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How to conduct an exit interview?

How to Conduct an Exit Interview?

When an employee resigns, HR departments most often focus their efforts on filling the vacancy as soon as possible. The first thing we think about is launching a new recruitment and planning selection activities that will help us find a new employee. We verify why the departure itself took place much less frequently.

Conversations with departing employees (called exit interviews) allow you to build a positive image of the employer, diagnose problems in the organization and prevent similar cases in the future.

How to prepare and conduct them to make them effective? Find out in the article.

how to conduct an exit interview?

Carefully think about the entire process and plan your communication

When creating an exit interview, let’s first consider its purpose. Then, let’s carefully consider the entire process and its communication, and plan how we will use the collected data and with whom we will share it.

Participation in the interview should be voluntary, and the employee himself should be informed about its reasons and effects. Let us not surprise the person who is departing by an unexpected call. The exit interview should be properly announced, and the interviewee must be aware of what the interview will be, how long it will last, what its goals are and what topics will be discussed. If he is interested in taking part in the exit interview, we can arrange a specific date for the meeting or send the survey.

An exit interview is an excellent tool for gathering information on the company’s condition and team morale. Therefore, the data from the study should not remain in the hands of the person who carries it out. On the other hand, we must ensure the security of this information, respecting the person who has chosen to share his honest opinion with us. Before the interview, the employee under examination should know who will have access to his answers and how they will be presented.

It is also worth taking a moment to choose an interviewer. Ideally, it should be an impartial person whom the respondent can trust and fully open up during the conversation. Depending on the structure of the organization, it may be a recruiter, HR Business Partner, a specialist responsible for communication in the company or an external consultant. Such interviews should not be conducted by the president or direct supervisor. Thanks to this, we will increase the chances of obtaining honest answers and valuable information from an employee who leaves the company, who will not be afraid that this conversation may in any way harm his relations with representatives of the organization.

It is best to conduct the interview when the respondent is still working in the company. On the other hand, the sharing of the collected data should be left for later, when the person officially departures.

Choose the form of the interview

Before you start designing exit interviews, consider which form of research will best meet the needs of the organization.

Meeting face to face has many additional benefits. The conversation allows you to build relationships and trust, and enables greater spontaneity and clarification of complex topics, which makes the interview more valuable.

However, if you cannot arrange face-to-face meetings, you can use the survey with specific questions. The questionnaire can also be used as an introduction to the conversation, thanks to which both parties will prepare better for it.

Make a list of questions

In the exit interview study, we can allow ourselves some freedom. However, it is worth preparing a few potential questions that will clarify our doubts, and then adapt them to the course of the discussion. During the interview, we may ask the departing employee about:

  • general feelings about working in the company,
  • the reasons which led to his resignation or dismissal,
  • aspects that he liked most about his job,
  • aspects that disturbed him and that he would like to change,
  • the way he was treated by other employees,
  • the atmosphere in the team,
  • relations with the supervisor,
  • competencies and level of cooperation with the supervisor and colleagues,
  • what he would advise the company to improve in the working conditions and the atmosphere.

Use the collected data

The main task of the exit interview is to identify problems and gather ideas to improve the current situation. Just carrying out the meeting is not enough. The most important thing is what we do with the collected data and what conclusions we draw from it. It is worth comparing the information provided by various employees leaving the company and identifying the problems that were most often mentioned in the interviews.

Then, it is worth preparing a summary report and presenting remedial actions to the management team and working out a further plan together. This will help us to systematically improve working conditions and reduce rotation in the company.


Would you like to employ IT specialists who will stay at your organization for a long period of time? Contact us for support in the recruitment process.