Exit Interview Checklist

Table of Contents

What is exit interview?

Exit interview is an interview process that is carried out usually by the HR department before the employee leaves their job. This process may not be implemented by all companies. Exit interview can provide the company with honest feedback from the employee who is leaving the company.

In exit interview, usually, there will be questions about how employees feel working in the company. What is the level of satisfaction with management, targets, superiors, and others. The data from exit interview is useful to prevent other employees from leaving. This can be done by fixing the management that is considered to need improvement and development from the employee answer.

Based on a study by Harvard Business Review involving 88 executives and 32 senior leaders from 210 organizations, nearly 3/4 of the organizations conduct exit interview for the employees. The study stated that “Of those, 70.9% had their HR departments handle the process; 19% had the departing employees’ direct supervisors do it; 8.9% delegated the job to the direct supervisor’s manager, and 1% turned to external consultants. About 8.2% of organizations used more than one interviewer. Only 4.4% used questionnaires; 1.9% used a questionnaire accompanied by a face-to-face or a telephone interview, and 2.5% used questionnaires as the sole form of exit interview.

What is the purpose of exit interview?

The purpose of exit interview is to ask questions related to the reasons why the employee resigned from his job. Some purposes of exit interview are:

  • Provide a new perspective on the company.
  • Collecting input from employees on work systems, governance, work environment, and compensation.
  • As an evaluation of HR department in carrying out employee governance and programs that have been implemented.
  • The HR department can set recruitment requirements for new employees.
  • During this exit interview, HR department will ask you for suggestions for future improvements to the company.

Information gathered from exit interview can provide new perspectives for the company and also matters regarding the organization that has been unknown to the HR department.

Usually, people tend to be honest about their experiences in an exit interview. Either their manager is no longer give them couching, underappreciated by their manager, and so on.

Therefore, the feedback from the results of the interview can be very useful in identifying problems with operations, performance, and staff retention.

exit interview

Why Exit Interview Fails?

Exit interview might fail to improve employee retention or to provide the necessary feedback for the company’s development and employee retention. There are two major reasons why exit interview might fail.

  • Data Quality
    Some employees that will leave the company might not completely honest when answering questions. This could lead to poor data quality that the HR department gets. They might feel unmotivated to explore their feelings or do not want to say anything bad about their manager because they need references from the manager.
  • Lack of Consensus
    If the goals, strategies, and execution of exit interview are too wide, it could lead to unclear data. Besides, many companies do not use the interview to have meaningful retention for the current employees.

The exit interview effectiveness can be measured by the positive change it helps in the company. Whether it’s policy change or intervention in HR management, company operations, or marketing management.

As said before, if the interview process is considered not successful or not effective, it just wastes the HR team and the employee’s time. This is why after the interview, the HR department needs to make suggestions to the company based on the data gathered. The company also need to make changes if necessary based on this data to make the operation better and to prevent any more resignation from employees.

Steps on Doing Exit Interview

1. Choose the interviewer

Usually, the one who does the interview is HR staff because they can be unbiased toward the employee so the employee can share their thought at ease. After the interview, HR staff can take action based on the data gathered during the interview. But, the company also can use an external party to conduct this interview. This way, the employee does not feel any pressure during the interview that might happen when the internal HR department is the one who conducts the interview. With the external party, employees can be more free and honest during the interview. So the data can help to improve the company’s operation.

2. Prepare in advance

Every employee that decided to resign is different. They come from different departments with of course different roles and responsibilities. After the interviewer is decided, the next step is to prepare the interview in advance. Get a list of the questions, prepare the room for the interview, and remind the employee about the exit interview. Also, the interview should be held in private so consider there is only the interviewer and the employee present.

3. Give the employee a written survey

Before doing the actual exit interview, consider giving the employee a written survey first. This will give the employee the opportunity to think about what to answer in the interview. Also, some employees might be more open to a written survey instead of the interview itself. For the interviewer, they can know what the employee thinks and this can help develop the questions for the interview.

4. Schedule the interview

The employee might provide two weeks or one month notice on resigning. Before the D-Day of their last day, the employee still working and immersed in their role. The interviewer might ask the employee their best time to do the interview. It could be before their last day or after they left. If the employee chooses to do the interview after they left the company, they might be more open to any questions asked.

5. Ask passionately and listen closely

Start the interview by asking casual questions such as how are they doing and whether they are ready for the interview or not. Act as their friend who wants to know about their job and why they resign. Also, listen closely to what the employee says. Don’t make assumptions about the feedback that they provide. This way, the employee will feel that their thoughts are appreciated and important for the company.

6. Ask their permission

Exit interview can be confidential but you have to ask the employee if their feedback can be shared for the purpose of company development. Assure the employee that if they want some feedback to be kept private, they will keep it private. Many employees want to make sure their reputation remains good and the interviewer needs to ensure that it will be.

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What should HR ask when doing exit interview?

Why did you decide to leave the company?

To find out the real reason why the employee decided to resign. It may personal reason or there is a trigger from a problem in the company which you need to rectify the cause and make suggestions to the company to solve the problem. If a lot of employees resign because of one particular reason, the HR department needs to immediately address this and find the solution.

In your opinion, what could we have done better?

To identify the things your company can actually do to keep current employees happy and to prevent others from leaving. Keeping employee turnover rate low is one way to make the company credible and job seeker interested to join the company. Employee turnover can affect the company in a bad way such as unnecessary expense spent, decrease in productivity, and lowering the company’s brand image.

What does your new company/position offer make you decide to leave?

This allows you to make a comparison of where you stand in the industry. Especially in terms of company benefits, flexibility, and work culture. After the interview process, the HR department can decide on some policies. Such as either adds new benefits for the new hire. Or make other policies that can attract the best talent for the company. Also, the HR department can make a new work culture that fits the employees. Not only fits the employees, but it should also benefit the company at the same time.

Do you feel underpaid here?

If the majority of employees resign because they feel that they were underpaid, it’s time to start revising the salary scale to keep the employees from resigning. After all, who want to work while being underpaid, right? After the interview, the HR department needs to revise or make suggestions to revise the salary scale. So the employees can stay in the company.

Do you face any problems while working with your manager?

This question will help reveal some unspoken truth about the manager. As employees work day-to-day with their manager, they might know how the manager manages them. Also, what flaws do the managers have. If the resigning employees said the same bad thing about a particular manager, the HR department needs to review the manager itself.

What did you like the most about your job? What did you dislike the most?

To learn about the things your company is doing right and to find out about the flaws, so you could address and improve on the issues. Sometimes, employees feel that they get overwork. Or their job desks are too much or they work not based on their job desks on their employment contract. If this happens and it makes employees not comfortable working, try to talk to the managers about the employees’ job desks. If the employees feel overwork, the HR department could hire more people to help the employees with their job.

Is there anything else you wish to share with me?

This question allows employees to speak their minds about their job that may contribute to why they leave the job. This might be some problems that are not addressed before or the employee needs to speak out their feelings that have been hidden while their working in the company. When the employees speak out their feelings, the HR staff that does the interview needs to listen attentively to what the employees say. There could be any additional information that they did not disclose during the other questions.

exit interview

Exit interview is the key to company improvement and can be the answer to their organizational problems. Every company should start taking exit interviews seriously by asking the right questions to get constructive feedback and quality data. Only then can the company take appropriate action to improve the work environment and ultimately increase their employee retention rates.

Because as said before, if the employee retention rate is high, it can affect the company in bad ways.

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