Exit Interviews Are The Bomb!

 In Recruit & Retain


In our last blog, we shared some guidelines to follow for conducting exit interviews but the question still remains: WHO should conduct the exit interview?

This is such an important question because if done correctly exit interviews are the bomb! So much rich information can come out into the bright light and be used to seriously impact your business for the better. If handled poorly, you’re wasting everyone’s time.


Before we go into discussing who SHOULD be conducting exit interviews, we can tell you it SHOULD NOT be:

  • The person who is firing the departing employee
  • A peer or anyone in a subordinate position to the departing employee
  • Anyone that already has a poor relationship with the departing employee
  • A person who has a bone to pick with the departing employee
  • A poor listener
  • The employee that is quick to become defensive
  • An employee who doesn’t know the relevant laws


Here are the critical factors to keep in mind when determining who should conduct exit interviews on behalf of your organization.  This should be someone:

  • That has the people skills, and will remain objective
  • Who understands how to answer company related questions around things like benefits, unemployment, Cobra, and compensation
  • Who will avoid language that might trigger discrimination charges
  • That will embrace the fact that exit interviews are the bomb and really squeeze out the best insights
  • Able to use insights to propose solutions to address any organizational or management issues

Sounds tough huh? Or like many clients tell us – “I don’t have such a person.”

Well it’s time you train 1-2 people to do this at your organization or consider using a person or service outside the company. Especially if you have concerns about confidentiality or objectivity.

A word of clarification here as well –

“Conducting” the exit interview doesn’t necessarily require a face-to-face meeting. In some situations, to make sure that your exit interviews are the bomb, consider other options. If you have a very shy or reserved employee, let them take some time alone to write out their answers to the questions on your exit interview. You can then review their responses with them adding your own notes as you probe deeper.

Many companies also mail or email an exit interview questionnaire to departed employees. This is especially prudent if the departure was difficult or unplanned. This is better than nothing, assuming that the former employee actually returns a completed form.  In any case, each time an employee departs you will absolutely have to conduct a face-to-face final meeting to go over your termination checklist.

To make sure your exit interviews are the bomb, think carefully about the questions to ask. You must vary them based on the circumstances of the departure (layoff vs firing vs resignation). In addition, include questions about how best to share or transfer the knowledge the employee has about their specific job, their connections and relationships with co-workers, vendors, and customers. There may be critical issues at stake that the departing employee needs to identify for you.

If you need help with formulating some probing questions, click below to get a FREE copy of our top 25 Exit Interview Questions and use them to create exit interviews that are the bomb.

25 Questions to Make Your Next Exit Interview the Bomb

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