A guide for exit interviews

Exiting is a process not an event. It is important to see the exit interview as part of enabling a good transition for both the person and the organisation. An exit interview is in part a pastoral response to the one leaving, it is also an important management task which aims to minimise loss of intellectual capital and receive valuable feedback on systems that might otherwise never be received. The following are offered as indicative questions that would help an exit interview fulfil its purposes. They are not necessarily questions to ask, but questions that lie behind the interview.

  • What do we as an organisation need in order to make a good transition? to maintain and develop the work and institutional life and mission - what 'hard information; what 'soft' information? transition of relationship - good endings rituals of transition
  • What does this person need in order to make a good transition? severance process and provisions project and information handover transition in relationship rituals of transition
  • What do we not know that we do not know, but that you (the person leaving) know might be vital to our work prospering in the future? hard information (files, documents, transactions ...) soft information (relationships, human systems, networks ...)
  • What feedback would you like to give us - no matter how threatening or embarrassing - that would enable us to learn as an organisation and improve our life and mission?
  • What do you consider have been the key roles and tasks that have made up your work?
  • What do you consider have been significant impediments to your work?
  • How would you describe the role you have played in this organisation?
  • How would you describe your formal position in the organisation?
  • What changes would you like to see happen?
  • What aspects of your job description might need modifying?
  • What have been some of the surprises in your work?