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Exit Interview Template
Provide a manual, typed exit interview for the employee
by next Wednesday
Choose a template for the questionnaire
by next Thursday
Conduct the exit interview right at the very end
by next Thursday
Be receptive to the answers
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While it is not always one of the more fun aspects of business and project management, a well conducted exit interview can provide closure as well as giving vital feedback to those on each side of the table. 

Just as the process of onboarding a new employee is an important time of change, so too is it when it’s time for them to leave. Gaining information about the employee’s experience with the organization, good and bad, as well honest feedback about why they are no longer going to be working is invaluable to a business. 

Taking in feedback from each team member is vital, whether its an exit interview or a monthly check in.  With that being said, an exit interview is effectively the final one, so an exit interview tends to bring out candid feedback that is from the gut and sometimes that is exactly what you need to hear.

Providing a departing employee with the right exit forms is critical in both providing a good end to the business relationship and incurring information about the workplace from a unique point of view.

It may not be fun or easy, but it is a part of business and when done correctly and with a proper template, both parties can walk away having had the best possible experience under the circumstances.

What Is The Purpose of an Exit Interview?

When an employee’s time at a company has come to an end whether it was voluntary or involuntary, the company will prepare forms and conduct an exit interview. It is short, simple and the questions are all aimed at reasons and circumstances around leaving the company as well as a history with the company.

Hearing an honest opinion from someone who now has the perspective of no longer being with the company lets employers know what it’s really like for the employees on a day to day basis. This information also lets them know how they are perceived by their employees.

Employers can use this information to make changes if need be to affect the employees currently working for them and in it for the long haul.

Going In Prepared

Long before providing the newly ex-employee with exit forms, you’ll want to think about what you want to get out of the face to face exit interview if you are conducting it. It’s not always easy but going in prepared is not only considerate for the other party, but the best way to glean useful information.

Whether you’ll speak face to face or not, select a template that will be clear to both parties as well as geared towards information that you’d like to get out of it. 

Depending on the circumstances of the employee leaving, you may have to anticipate a bad mood or even harsh feelings.  In the event of a termination or a sudden, disgruntled quitting, this may be the case, but it shouldn’t stop you from trying to make it as pleasant as possible. 

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There are many templates, but you’ll find that most are simple. (Source)

What Can I Learn from an Exit Interview?

The reason behind the employee leaving is a valuable piece of feedback itself. Once an employee has identified why they are leaving if it is voluntary, putting focus on why that reason is during the interview will provide insight.

If they are leaving for another job, for example, put emphasis on why that job was ultimately a better match for them and what led them to make the decision to leave. You can’t guarantee they’ll be candid with you, but if you are as polite and professional as possible, it couldn’t hurt.

Find out what could have been done to keep them with your company. Maybe what they wanted was more than your project was willing to provide and that’s still the case, but maybe you’ll hear about some nice little perks that you could add to give an even better experience to the employees.

Go into the interview sticking to a template and don’t rush over choosing questions. Spend time thinking of meaningful questions that will yield answers that give you helpful information moving forward. Questions specific to their reason for leaving can offer direct and succinct answers.

If you are happy with the employee and sad to see them leave, there is no harm in leaving the door open for them to return. A common exit interview question is “would you consider returning to this company in the future?”. 

Maybe things are going a different way for them now, but in the future, they may be as welcome back as the feedback they provided.

What Steps Should You Take?

Remember when you are going into the exit interview, that just because the relationship with the company is dissolved, doesn’t mean that they are no longer useful to the organization. If done well, the exit interview should produce valuable information and be a breeze.

  1. Provide a manual, typed exit interview for the employee, while letting them know if their will also an in-person interview.  A face to face interview in addition to an exit interview form is more personal as they’re already deep in company departure paperwork.
  2. Choose a template for the questionnaire that encompasses everything from how long they’ve been there and what they liked, to why they are leaving and what changes would they suggest for the company. If the employee is leaving voluntarily and it is on good terms, leave in a question asking if they would be willing to come back if another position if one became available later on.
  3. Conduct the exit interview right at the very end. If you are only providing the employee with an offboarding booklet and questionnaire, choose one that will provide you with the most information. If proceeding to an in-person interview, decide on concise questions while sticking to the template. That will keep the interviewee comfortable while being aimed at information that would be valuable for the company to know.
  4. Be receptive to the answers you are getting and determine what their feelings towards the experience are. Think ahead that their experience could good or bad. Use a comprehensive template or plan for questions that branch off as to why it was good or bad with plenty of room for the employee to give their response.
  5. Analyze the results. Show the results to whoever may need to see it. This would include management, supervisors or anyone privy to the big picture of your organization. Let everyone take a look at what the former employee had to say and think brainstorm about what significance that information has in the company’s progress.
Plan ahead and look for templates that allow you get valuable answers. (Source)

Use What You Learned

No matter what the answers given in the exit interview are, they are valuable bits of information. Doing the right thing with that information is not only doing a service to yourself, but everybody that is currently hard at work for the organization as well as the former employee.

Use the information to improve employee training, management styles, the workplace environment and the ins and outs of everyday work. Depending on what the departing employee has to say, you may be able to identify weak points in the organization.

Provided that the interviewee is being candid in the exit interview, you can also learn how you or any upper management and supervisors are perceived around the workplace. How you or any other project managers are perceived by everyone working under you is an important factor in how they work and go about their day. Maybe some things have room to improve on the management side, and if so, an exit interview is a good way to find out.

Each and every project is made up of the good and the bad. A good and concise exit interview template can do wonders in pointing you in the direction you need to go and what needs to be done to improve performance.

Exit Interviews and New Hire Checklists

Exit interviews provide immensely valuable information on a variety of areas of a company. An employee that has been with a company for years could have seen improvements across the company. The employee will have valuable feedback on the new hire checklists and onboarding processes. Improving the process a new hire goes through will save time and money. 

The employee in the exit interview could have tips that would have made them feel more welcome during their infancy at the company. Improving the feeling of being welcome can lead to increased employee loyalty. A bad first impression can lead to a person to immediately start looking for other employment opportunities. The exit interview should have thorough questions about the process a new hire has to endure. 

Below are ways an exit interview can improve bringing on new hires:

  • The training processes could be critiqued by an employee that excelled in a role for years. 
  • The introduction of a new employee can be improved in order to make the right first impression.
  • The interview process can be modified. Applicants that could be incredible employees might find an extensive or too brief of an interview process offputting. 

Onboarding Process and Exit Interviews

The employee onboarding process at companies differs immensely depending on the role a new employee is given. The IT professional might be thrown straight into the job once they have learned the systems the company uses. A salesperson, on the other hand, might have to spend a few weeks learning a product and memorizing a sales script to make it their own. Exit interviews are going to be able to allow HR and management to improve this process by asking the following questions.

  • How welcome did you feel during your first few weeks at the company?
  • Do you feel the training was adequate? What would you change? 
  • Was management receptive to questions or did you have to figure out certain things on your own?
  • How do you feel the onboarding process should change in the future and why? 

No person can give better feedback about the employee onboarding process than a person that has worked at the company. Employees becoming productive nearly immediately helps them feel valued and secure in their job. Employees that do not feel welcome could contribute to high employee turnover which can cripple a small business in terms of cash flow. 

Process Improvement Via Exit Interviews

Certain employees will be far more vocal during an exit interview in terms of what they think can be improved. Verbalizing this while a current employee can be viewed negatively if not presented in the proper manner. Process improvement should be a constant project of a company in a number of areas/departments. A company could find out they are taking unnecessary steps to close deals or complete projects. 

Below are questions that can be asked during an exit interview to help improve processes:

  • What tools have you found that can improve productivity or eliminate steps in the workflow?
  • How do you feel communication can be further streamlined in regards to large projects?
  • What steps would you take to improve your department overall?

Process improvement will take internal knowledge of the company. Disgruntled employees can even provide incredible input whether they realize it during their rant or not. 

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