, you’ll be able to improve your business for the better, and attract and retain the top talent.


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