An exit interview form is the form the HR or a supervisor will use when interviewing an employee who is leaving the company.
The exit interview form contains company-specific questions to ask employees how they feel about their time at the company, their reasons for leaving, and other information HR may want to learn about the employee’s experience.
A basic exit interview template can be customized to fill any company’s needs for an exit interview form, depending on what a company wants to learn in the post-employment interview.
When To Use
Some companies may believe voluntary or amicable employee separations don’t need an exit interview form. Or they may feel that angry employees will only complain, so they don’t need to record anything they say.
However, departing employees may provide a new perspective on issues that upper management was unaware of. Using an employee exit interview form ensures that all topics the management wanted to be covered are touched on, and the employee can discuss matters thoroughly.
If an exit interview form is used, it should be used for all employee terminations to maintain consistency in exit interviews.
What To Include
The exit interview form should include the following:
- The date of the interview
- The date of the employee’s separation, if different
- The employee’s name and department
- The employee’s supervisor and title
- The reason for leaving (voluntary or involuntary)
- Employee feedback section
- Employee signature and date
- Interviewer signature and date
- HR acknowledgment (optional)
- Equipment return checklist (optional/additional sheet)
The exit interview form should state that the information is confidential and whether it will be retained in the employee’s file or HR.
Why Are Exit Interviews Important?
Exit interviews can give companies insight into how their employees feel about the company and what they can do to improve their operational practices.
Know the Reasons for Leaving
Employers may believe they know why workers are leaving. Better pay, better hours, or shorter commute are reasons usually attributed by employers. However, the real reasons may range from work-life imbalance, workplace harassment, or a change in corporate direction. Employers can learn a great deal from their departing workers and use it to keep others from leaving.
Learn What Made Them Stay
Companies also need to know the factors that made the employee stay with the company until their exit. Employees moving on to better places can still give good tips on a company’s strengths and the best aspects of the workplace.
Identify and Mitigate Risks
Employees who disclose discrimination or harassment during their exit interview may not be willing to stay, but that does not mean the management cannot remedy the situation after they leave.
By addressing the problem, HR may prevent any legal action by the departing worker or those still on the job.
5 Exit Interview Questions You Should Ask
Formulating the right questions for an exit interview can be as vital as the interview itself. Your company should follow the same systematic, consistent approach as your other established processes.
This helps ensure that the conversation is productive and beneficial for both parties and can lead to valuable insights that can shape your company’s future policies.
1. What Factors Contributed to the Employee’s Decision to Leave?
This question is essential as it helps the organization identify potential areas of improvement, be they management practices, compensation, or workplace environment.
Understanding the motivations for an employee’s departure can provide insights to reduce future turnover and improve employee satisfaction.
2. What Did the Employee Find Most Satisfying About Their Role?
Asking about the aspects of the role that the employee found most satisfying provides valuable information about the strengths of the position and the company.
This information can be used to highlight these positives when recruiting new candidates and to recognize and maintain these aspects within the company culture and management style.
3. What Did the Employee Find Least Satisfying About Their Role?
This question offers an opportunity for constructive feedback, helping the organization to understand potential shortcomings or areas of frustration.
It may reveal systemic issues or individual challenges that can be addressed to improve the work experience for current and future employees.
4. Did the Job Duties Align With the Employee’s Expectations?
Ensuring that the job description accurately reflects the role’s responsibilities is crucial.
This question can highlight discrepancies between expectations set during the hiring process and the reality of the job, helping to improve future job descriptions, onboarding processes, and overall employee satisfaction.
5. What Suggestions Does the Employee Have for Improving the Company?
This open-ended question encourages departing employees to provide ideas and suggestions that the management team might not have considered. It promotes a culture of continuous improvement and demonstrates that the company values its employees’ opinions, even as they are exiting the organization.
The insights gleaned from this question can lead to valuable organizational changes.
How to Write
Follow the below step-by-step to fill out an exit interview form:
Step 1 – Date
Enter the date of the interview.
Step 2 – Employee Information
Include the below information:
- Employee name, title, and department
- Supervisor name and title
- Last day worked (if different from the date of interview)
- Total time of service
Step 3 – Reason for Leaving
This is a checkbox and has checkboxes below, including:
- Took another position
- Home/family needs
- Travel requirements
- Lack of training
- Lack of opportunities
- Return to Study
- Dissatisfaction with the type of work
- Dissatisfaction with salary/benefits
- Dissatisfaction with working conditions
The interviewer can make additional notes alongside these pre-printed options if desired.
This checkbox has options below:
- Poor performance
- Inappropriate conduct
- Violation of company policy
If the exit interview is being conducted for a layoff, the interview should stop here.
Employees who have decided to retire can tick this box.
If the reason for separation is not provided, the interviewer can note it here. Or the employee might say, “Choose not to state.”
Step 4 – Employee Feedback
This section is the main section of the exit interview. This is where the employee may explain why they are leaving the company and offer suggestions for improvement. Write down the questions that are asked and the answers given.
Step 5 – Employee Signature
The employee should sign and date the document. If they want a copy, they should have the option to have one made.
Step 6 – HR/Supervisor Signature
The interviewer should sign and date at the time of the interview. The employee should receive assurances that nothing in the interview will be used against them unless allegations of criminal behavior are involved.
Step 7 – Equipment Return Checklist
A separate checklist should be attached to the exit interview form if the employee is returning to company property.
Companies should create exit interview forms that reflect their company’s specific needs. A downloadable exit interview form template is available in Word and PDF format.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to conduct an exit interview?
Follow these five steps to conduct an exit interview:
- Start by formulating a Formal Exit Interview Policy: Set up a policy and make sure it’s consistently applied during each termination. This ensures clarity and standardization.
- Use for Voluntary Separations: Focus on using exit interviews for voluntary separations. Involuntary terminations, such as layoffs or contract disputes, may have legal implications beyond the scope of an interview.
- Offer Interviews to All Employees: Regardless of tenure or position, from a six-week temp hire to a 30-year vice president, extend the courtesy of an exit interview to all departing employees.
- Maintain a Non-Confrontational Tone: Ensure the tone of the interview remains cordial. Since employees might have strong feelings about their departure, avoid arguments. Terminate the interview if it escalates.
- Make Interviews Optional: While offering everyone the chance to participate in an exit interview is beneficial, it should never be mandatory. Forcing participation could make employees uncomfortable and inhibit genuine feedback.
Who should conduct the exit interview?
The ideal candidate to conduct the exit interview is a representative from the Human Resources department, given their ability to ensure neutrality and maintain a non-confrontational tone.
In organizations where an HR department might not be present, the responsibility could fall onto a direct supervisor or manager.
However, irrespective of the organization’s size, it’s paramount that the person conducting the exit interview is impartial, fostering an environment that puts the departing employee at ease and encourages candid, honest responses.
When should an exit interview be conducted?
Timing is pivotal when scheduling an exit interview. To gather the most accurate and valuable feedback, it’s recommended that the exit interview be conducted within the final week of the employee’s tenure.
This timing strikes a balance between giving the employee ample time to reflect on their experience and being close enough to their departure date to capture fresh, relevant insights. This way, employees remain invested in their roles and are more open to sharing constructive feedback.
Should all departing employees be offered an exit interview?
Offering an exit interview to all departing employees, irrespective of their roles or length of service, is a best practice that every organization should adopt.
Each employee, from entry-level to top management, can provide unique insights and valuable feedback about their experiences within the company.
Although these interviews should be universally offered, respecting the individual’s choice is essential – participation in an exit interview should always be a voluntary decision, not a requirement.
What should be done with the information gathered during an exit interview?
The exit interview insights represent a valuable organizational improvement resource.
The management team should meticulously analyze this feedback to pinpoint potential areas of enhancement within the organization.
Based on this analysis, proactive steps should be taken to drive meaningful changes, fostering an improved work environment. Thus, information from exit interviews catalyzes positive transformation within the company.