Exit Interviews: Learning from Your Leaving Talent

June 5th, 2015

When you interview someone before hiring, you hope to learn about the candidate and find out whether they’ll be a good fit. When you conduct an exit interview with an employee who’s leaving, you hope to learn about the company and how employees feel about it. The best exit interviews yield actionable insight into ways you can improve your organization and reduce the odds of losing more employees.

Even if you conduct surveys of your employees and promise anonymity, existing employees may be unlikely to be candid. The employee at an exit interview has no concerns about the safety of their job, and may be more honest in sharing their opinion. While each exit interview gives a single person’s opinion, multiple exit interviews can identify patterns of concern and areas where the company can improve. Ideally, an exit interview will provide information that helps you recruit more effectively and retain staff longer.

Questions to Ask at an Exit Interview

An exit interview is an opportunity to learn employees’ opinions about the work environment, the corporate culture, the business process, their management, the opportunities the employee saw for career advancement, and the employee benefits package.

  • Ask about the employee’s reasons for leaving. There may have been one big reason, or a lot of little annoyances. The employee may be leaving for personal reasons unrelated to their experience on the job, but you should still ask follow up questions to find out what they liked and didn’t like.
  • Ask about the employee’s experience with management. Don’t use the response to target a specific supervisor, but look for general feelings about whether management is giving employees everything they need to succeed at work. It’s also useful to find out what employees think about the senior management they don’t interact with regularly.
  • Find out what the employee liked during their time at your company and what the new company is offering that led the employee to jump ship. This information can help you improve your competitiveness in the job market.

How to Conduct an Exit Interview

It’s best to do exit interviews in person, not as a survey, where you’re likely to get superficial answers or no response at all. There should be a single interviewer, who isn’t the employee’s supervisor, or it’s likely to feel like an interrogation and the employee will clam up. Use open-ended questions and give the employee plenty of time to talk. You don’t want simple “yes or no” answers where they agree or disagree with your suggestions, but want more detailed responses where the employee expresses their own concerns in detail.

When an employee resigns, an exit interview can help you find out why they’re leaving and improve your business so their replacement remains with your firm. InReach IT Solutions is an experienced staffing agency that can help you find their replacement quickly. List your job or contact us to find out how we can help.