Exit Interviews

Exit interviews – conducted one-on-one with a departing employee – can be a valuable source of information about what’s working well and what could be improved within an organization or department. While you’re hopefully touching base regularly with staff members for their feedback throughout their employment, departing employees often have a particularly useful (and candid) perspective – and this may be your last chance to hear it!

Tips for Effective Exit Interviews

  • Since exit interviews are only valuable if staff members speak candidly, make sure you create a comfortable environment for them to do just that. You might consider going out of the office to talk over coffee or a drink.
  • Consider having someone one level above the departing employee’s manager conduct the exit interview. The direct manager should (theoretically!) already be familiar with the staff member’s perspective, whereas it might provide fresh information a level (or more) upward. Additionally, staff members with concerns about a manager may not feel as comfortable sharing them with the manager herself.

Suggested Exit Interview Questions

  • What could we do to make this position work even better?
  • Looking at our team or the organization as a whole, what would you recommend to help us do our work more effectively?
  • Do you believe that our organization values diversity in its staff?
  • What should I know about our team that I don’t?
  • What should I do better as a manager?  / What should your manager do better?
  • How would you rate your comfort level in approaching your manager with a concern?
  • Do you feel that we foster an environment where people of any background can succeed and grow into leadership roles?
  • What do you wish you knew when you first started this role?
  • Any other lessons learned that you’d want to convey to person who will be filling this role next?
  • For top performers:  What could we have done to convince you to stay?
  • Anything else you’d like to share?