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It’s inevitable that employees at one time or another will bid farewell to their work. The reasons are their own and the Human Resources department may want to know why through an exit interview. This isn’t a reprimand but rather a survey which provides feedback on the reasons for the employee’s departure, what the employee liked about his employment, and so on. When conducting this interview, it’s highly beneficial to use an exit interview template.

The purpose of an exit interview and an exit interview template

The exit interview with departing employees is a constructive tool that gives the company a chance to get information about how well the organization performs and what they need to do in areas where they need to improve. The information on the exit interview template, in tandem with employee satisfaction surveys, will be a rich source of data for enhancing organizational performance.

Improving and catering to the needs of your company will make the workplace a better and happier place. This is a key factor in retaining your employees so they wouldn’t have to seek greener pastures.

A well-drafted exit interview form will become an important source of information. You can use it to improving the company since the contents will be very frank. After all, the employee will be candid in airing what he feels, his likes or dislikes, and more since he will leave the company anyway. From the interview, the company may come to realize that they can solve some issues if they had the information earlier.

Downloadable Templates:

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Methods of conducting exit interviews

How does one go about in conducting an effective exit interview? There are several methods to accomplish this while asking the proper exit interview questions. Here are the most common methods to use:

  • In-person
    The HR department usually conducts this method where they meet the terminating employees individually. The interview will provide valuable information regarding the employee’s benefits. The company can also probe for more information on each of the questions, especially when there’s a need for clarification.
    This method gives the company a chance to retrieve any information property. It has a personal touch that’s appreciated by both parties. Some companies announce this interview while others don’t. Normally, with this method, there will be some reluctance on the employee’s side to impart negative or sensitive information during the interview.
    For large companies, conducting in-person interviews can be time-consuming. Depending on the number of exiting employees, it might prove difficult to keep track of all the information received during the interview.
  • Telephone
    Telephonic interview is conducted by telephone or through voice chat on messengers like Skype between the employee and the HR department or a third-party or an outside consultant. Like the in-person method, the company can also draw information from questions asked. What HR can do is to enter the information into some type of tracking system as you conduct the interview. A good advantage of this method is the ease of scheduling the interview.
    However, this is also time-consuming when conducted in-house by one of your HR representatives. On the other hand, if conducted outside, it will be more expensive. Again, even by phone, some employees will also feel reluctant to share negative or sensitive information.
  • Paper and pencil
    This method uses an exit interview template given to the exiting employee on his last day of work or you can mail it to his address. This method doesn’t take as much time to provide the required information. Also, employees are less reluctant to share their thoughts on paper. Those which they wouldn’t want to divulge during in-person interviews.
    But the return rates for such interview forms are low. On the average, there are only up to 35% employees who would respond back and such responses can take longer. Furthermore, compiling and tracking data from exit interview forms is difficult as well as time-consuming.

Essential questions to include in your exit interview template

Interviewing employees who have terminated their association with your company is the best way to acquire honest feedbacks. The exit interviews on these people will reveal a more thorough understanding that you couldn’t access otherwise. It’s possible to conduct exit interviews one-on-one or using an exit interview template or form. To draw more valuable information during such interviews, consider these exit interview questions:

  • What made you start searching for new work?
    Expect several answers when you open up with such a question. The more common reasons include finding a job near the home, a position that’s more attuned to qualifications, a job with better benefits or salaries, and so on.
  • What made you decide to take the new job?
    This is a great question since it will serve as a gauge in comparing your company standards with different organizations. The main point of this question is usually what you don’t see in your company.
  • Did you believe that you were adequately equipped to perform your job?
    The answer to this question will determine how you will keep the one who will fill up the vacated position. This is a great exit interview question because it will generate for you a proactive response right away.
  • Can you describe our company’s culture?
    The intent of this question is not to probe into specifics but rather identify trends. While keeping track of all the exit interviews of your employees, make sure to watch out for trends that can help you pinpoint any real concerns.
  • Can you give me some specific examples?
    This is an excellent follow-up query which you can use throughout your interview and can reveal personal issues or some other thing that you need to resolve to prevent another good employee from leaving.
  • What could we have done to make you stay?
    This is a very frank and personal question. But it gives the employee a chance to open up more.
  • Did you speak to anyone about your concerns before you decided to leave?
    Many employees would discuss their situations with others in the company. Not that unusual as it’s part of employee culture where one feels more comfortable with sharing concerns with coworkers or superiors.
  • If you get the chance to make any change in the company or your job, what would that be?
    Exit interviews will make you gain plenty of insights but this one question will make the employee focus on the most significant reason for his decision to leave. The question bears a tinge of tactfulness and is so non-confrontational that it will encourage the employee to reveal his reason. Furthermore, you can take his answer more as a meritorious suggestion rather than a complaint which will make him feel more comfortable when providing information.
  • Did you feel satisfied with our management style?
    It’s important to ask questions regarding whether or not management had something to do with the employee’s decision to find another job. The response to the question is important as it will give you an understanding of the issues or problems then taking proactive measures so you won’t have to lose future employees.
  • Did you have any clear objectives and goals?
    Employees do not want to feel like spare parts of a machine. They need to be constantly reminded that their job is important and that they do have their own goals to achieve.
  • Throughout your employment, did you get any constructive feedback which helped with your performance?
    Never make your employees feel that they’re stagnant and are only as good as their salaries. You need to nurture them and give them room to improve. Your employees also need to have personal objectives. Helping them expand their knowledge and skills would be the key to further improving their performance.
  • How can we improve our programs for training and development?
    If you get your employees involved and motivate them on matters concerning work, then these higher engagements will ensure that your employees will stay with you for longer periods.
  • Would you want to come back and work for us in the future? What changes do you want to see?
    For excellent employees who have signified their intent to leave, ask them if they would consider returning. Many of them leave because they want to experience a different role, they want a salary increase, and more. Regardless of why, it still is good information to know, especially if some interesting roles would open up later.

Performing an exit interview

Simply stated, an exit interview it is one performed with an employee leaving the company. Either the employee’s manager or an employee from HR Dept will conduct the interview. HR shares the information with the management and other parties based on compilation of feedbacks from several exit interviews. It does not share each person’s feedback to not to violate confidentiality concerns and maintain the process integrity.

Most exit interviews get conducted through the person-to-person method for the main reason that talking with the employee can help explore and understand his views in a better way and the HR involvement sends out a good message to everyone. Furthermore, with this method, the interviewer has a chance to probe and ask more questions.

Explain in a most congenial manner that you will use any information disclosed in the interview in an aggregate format which can help the organization improve and, as important, retain valued personnel. Make sure that you understand every response the employee gives and ask for clarifications when needed.


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