Exit interview templates: definition, examples and design
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated 21 November 2022 | Published 30 November 2021
Updated 21 November 2022
Published 30 November 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
An exit interview template helps management stay focused when conducting exit interviews and gain useful feedback from former employees. Human resources professionals usually design and administer these forms for employees who resign, retire or leave for any other reason. Exit interviews are becoming commonplace among businesses, so it's important that managers know how to prepare for them. In this article, we discuss what an exit interview template is, why they're useful and outline how to design one.
What is an exit interview template?
An exit interview template serves as a guide for HR management on what questions to ask when an employee leaves the company. These templates are usually given directly to the employee as a confidential survey. The exit survey includes questions that allow managers to gather information about the employee's experience working with the company. Some question topics include:
reasons for leaving
If the company has an on-the-job training programme, you can also ask questions that help determine whether the employee felt that the company prepared them for their duties. The information you gather from an exit interview form helps identify problem areas and improve them accordingly.
Why use these templates?
Employee exit interview forms give employees the opportunity to give honest answers in writing, that they may not feel comfortable saying to HR representatives. These honest answers can help the company create a more positive work environment and increase employee retention. Other reasons why management teams use employee exit interview forms include:
They help with consistency: Interview templates ensure that managers ask employees identical questions. This means you can more adequately identify any patterns in the information you gather and sets a standard for your interview policy.
They cover all bases: HR representatives can design templates that cover all relevant topics and ask the right questions. They determine what knowledge a departing employee can provide that's useful for improvements.
They ensure conversations remain productive: When in an interview, employees and HR representatives can sometimes get distracted and go off-topic. An exit interview form ensures that both parties stay focused and that the conversation always reverts to important topics.
How to design an exit interview form
These interview templates usually consist of open-ended questions that prompt discussion and lengthy responses from employees. HR representatives can make the decision of whether to ask exit interview questions verbally or allow the employee to fill out the template as a survey. Follow these steps to ensure your exit interview form asks the right questions and serves the interests of your company:
1. Gather basic information
Start off your exit interview form by asking employees to write down basic information about themselves and their position in the company. This information may include:
employment start and end date
This information allows you to consult the template later on and call upon specific supervisors or departments that require development or that can provide more information.
2. Assess training and onboarding experience
Many companies have an onboarding process that trains employees and ensures they feel confident in their new role. Ask questions that determine whether the employee had sufficient access to equipment and about their experiences when first employed. The answers are essential for increasing the productivity levels of current and future employees by improving training procedures. For example, if an employee reports that they felt unprepared to manage IT equipment or software, then focus your efforts on re-developing this element of the onboarding process.
3. Evaluate workplace culture and climate
Company culture and climate are important factors as they ensure employees work in a positive environment, which can impact their overall job satisfaction. If your company has several departments, it can be difficult to be aware of all of them and ensure you maintain company culture. Knowing how an employee felt in their particular role provides you with a new perspective that could help retain employees in future.
Related: How to give constructive criticism
4. Ask about the employee's decision to leave
It's important to address whether the departing employee is leaving due to work-related problems. Sometimes, an employee leaves their position due to circumstances beyond their control, including relocation or family circumstances. It's crucial that you approach this topic gently and remember that an employee may not want to disclose information regarding their personal life. Make sure questions give you enough information to determine whether the issue is work-related and what their primary concerns were, without asking too much about the employee's private affairs.
5. Identify any communication gaps
If you find out that the departing employee's decision to leave the company is work-related, you can explore the circumstances further to overcome any communication gaps. You don't want to consult the wrong department or assume that problem relates to a negative work experience. For example, the issue could simply be that the employee didn't feel challenged enough in their role or that there wasn't enough opportunity to progress in their career. Therefore, be sure to address any work-related problems directly and without assumptions.
If the problem relates to a specific colleague or supervisor, find out if these concerns have come up before. This information can help the company foster a more communicative environment in future.
Related: How to write a resignation letter
6. Ask for personal opinions
Sometimes, an employee who has considerable experience working within a specific department can provide valuable advice regarding potential improvements. Ask the employee what improvements they recommend for the company and what they would like to see in the future. This is also the point where you can ask other opinion-based questions.
For example, ask if there's anything management could have done to make the employee stay or whether they would consider working for the company again in future. These questions allow you to understand how positively the employee feels about their experiences at the company and determine whether fundamental changes might be beneficial.
7. Ask for honesty
Many HR representatives choose to present interview exit questions in the form of a survey so that employees are more inclined to speak openly about their experiences. This is because feedback is only valuable when it's honest and where the employee explains their negative experiences. Positive reflection helps to determine what the company is doing well but doesn't always help it grow. To encourage an honest evaluation, be sure to:
outline the purpose of the form
reassure the employee that feedback is confidential and anonymous
express the importance of honesty rather than complimentary remarks
explain who has access to the form and why
Employee exit interview template
Employee start and end date:
Please help us determine whether our onboarding processes prepared you for your role and allowed you to carry out your responsibilities proficiently. Please review the following statements and rate their accuracy using a scale of 1 to 10. 1 means that the statement isn't accurate at all, whilst 10 means that it is highly accurate:
The job specification provided upon entering the role was comprehensive and relevant to your position.
The onboarding training was useful and ensured that you understood your duties and could fulfil them properly.
You had all the tools and equipment necessary to carry out your role.
There was an adequate number of training courses provided to prepare you for your role.
There was always someone you could communicate with for help or support throughout your time at the company.
Culture and Community
Please answer these questions to further our understanding of culture and community within the workplace across various departments. The following questions require yes or no answers, but feel free to elaborate where you feel it's necessary:
Did your team or department make you feel welcomed?
Did you feel supported in your role by supervisors and colleagues?
Did you feel uncomfortable or unsafe at any point in the workplace?
Did you feel comfortable expressing concerns or questions?
Did you feel happy coming to work each day?
Reason for Departure
Elaborate on your answers in this section where you feel necessary. Please note that you are not required to note down any personal information that you don't feel comfortable sharing:
Was your reason for resignation personal?
If not, was your reason for leaving work-related? Please elaborate on this.
Did you feel recognised for your contributions to the company?
Did you feel that your salary was reasonable for your workload and job title?
Were you recruited for a new job? If so, in what way does that job offer suit your needs better?
Did you communicate any concerns, if any, regarding your role to a peer or supervisor? If so, who did you communicate with, and how did they help?
Is there anything that our company could have done to avoid this departure?
Would you be willing to return to our company in the future?
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