Exit Interviews — Why and How to Do Them


Exit interviews may be standard practice at your company, or you may be implementing them for the first time. They are not a new concept, but not everyone conducts them. However, they can be a powerful learning tool for your recruiting department and management team. When an employee decides to leave, you’re presented with a great opportunity to gather data and feedback about why he or she is leaving and his or her experience with your organization. Let’s look closer at why exit interviews are important and how you can best leverage them to your benefit.

Exit Interviews 101

Exit interviews allow an employer to glimpse inside employees’ minds and see what they really think about the organization. Former employees typically offer more honest, raw opinions than current employees ever would. If your hiring department is new to this practice or you want to hone your strategy, abide by best practices for exit interviews to establish a baseline.

As with any interview process, a list of solid questions is critical. In this case, you’re not scrutinizing the workers and their answers; you, or at least your company, are in the hot seat. Since you are still very much a part of the company, you might feel defensive about an exiting employee’s comments. As with many aspects of HR, strive to remain impartial and collect as much data as possible to pass on to the appropriate co-workers of the former employee.

Why Bother with Exit Interviews?

While each employee has unique views and experiences, you can into what it’s like to work at your company by tapping into the mind of an employee who is leaving. An exiting employee no longer has anything to lose, any reason to tell you what you want to hear, or any pressure to adhere to the company culture. Expect an unfiltered account of his or her experience.

So what’s the point? For starters, if you don’t know something is broken, you can’t fix it. Feedback on the different aspects of a role, the company culture, and the organization of your group will let you see any flaws or gaps that need to be addressed before they grow into serious company concerns.

What Will You Gain from the Extra Work of Exit Interviews?

Another round of interviews might seem like a make-work project for you and your team, but the exit interview process has benefits that can extend into every department. This is your chance to review your company’s leadership style, adjust the hiring process if you find that you have a high turnover, and better coach individual managers.

Exit interviews offer a unique perspective on how your company and its leaders function. These interviews can reveal more in an hour than your company might learn under any other circumstances, and the feedback can be an indispensable asset to the future of your hiring and managing.

Alisiana Peters

Author: Alisiana Peters

Alisiana is a senior marketing coordinator at HiringThing, an award-winning online recruiting software provider dedicated to changing the way businesses hire talent. Questions? Contact HiringThing Marketing.