3Es Knowledge Interviews

3Es Knowledge Interviews

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The 3Es Knowledge Interviews are defined as a knowledge management technique to broaden the process of simply gathering information from a Human Resources’ perspective when an employee leaves an organisation. The 3Es translate to Entry, Expert and Exit and aim at encapsulating a cradle-to-grave (from beginning to end of employment) interview approach. This implies that besides gathering information about why an employee has chosen to leave their position at an organisation, an effort is also made to gain an understanding of the practical requirements of fulfilling that particular role and performing associated tasks. Therefore, the core element of this method is to ensure that information about performing a job is obtained, and retained in-house, for being transmitted to new recruits or more broadly to others already serving in similar capacities at the organisation. It is also viewed as a proactive approach for determining underlying problems at an early stage or to capture development prospects at the right time. See also: Exit Interview

Toolkit.png Conducting the 3Es Knowledge Interviews


The 3Es Knowledge Interviews are conducted through three stages

1. Entry Interview

The entry interview is conducted to acquire initial insights from employees, in the form of implicit knowledge they possess, when they are new recruits. This is also the time to assist new employees by sharing information with them that they may need to become more familiar with their job setting. In this way, employees can feel professionally supported and employers learn more about their expertise, motivations and goals so as to engage them effectively in the workplace.

2. Expert Interview

The expert interview is organised with employees to obtain information once they have developed the required level of skills through on-the-job experience and can be considered proficient in their domain. Questions at this stage can relate to the professional network they have established and the methods they employ to attain their targets. Additionally, gathering information from employees once they are subject experts can prove useful for analysing general staff learning and training needs across the organisation.

3. Exit Interview

The exit interview should include questions that help in gathering concrete know-how from employees about how they performed the particular tasks assigned to them, why they handled these tasks in a certain way, and what competencies they considered essential for meeting their responsibilities. Since knowledge would have been consistently tracked through the Entry and Expert interviews, this places less pressure on collecting all the pertinent information at the final Exit interview. Attention must be paid, however, to which individuals at the organisation (e.g. HR officers, line managers or peers) are best suited to be interviewers in this context.

Points to keep in mind when planning the 3Es Knowledge Interviews

  • The organisation needs to have a knowledge sharing culture.
  • The interviews should be conducted in person.
  • Interviewers need to be appropriately trained, or external experts can be engaged, to acquire essential information from interviewees. Neutrality, honesty, empathy and subject matter understanding are essential for interviewers.
  • The interview should be conducted in a way to acquire information that is precise and practical in nature.
  • In order to make the overall process meaningful, inputs gathered should be reflected upon and, at minimum, considered for implementation. [1]

Job Aid

Pdf.png Conducting the 3Es Knowledge Interviews

Link icon.png Web Resources
Below is an additional resource specifically covering the Expert Interview:
Link Content
Expert Interviews Instead of Exit Interviews: This resource highlights the problem of brain drain in the organisational context and uses a concrete example to illustrate the utility of planning for knowledge transfer through Expert Interviews.


  1. The Employee Exit Process, Exit Interviews, The Know-How of Knowledge Interviews, Remembering Lessons Learned, The Knowledge Interview, The Entry Interview, Stopping Brain Drain in Your Organization (30 January 2012)