Mastering the Art of an Exit Interview

Mastering theExit Interview (1)

Turnover is not only challenging, it’s actually very costly!  On average, turnover costs about 20% of the Annual Salary for each person who leaves their role. That means, for a team member making $50,000 annually, the average turnover cost is $10,000 to replace that person.

One thing that can help many organizations is to take advantage of Exit Interviews. Taking an hour or two before the person leaves to get a true picture as to why they are leaving can help organizations understand what they can do different, if anything, to keep top talent. If done correctly, employees will share why they’re leaving, and give insight as to how the company can improve in unique ways that may help retain other employees.

According to SHRM’s article, “HR Magazine: Making Exit Interviews Work”, “The interviewer needn’t necessarily be an HR professional. A neutral manager or mentor the employee trusts and who has good interviewing skills could be the right choice.”

To gather the most information, plan for thoughtful and open ended questions.  Below are 20 suggestions of key questions to include in your exit interviews:

  1. Tell me about how you’ve come to decide to leave?
  2. What is your main reason for leaving?
  3. How do you feel about the organization?
  4. What has worked well for you in your time with us?
  5. What has been frustrating, difficult, or upsetting to you in your time with us?
  6. What could you have done better or more for us had we given you the opportunity?
  7. How could the organization have enabled you to make fuller use of your capabilities and potential?
  8. How well do think your training and development needs were assessed and met?
  9. How would you describe the culture or ‘feel’ of the organization?
  10. What could you say about communications and relations between departments, and how these could be improved?
  11. What can you say about the way your performance was measured, and the feedback to you of your performance results?
  12. What suggestion would you make to improve working conditions, hours, shifts, amenities, etc?
  13. What can you say about the way you were managed?… On a day to day basis?……. And on a month to month basis?
  14. How would you have changed the expectations, objectives or aims (or absence of) that were placed on you? …… And why?
  15. How could the organization reduce stress levels among employees where stress is an issue?
  16. How can the organization gather and make better use of the views and experience of its people?
  17. What can the organization do to retain its best people (and not lose any more like you)?
  18. Have you anything to say about your treatment from a discrimination or harassment perspective?
  19. Would you consider working again for us if the situation were right?
  20. If you could change anything about your job or the company, what would you change?

They key is to truly listen to the answers, but knowing the information isn’t enough, once the information is gathered, it’s important to apply the answers in a delivery system to share with key stakeholders in the company to make valuable changes to the organization to keep the turnover low.

It’s difficult to ask the questions, and even more difficult to truly listen to the answers, but if done right organizations can Master the Art of the Exit Interview and gain solid information that will help them be the employer of choice in the future!

Are you interested in learning more?  Check out these resources for more details:

Exit Interview Tips –

7 Exit Interview Questions