Exit interviews are a formal meeting with employees who are exiting the business with the purpose of gaining feedback as to their reasons for resigning and also solicit suggestions on organisational improvement.

Why Exit Interviews Are Vital.

Whilst the temptation is to ‘simply move on’ from an employee who leaves the business, most HR experts agree that making a policy of conducting exit interviews is an invaluable investment for business owners and managers.

If done well, exit interviews can provide massive insights into how well the organisation is performing as well as identify issues in the business, early, before they cause too much damage.

Whilst, the majority of the time, you may get similar reasons for leaving which are not possible to change (eg. seeking higher pay or hours of different rostered hours etc) you will find also that some feedback gems will appear in the mix. These provide the real value.

How to Perform Exit Interviews.

1. Pre-book a Meeting.

Once you get notice from an employee that he/she is resigning, acknowledge the resignation in writing and explain that you would like to book an exit interview. It’s always a good idea to book the exit interview as close to possible as their last day of work (taking into account any notice period).

The email could go like this:

Hi Steve,

Thanks for taking the time to confirm your decision to resign effective from DATE.

As per your contract and notice period, I can confirm your last day of employment will be DATE.

As per our company procedures, and to help me understand the reasons behind your decision and improve the business into the future, I would like to book a 15 minute Exit Interview where I can ask questions and get some feedback from you.

Can you confirm you are available between TIME and TIME on DATE?

Thanks for your contribution to and I look forward to catching up.

Best wishes with the future.


2. Interviewer Must Be Senior.

If you business is of the size where employees don’t always report to you directly, I always recommend NOT delegating the interview to a line manager, but rather doing it yourself.

Why? Because otherwise if feedback is given by an exiting employee that relates to a line manager, you may not be told. Exit interviews are a great way for senior management or business owners to look under the rug and find out, first hand, issues that need to be addressed.

3. Keep It Civil.

Sometimes as owners we are understandably not happy when an employee resigns. We may can feel that loyalty hasn’t been reciprocated and that the departing employee will be leaving the business with unfair stresses.

Regardless, it is vital as the interviewer, you remove all these thoughts from your mind and walk into the session with a calm demeanour. If the departing employee feels any type of animosity, this will sabotage the session and result in little value being extracted for the business.

Great Exit Interview Questions. 

Struggling to work out what questions to ask in an exit interview? Here are some great thought starters.

Q - What caused you to start looking for a new job in the first place?

Q - Why have you decided to leave the company?

Q - Have you shared your concerns with anyone in the company prior to deciding to leave? How did he/she respond?

Q - Was a single event responsible for your decision to leave?

Q - What does your new company offer that encouraged you to accept their offer and leave this company?

Q - What do you value about the company?

Q - What did you dislike about the company?

Q - The quality of supervision is important to most people at work. How was your relationship with your manager?

Q - What could your supervisor do to improve his or her management style and skill?

Q - What are your views about management and leadership, in general, in the company?

Q - What did you like most about your job?

Q - What did you dislike about your job? What would you change about your job?

Q - Do you feel you had the resources and support necessary to accomplish your job? If not, what was missing?

Q - We try to be an employee-oriented company in which employees experience positive morale and motivation. What is your experience of employee morale and motivation in the company?

Q - Were your job responsibilities characterised correctly during the interview process and orientation?

Q - Did you have clear goals and know what was expected of you in your job?

Q - Did you receive adequate feedback about your performance day-to-day and in the performance development planning process?

Q - Did you clearly understand and feel a part of the accomplishment of the company mission and goals?

Q - Describe your experience of the company’s commitment to quality and customer service.

Q - Did the management of the company care about you and help you accomplish your personal and professional development and career goals?

Q - What would you recommend to help us create a better workplace?

Q - Do the policies and procedures of the company help create a well-managed, consistent, and fair workplace in which expectations are clearly defined?

Q - Describe the qualities and characteristics of the person who is most likely to succeed in this company.

Q - What are the key qualities and skills we should seek in your replacement?

Q - Do you have any recommendations regarding our compensation, benefits and other reward and recognition efforts?

Q - What would make you consider working for this company again in the future?

Q - Would you recommend the company as a good place to work to your friends and family?

Q - Can you offer any other comments that will enable us to understand why you are leaving, how we can improve, and what we can do to become a better company?

The exit interview with a exiting employee is a fantastic opportunity to get unbiased perceptive on what is going well and what needs to be improved in the business.

Sure, you will need to filter fact from fiction with what you are you are told by exiting employees, but nonetheless, exit interviews provide a rich source of information for your organisational improvement.


Simon Ingleson

CEO/Founder @ RosterElf

Magically Simple Staff Rostering