Is there value in an exit interview?

Is there value in an exit interview?


One of my staff members has resigned and I’ll be conducting the exit interview. What sort of questions should I ask?

Staff turnover is one of the most significant HR costs in any business – both in terms of replacing the candidate and the loss of that person’s skills and knowledge.

It is for these reasons that employers are continually looking for ways to improve recruitment and retention to minimise staff turnover.

You need to know what your staff need and want from the employment relationship – and how they think of and compare you to competitor employers. This will help you improve your recruitment and retention strategy.

Conducting a strategically-designed and well-executed exit interview with departing employees can reveal vulnerabilities, deficiencies, and threats within your business and industry that can advise on required organisational, structural, operational and compensation changes.

To be of true value, this information needs to be collected over time, allowing for the identification of patterns or trends that point to objective, rather than subjective context. The interviews also need to follow a strict professional format and schedule to ensure consistency and integrity in the data collection process.

Topics to cover

Topics that should be covered in the exit interview include:

  • Reason/s for leaving
  • Levels of satisfaction or dissatisfaction with various aspects of his or her employment experience including nature of the job, working relationships, management, pay and benefits, policies and procedures, training, recognition, opportunity for growth etc.
  • Suggestions for change and or improvements,
  • Advice on what skills and qualities are needed in his or her replacement and
  • If the opportunity presents itself and if the company is interested in keeping the employ of the person, negotiation on how his or her decision can be reversed.

To further eliminate any concerns of confidentiality and anonymity, partnering with a third party facilitator is advisable, especially in companies without a dedicated HR department or objective HR professional.

Kay Vittee
Kay Vittee is the CEO of Quest Staffing Solutions Quest Staffing Solutions and previously she worked at Absa. Vittee is a superb business leader who inspires her organisation to live the essence of superior customer service. Clients trust her judgement and will continue to include her in driving quality solutions for their businesses.