Exit Interview

Exit Interview

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Method of gathering information and knowledge from an employee leaving the company. More than a feedback tool, the exit interview can be used as a knowledge management tool to enable the valuable knowledge that the departing employee holds to be passed to the appropriate people remaining in the organization not only in terms of information but also in terms of knowledge concerning what it takes to do the job. If done in the correct way, exit interviews can be a win-win situation: the company can gather useful information and the leaver can “leaves his/her mark” in the organization. While traditional exit interviews don't need to be conducted face-to-face, knowledge-focused exit interviews require a face-to-face situation. [1]

Toolkit.png Conducting an Exit Interview

Step by Step

  1. Start planning the exit interview early (possibly, as soon as you know that a person is leaving).
  2. Consider that exit interviews are only appropriate for people who leave the company voluntary or retire. Avoid using this tool with employees who have been made redundant.
  3. Think about the information you are interested in. “Traditional” exit interview usually provide information concerning human resources; while knowledge-focused exit interviews aim to gather information related to the job the leaver was doing.
  4. Capture both explicit and tacit knowledge before the employee leaves. In the case of explicit knowledge, verify that relevant files are saved in shared folders and ask the leaver to rationalize and organize them. In the case of tacit knowledge, interview the leaver face-to-face: ask him/her which knowledge and skills the successor needs to have or to acquire.
  5. Create an overlap period between the leaver and his/her successor, whenever possible.
  6. Think about the most suitable person to be the interviewer. You need to consider the kind of information you would like to obtain from the leaver (human resources/knowledge) and trust/honesty’s issues. For instance, if the leaver has had a difficult relationship with a colleague, avoid placing him/her as interviewer.
  7. Think about introducing the 3Es Knowledge Interviews method in your company, since the less information you gather on a normal basis, the more you need to gather when an employee leaver the organization. The three Es stand for Entry, Expert and Exit: you should capture knowledge from employees when they first join the company (they have a “fresh” point of view at that moment), when they become experts in a specific field and when they leave. [2]

Job Aid

Pdf.png Conducting an Exit Interview

MATERIAL.png Additional Materials

Pdf.png How do I go about it

Pdf.png Leaving Expert Debriefing Process

Link icon.png Web Resources
Below you have a list of selected websites where you can find some interesting sample of Exit Interview questions:
Link Content
Exit interviews and knowledge transfer Sample exit interview questions and knowledge transfer questions.
Perform Exit Interviews Other sample exit interview questions.


  1. www.businessballs.com, www.daretoshare.ch www.amontis.com(10 November 2008),www.library.nhs.uk(22 May 2009)
  2. www.businessballs.com (2 September 2009), www.daretoshare.ch (2 September 2009)