7 Exit Interview Tips to Drive Growth from Every Situation

Sometimes, it happens that some of your employees choose to leave your company. This is not a desperate situation, and you shouldn’t let yourself despair. Employees come and go, but it’s important to learn something from them. By following a few exit interview tips, you can find out what they disliked about your company and how to improve it in the future.

Woman sitting in front of two other women at an interview

What is an exit interview?

An exit interview is some sort of a discussion between some organization officials and a person that has decided to end the collaboration with them. The most common exit interviews are between an employer and an employee. However, it can also occur when a student leaves an educational institution, or someone leaving an association or a partnership.

Exit interviews are beneficial for the organizations. They seek to find out what made the person leave their institution, and learn from their answers. In the case of a company, the employer can find out what they need to improve to keep their employees from leaving. They can also see what the employees have appreciated at their company.

Why organize exit interviews?

Exit interviews are extremely important during the resignation process. Sometimes, you might find out a valuable employee is planning to leave your company. Such news might come as something really unexpected, as you thought you did everything to make them stay.

This is why organizing an exit interview is crucial. It will help you answer some questions, as you’ll find out why the employee has taken this decision. If you pay attention to what they have to say, you might avoid another soon departure. Your employees will appreciate you more if you dedicate more time to their needs.

Exit interview tips

To make sure the exit interview is successful, the employee has to be honest. Then, they have to be willing to share all the things that made them leave the company. You cannot make them do if they do not want to, but you can still use some incentives and convince them you want to hear their suggestions.

1.      Assure the comfort of the employee

If they are feeling constrained, the employees won’t be willing to share any of their opinions with you. Therefore, make sure they are feeling comfortable. First of all, do not bring any of the managers to assist to the exit interview. The person who should be hearing the complaints should rather be someone from HR.

Also, setting the discussion in an interview room or somewhere official might look like a constraint. If you want the employee to be relaxed, you can suggest going to a place that is not related to the working environment. The employee and the HR member can go out for a coffee or lunch, and have their discussion there.

Two people during an exit interview at a coffee shop

2.      Tell the employee beforehand and give them time

When you make the decision you’re going to have an exit interview, let the employee know immediately. They deserve some time to prepare for such a discussion, as they are probably even more nervous than you are.

To make sure everything will go smoothly, you can prepare a list of questions you want to ask. You can give this list to the employee, and give them enough time to prepare their answers.

3.      Be open to a discussion

This is not a recruitment interview, so you should be less strict about the structure of the discussion. There are some questions that need asking, indeed. However, instead of just asking the questions and waiting for a direct reply, it’s better if you turn the entire interview into a free discussion.

Let the employee know you are willing to talk about the problems openly, and encourage them to bring anything into discussion. If they have something to add, they are free to do it.

Questions you need to ask

Once you are mentally prepared to start the exit interview, you need to know what questions you should ask. Of course, you want to find out why the employee wants to leave, but it’s better to be aware of how you should formulate your ideas.

4.      Ask the employee why they want to leave

It’s better to start with the most important question. This way, they get the chance to express all their disapprovals, and say what bothered them in the company. Allow them to voice all their problems, and thus see who was to blame. They might either be unhappy with something in your company, or just want more chances to grow.

5.      Ask them what advice they give you

This is important to help your company improve. If there’s something that bothered them, they will tell you what you need to change to be closer to the employees. Even if nothing affected them, they might find some suggestions to give you.

6.      Ask them what offer convinced them to leave

This is a bit delicate, as some employees might not be comfortable with telling you. However, if they agree, you can find out where to look for suggestions. This is not about competition, but about learning how to care for your employees.

7.      Ask them about their manager

Through such a question, you get to evaluate the performance of their direct manager as well. You can find out if this contributed to their decision, or see if they can improve something in their work performance.

Once the exit interview is done

If you have taken notice to all the exit interview tips, then your discussion must have been fruitful. However, this is not a rule. The soon-to-be ex-employees might still be uncomfortable with sharing their problems, and thus avoid directly answering the questions. In this case, you can try talking to their colleagues and maybe find out what they didn’t want to say.

Once you’re done with everything, there’s one last thing to do. Make a list of everything you found out, and see what you can do about it. Gather all the suggestions you have received, and start improving things. This way, you can make the working environment better, and prevent other employees from leaving.

Two people sitting at a desk during an interview


An exit interview is not pleasant for anyone, but it’s more than necessary. You naturally want to stop your employees from leaving you, and there’s no easier way to do it than improving things. If you find out why they want to abandon your company, you can detect the weak points of your business. This way, you learn how to grow in the future and make your employees happy.

Image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4.



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