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Exit interview: Template, Tips & Techniques

By 
Victoire Léveilley
 on 
December 11, 2023
Remote Works

What is an exit interview?

Your star employee has decided to take their talents elsewhere, leaving you (their manager or HR contact) the difficult task of waving a final goodbye. It's never easy to say goodbye, but here you are, about to conduct an exit interview.

An exit interview is a structured conversation (made easier by using an exit interview template) taking place between an employee who is leaving the organization and a representative of this organization. It can be either a manager or a member of HR. Exit interviews help the remaining team members and stakeholders to dissect the employee's departure, analyze outcomes and identify actionable insights.

Exit interviews are often seen as the end of an employee's journey with a company… But what if I told you they're the start of valuable insights fueling continuous improvement? Let's see how you can enhance this process for long-term development, especially with exit interview templates.

What is an exit interview template?

An exit interview template acts as a roadmap for the (HR) manager conducting the exit interview. It offers a set of questions to pose when an employee departs. It is typically distributed as a confidential survey directly to the departing employee. It can also be used as an agenda and filled-in during the interview.

What are the benefits of exit interviews for your business?

But, why are exit interviews so important for my business you may wonder. Exit interviews are the backstage passes to the grand finale of "work at your business". At the end of their position and with the benefit of hindsight, your leaving employee will provide you valuable insights.

Humanize the process of concluding an employment journey

Company departures shouldn't be all shaky handshakes and paperwork and saying goodbye should be more than just waving awkwardly in the hallway.

Exit interviews help humanize the departure process by leaving the floor to employees to express their feelings and provide a sense of closure.

Exit interviews indeed bring a human touch to farewells, fostering a compassionate workplace culture that values each employee's journey. They emphasize that departures are more than transactions, acknowledging the human experience within the workplace.

Strengthen your reputation

By actively seeking feedback from departing employees, your company signals that it values the opinions of its team members at every stage of the employment journey. You can only dream of such a reputation, which is bound to enhance your employer brand.

It's also important that your future ex-employee leaves the company on a positive note. This way, they'll be more likely to feed positive word-of-mouth about your company (and not just for the free coffee).

Get honest feedback

Your departing employees, no longer committed to the organization, are more likely to share candid and unfiltered feedback. Their honesty provides a depth of insight that may be tempered in ongoing employee surveys or day-to-day interactions. Hang on, your employees may surprise you…

Improve cultural cohesion

Organizing insightful exit interviews fosters a culture of transparency and collective growth by addressing departures openly.

Get global and holistic feedback

Exit interviews offer a holistic view of your employee's journey, from their initial onboarding to the last day. This comprehensive perspective allows you to identify patterns and trends that might not be apparent in more fragmented feedback sources. 

Their feedback will cover a very broad spectrum within the company, from process flaws to inconsistencies in corporate policy.

Capitalize on a person's personal experience in your company

Exit interviews are just like getting a personalized Yelp review from your soon-to-be ex-employee. This individualized perspective can highlight areas of strength and weakness that may not be apparent in more generalized feedback mechanisms.

Identify your strengths to build on them

It's not just the problems that are important. Exit interviews will also enable you to identify your organization's strengths and build on them. You'll then be able to present them with confidence at future recruitment interviews.

Improve your retention strategy

Above all, understanding the reasons why your employees leave is essential to maintaining a good company dynamic. You can even try to perform a kind of “root cause analysis” to better understand turnover.

What topics should you cover during an exit interview?

  • Basic information. Don't forget to ask your employee for basic information (arrival and departure dates, team, position, contact details, etc.);
  • Reasons for leaving;
  • Job satisfaction;
  • Workplace environment and work-life balance;
  • Internal communication;
  • Relationships within the organization. A company is above all people. Having insights into your future ex-employee's relationships is a way of guiding the company's dynamics;
  • Opportunities they feel the company could not offer;
  • Areas of improvement for your company.

Now that you understand the topics to be covered, let's take a closer look at the questions to be asked.

Top 10 Questions to Ask during an Exit Interview

  1. What are your reasons for leaving the company?
  2. What were your initial goals? Did you feel you achieved them?
  3. What are your future career plans?
  4. How did you perceive the company's culture and work environment?
  5. Were you satisfied with the relationship you had with your colleagues?
  6. In what ways did our onboarding and support strategies succeed or fail?
  7. What unforeseen challenges did you face? How were these challenges addressed?
  8. Did you feel supported by your management?
  9. Do you feel you have benefited from sufficient opportunities for development and evolution?
  10. How can the company improve the overall employee experience for future hires?

Why use an exit interview template?

Exit interview templates help you cover all topics

Using an exit interview template is a way of making sure you don't forget to ask anything and cover all topics. 

Your employee will be leaving, and you won't necessarily be able to ask them all the clarifying questions you want to after they've left the company... And it's no secret that, perhaps in the heat of the moment, you might forget to bring up important subjects if you don't use a template.

Exit interview templates allow employees to prepare

Sharing the exit interview template before the meeting is a way for the departing employee to prepare for the interview. It enables them to think things through, put their ideas in order and come up with mature and relevant ideas.

Exit interview templates maintain consistency in the process

Using an exit interview template will also help you to standardize the information collected during departures to maintain consistency. In this way, you can better compare them and get an idea of the trends and general feelings of your future ex-employees.

And like any meeting agenda, an exit interview template will make the exchanges easier and more fluid for both parties.

Your template to copy and paste

EXIT INTERVIEW QUESTIONNAIRE

Your participation in this exit interview is voluntary, and all information shared will be kept confidential, used exclusively for organizational improvement. There will be no retaliation for your feedback, and individual responses will be anonymized to respect your privacy. Thank you for your cooperation.

Personal Information:

  • Name:
  • Position:
  • Manager/Supervisor:
  • Start Date:
  • End Date:
  • Location:

1. Reasons for Leaving:

  • What prompted your decision to leave?
  • What are your future career plans?

2. Job Satisfaction:

  • How satisfied were you with your role?
  • What were your initial goals? Did you feel you achieved them?

3. Workplace Environment and Culture:

  • How did you perceive the company's culture and work environment? Please provide a short description.
  • Did you feel valued and supported?
  • Were you satisfied with the work-life balance?
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of internal communication.

4. Job specifics:

  • Did you have access to all the tools and resources needed to do the job properly?
  • What unforeseen challenges did you face? How were these challenges addressed?
  • In what ways did our onboarding and support strategies succeed or fail?

5. Relationships in the company:

  • How did you find working with your team?
  • How would you characterize your relationships with colleagues?
  • Provide feedback on your immediate supervisor/manager.
  • Did you feel supported by your management?

6. Development and Opportunities:

  • Did you feel supported in terms of training and professional development?
  • Do you feel you have benefited from sufficient opportunities for evolution?

7. Suggestions for Improvement:

  • How can the company improve the overall employee experience for future hires?
  • Any suggestions or recommendations for improving the employee experience?

Additional Comments:

  • Please provide any additional comments or insights you'd like to share.

Tips & Techniques for your exit interview

Remind the employee that the interview is optional and confidential

Begin the exit interview by reassuring the departing employee that their participation is entirely voluntary. Emphasize that their insights are valued, and they are not obligated to share anything they are uncomfortable discussing. 

Reinforcing the confidential nature of the interview encourages open and honest communication.

Conduct the interview face-to-face (in person or online)

Opt for a face-to-face approach when conducting exit interviews, whether in person or through online video platforms. This personal interaction establishes a more empathetic connection, allowing you to pick up on non-verbal cues.

Don't be afraid of video interviews: they have many advantages. One of them is that you can watch the interview several times if you record it.

Make people feel comfortable

Creating a comfortable atmosphere is essential for obtaining genuine feedback. Begin with a friendly greeting, express appreciation for the employee's contributions, and encourage them to share their thoughts. 

Use a casual and conversational tone to ease any tension. Why not start with an ice breaker to lighten the mood?

Provide context

Offer a brief overview of the purpose of the exit interview. Explain how the information gathered will be used for organizational improvement and assure the employee that their insights are crucial for the company's ongoing development. 

Providing context helps the employee understand the broader impact of their feedback.

Express gratitude

Begin and conclude the exit interview by expressing genuine gratitude for your employee's contributions to the organization. Acknowledging their efforts reinforces a positive relationship and sets a constructive tone for the discussion.

Ask for concrete examples and anecdotes

This approach helps to move beyond general statements and provides detailed insights into particular situations or issues. Concrete examples add depth to the feedback and offer actionable information for improvement.

Dig deeper when needed

Following the questions in your template is advised for standardizing the process and facilitating data comparison across interviews. Yet, if someone drops a line about being harassed at work, there may be something wrong. And you're not going to remain silent, nod and move on to the next question. You’ll have to dig deeper.

Encourage future contacts

Encouraging departing employees to stay in touch can be a valuable practice. Let them know that the door remains open for communication, even after their departure. This can foster a positive relationship, and they might feel more inclined to provide ongoing feedback or even consider returning to the organization in the future.

Take notes

Actively take notes during the exit interview to document key points, concerns, and suggestions raised by the departing employee. Note-taking demonstrates that their feedback is valued. Summaries also provide a record for the organization to refer back to when implementing improvements.

Do you find it a pain to take notes during an exit interview? Let me tell you how to use Claap to make your life easier.

Make your exit interviews effective with Claap

Our advice? You should think beyond the template to capture the insights of an exit interview and leverage video tools like Claap.

By recording the screen with Claap as departing employees share their thoughts during an online exit interview, you can capture the nuances and expressions that go beyond mere words. We're giving you all our tips for recording interviews right here.

But above all, Claap helps you keep a written record of your exchanges without any effort on your part. This may be the last time you talk to a departing employee, and you certainly don't want to spend the interview with your nose in your notes.

Claap provides you with automatic meeting notes or even detailed AI-powered summary of the key points discussed. No need to concentrate on note-taking, you'll be 100% focused on the discussion.

You will then be able to store all your exit interview meetings in one place thanks to Claap’s video wiki. Sign up and test for yourself with the 14-days free trial (no credit card required).

You’re now ready to run effective (and not weird) exit interviews thanks to our tips and techniques: it's your turn!

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