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Use of Exit Interviews


We are considering the introduction of 'exit' interviews in our organisation.

What are the advantages /

Can they work successfully -how does the organisation benefit?

How do the 'leavers' feel about submitting to an exit interview. Does it have any benfit to them?

At what stage (in the last week?) are they conducted.

Is there anyone who is prepared to share with me the format they use?
Sue Shewell

7 Responses

  1. Concerning Exit Interviews
    I run the HR side of things for the group with some 30 retail sites scattered around the UK. We have used a single sheet exit interview form for about 18 months now. It contains the details of a conversation the line manager has with the departing employee prior to the departure date. It allows for an open discussion, where points may be passed on, good and bad which we may wish to make use of in the future. The line manager signs as does the employee. In signing the employee also authorises the company releasing for reference purposes the standard information on start and leave date, job role and reason for leaving.
    I have found this a useful means of monitoring from a remote point the reasons for people leaving the company. It can also be an indicator of pattern or trend where staff turnover seems excessively high.

  2. Some answers
    Hi Sue,

    I worked for a company and we implemented them to understand why there was such a high churn. I should explain that it was HR who were conducting the itnerviews.

    Advantages; Useful data to counter managers who claim they dont have a culture problem or issues of management style. Feeds into recruitment and can change policies in this regard. Takes the sting out of bitter employees who may create a bad image/rumours of your company in the wider community – especially useful if you are a major employer in an area. Ability to turn around some easily influenced/fixable leavers. May identify weak managers or contentious policies.

    Disadvantage; Managers might not like what they hear and are disinclined to believe it. They are political. Lack of management buy in (and fear) may mean staff leave before you get to speak to them. Some staff reticient to talk. They take time and the budget and may easily be pulled if justification for them is weak.

    How does the organisation benefit? They can be useful in changing cultural and poor management style issues but the organisation will only benefit if there is a willingness to acknowledge and confront these issues.

    How do the ‘leavers’ feel about submitting to an exit interview. Does it have any benfit to them? Depends on the reason for leaving and how soon you get to them. As for benefit to them I dont know I suppose it would depend on individual circumstances.

    At what stage (in the last week?) are they conducted. Cant comment it all depends at what stage the leaver is about to walk from the door and notice period.

    Good luck

  3. Point of view from the employee.
    Hi Sue,

    My comment is from the employee point of view rather than trainer.

    Having gone through a couple of those myself I think that it is fairly hard for the employee to be completely open during these interviews.

    Even if the feedback is not controversial, suggesting improvements may be rather difficult when you are talking to your Line Manager, especially if these refer to their management ability or the way they handle the department.

    I think those would be more open if this was done by the HR department rather than the line manager.

    When participating in the interview, the employee will also bear in mind that these are the people they are likely to come for references, so its unlikely they will be fully open discussing any areas of improvement.

    Finally in many sectors you find that all companies know each other, employees leave one to go to the other etc… the odds are you will be working with that person again, and then it could make it very difficult to work together. So generally people are going to be very reluctant to be fully upfront with any issues.

    Hope this helps,

    Kind Regards,


  4. exit interviews – HR point of view

    We find exit interviews extremely useful in identifying problem areas, or confirming issues which we are aware of but which employees would not necessarily be willing to discuss formally, and have found the employees to be very forthright with their answers. I believe this is partly because we give them the forms before hand to allow them to think about their answers, and partly because we (HR) do the interviews, rather than the manager with whom they may have an issue.

    Where possible we try to address any issues raised asap, if this is not possible, for example if it concerns a manager’s behaviour, we are at least made aware of the situation and can suggest training / coaching etc. Trends / issues are also raised with the operational board to make senior management aware of the issues within their divisions.

    I would be more than happy to share our form with you should you wish.

    From the leavers point of view, I have heard on more than 1 occasion that they are glad that someone has taken the time to listen to them.


  5. Exit Interview – Response
    Thank you Jennifer for offering to share your exit interview form with me. I would be very grateful if you would send me a copy.

    Sue Shewell

  6. exit interview template
    Hi Sue,

    I can’t access your e-mail address. If you contact me on [email protected] I will send you a copy of our exit interview template.

    kind regards

  7. User’s perspective
    Our Organisation runs an exit interview system, ans as a middle line manager it falls to me to conduct the interviews. I have been surprised by the positive feedback gained which I have been able to use to feedback to staff and local management group, however there is a view that the information generated is not reguarded of value by Senior management. This colours middle managers views on effectiveness (therefore effort to make it happen)
    All leavers I have asked have said yes, but some have not had interviews due to difficulty in organising. Timing has varied from last week to post departure.


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