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The exit interview


The exit interview is a traditional practice that is found in all companies and it is a very important part of a human resource management in order to follow the employee retention and satisfaction. It is strongly recommended to identify the causes that lead to the departure of an employee from an organization.

Heaving an adequate exit interview procedure will help the company understand the mistakes made in the past. It may raise a warning signal when most of the employees come with the same arguments regarding their decision of leaving the job.

What is the purpose of an exit interview?

 The discussions with former employees represent a unique chance to discover and analyze the views of those who leave, which are much more constructive and fairer than the ones actual employees give.

First of all, we have to focus on the most important aspects an exit interview are related to: discover and communicate. Both of them require a lot of time. Firstly, we have to discover the real reasons why employees want to quit the job. The employee exit interview can make a difference by changing the management behavior, bringing changes that reflect the employees’ point of view.

 What are the goals of the exit interviews?

 Effective exit interviews should be regarded as a huge opportunity to increase the company’s performance. They should help a company achieve the following goals:

  • Identify the employees’ reason for leaving;
  • Calibrate employee retention and satisfaction, and decrease turnover;
  • Receive frank and constructive feedback from the employees who leave because of management, organization culture, satisfaction, compensation, working conditions;
  • Improve employee retention and reduce turnover;
  • Create a survey in order to determinate the way in which the satisfaction affects the turnover;
  • Follow the evolution in employee exit interview gratification to measure the improvements made;
  • Give the departing employees the chance to relieve the eventual resentment or negative attitude towards the company.

Based on a survey described in his book The Seven Hidden Reasons Employees Leave, Leigh Branham identifies a discrepancy, related to the reasons for leaving a company, between what managers think and what employees actually think. 89% of the managers are convinced that the reason employees are leaving is because they want more money, and 11% of the managers believe employees leave for other reasons However, in reality, only 12% of the employees actually leave for more money, while 82% of them leave for reasons other than money.

 When is the best time to have the exit interview?

The exit interview should be scheduled before an employee leaves the job. We have to make sure that employees understand the objectives of the meeting. Opinions are divided regarding the best time for scheduling an exit interview. It can be in the last day of work or sometime earlier during the last week.


It is not easy at all for an employee to open his/her soul is front of a human resources manager/company representative in order to explain all the reasons that made him/her decide to leave the company. Because of this, it is compulsory that employees feel confident and are sure about the confidentiality of the meeting.

How should an exit interview be structured?

The structure of the exit interview is closely linked to its success. The format should generally be structured and standardized so as to have the same basic questions for all employees.

A basic outline for conducting the exit interview should include the following elements:

  • Statement of purpose;
  • Relevant background information;
  • Positive aspects of the job;
  • Negative aspects of the job;
  • Critical incidents;
  • Reasons for leaving;
  • Suggested changes;
  • Separation agreements.

The last question, but not the last one that every organization should include in the exit interview template, is: “Would you consider returning to work for the company and, if so, under what conditions?”

In order to give this process the importance it deserves, we need to come up with solutions based on the exit interviews and to try to find a remedy for the turnover process.

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