The Dos and Don’ts of Exit Interviews

The Do’s and Don’ts of Exit Interviews


November 23rd, 2018 Employee Offboarding  

When one of your employees hands in a notice for greener pastures, it’s tempting to throw yourself into dealing with the problems that you are presented with as a result, such as finding their replacement and dealing with their outstanding workload. However, companies with a robust exit interview process as part of their employee offboarding are providing themselves with an excellent opportunity to take advantage of the situation to find out, not only why that person is leaving, but what the reasons can tell about the state of their organization.

Exit Interview

What’s are exit interviews?

An exit interview is a survey that takes place between an employer and an employee when the employee is leaving the company. The purpose is to find out more about the employee’s reasons for leaving, as well as open feedback about the organization. Ideally, a departing employee will be extremely honest as they don’t have anything to lose.

Conducting exit interviews the right way

It’s crucial to get the exit interview process right or there’s no point in doing it! First of all, exit interviews should be planned carefully. Consider what is the best method to carry out the interview (see below), as well as who should conduct it, as both of these factors may vary depending on the circumstances.

How to plan the exit interview

The departing employee should be given enough time to have the chance to think about their answers to the questions to ensure that you get good quality, well thought-out feedback. Privacy and confidentiality are also key – make sure that the employee feels secure and confident to express his or her views openly, without being criticized or discriminated against.

If you don’t do this, you are unlikely to get the honest feedback that forms the cornerstone of the exit interview process.

Methods of conducting an exit interview

There are a few different methods with that to conduct an exit interview; each has its advantages and disadvantages. When what method is used should be decided by each company depending on their individual situation during the offboarding.

1. On paper

The first is on paper, using an exit interview template, whereby an employee’s manager hands them the questions on a sheet of paper and asks them to fill it in and return it. This is quite a manual process and it is also difficult for the organization to track and analyze the results and any subsequent trends across the wider business.

2. Face-to-face

Another method of conducting exit interviews is face to face. This method is a great way to build rapport between the interviewer and interviewee and perhaps gain some more in-depth and valuable answers and information about the employee’s views. On the downside, much depends on the skill of the exit interviewer to get the individual to open up to them and it can also lack confidentiality and take up valuable HR manpower.

3. Interactive

Finally, many organizations use interactive, web-based exit interview software. This can be a great way to encourage individuals to give honest and direct answers to exit interview questions as they have the time and privacy to consider them. The organization can also track the results to get a handle on headline reasons for leaving across the company.

Asking the Right Questions

Asking the right questions in an exit interview makes all the difference–after all, you can only get out what you put in.

  • Questions to ask

Focus on questions relating to the reasons why the employee is leaving and what their biggest areas of satisfaction and dissatisfaction with the organization relate to. And don’t forget to ask them how they feel the business could make changes for the better–exiting staff are often more likely to give you the honest answers that current employees won’t.

  • Questions not to ask

And what about what not to ask? Questions about office gossip are a no-go, as are personal questions about the employee’s relationship with particular colleagues or managers. Remember not to use leading questions if you want to get impartial and honest answers in return.

Automating exit interviews using Kissflow HR Cloud

Kissflow HR Cloud offers organizations an innovative and effective way to automate their exit interview process using the latest exit interview software. Your company can create its very own exit interview template to digitally send to leavers to complete in private, with questions designed to get to the root of their reasons for leaving and to dig out their honest and constructive feedback about their department, workload, manager and more.

Through the use of checkboxes and drop-down lists, the HR team can quickly and easily manipulate and analyze the data to get real insights into the key trends relating to reasons for leaving and other employee feedback about the organization.


While no business yearns after a high employee turnover rate, using exit interviews to find out the reasons behind the resignations can be a savvy way not just to reduce your turnover but to improve your existing employee satisfaction and motivation too. Try Kissflow HR Cloud which lets you automate your offboarding and exit interview process in minutes.

Kissflow HR Cloud