Exit interviews can be just as stressful as job interviews.

They are the final official conversation that takes place between an employer and employee who has decided to leave.

Being the opposite of a job interview, people are asked why they’ve decided to leave rather than why they want to join the company.

When an employee decides to leave, many employers are keen to find out why. If a company can identify the reason its best people are leaving, it can then take action to address any issues and consequently much better placed to encourage others to stay, and thereby reduce staff turnover.

This is where an exit interview comes in, it is a part of a structured process that enables companies to capture information from a departing employee. This is particularly the case for large businesses and multinationals who are always interested in understanding staff motivational issues.


What is the purpose of an exit interview?

Good employers want to improve their inhouse environment and learn how they can keep staff loyal and more engaged. To do this and also attract the best in the future, it’s important for them to have a deeper look into why an employee wants to leave their job. One way to do this is by asking questions at the exit interview which can provide them with constructive feedback on key metrics as well as staff morale and their workplace culture.

Counter offers – some businesses may also take the opportunity of a face to face meeting to make a counter offer to a productive employee they are particularly keen to retain. The aim being to entice you to remain.


When is an exit interview held?

Typically it is on the leaver’s last day, or in the days immediately following their departure.


Why are they held on the last day?
There is a feeling that employees about to depart are generally more honest than those still in their jobs. It’s felt that they are much more open to offering suggestions for improvements than those who remain in employment.


Who arranges the exit interview?
Usually the HR department will contact a leaving employee to ask if they have time for an exit interview.


Who conducts an exit interview?
The interviewee is typically your immediate manager or an experienced individual from the HR department who has good interviewing skills. Either way, it should be someone who is seen as  impartial within your company. An astute employer will collect this information, analyse it, draw conclusions and then act on what they’ve learnt i.e. they’ll try to identify if there is a common reason for staff quitting.


How many interviewers are there?
Normally there is just one interviewer.


Does every company conduct an exit interview?
No, but some make exit interviews mandatory for all leaving staff. The biggest proponents are large organisations and multinationals.


Are they confidential?
They should be. Employees must be informed how the information and answers they provide will be used and whether it will be anonymous. Every effort should be made to ensure the interview does not compromise your privacy. If you want clarification on how your data will be used, then ask.