4 Reasons You Must Conduct Exit Interviews - Glassdoor for Employers
Human resources leader conducting an exit interview

4 Reasons You Must Conduct Exit Interviews

Conducting exit interviews is essential to building better teams and boosting culture, which ultimately play a huge role in the overall success of your business. But as recruiters and TA experts, we’re wired to focus more on attracting talent than learning from people who leave.

When we find out an employee is out the door, it’s easy to want to divert our efforts to the new instead of excavating insight from someone who’s as good as gone. Sure, we’ve all read how it’s important to get to the bottom of why people leave, but closing a new candidate seems like a far faster path to affecting positive change at our organizations.

But recruiting replacements for lost employees isn’t easy, and it affects the bottom line:

  • Replacing a lost employee costs average of 21% of his or her salary. (1)
  • Millennial turnover costs the U.S. economy $30.5 billion annually. (2)

That’s why conducting exit interviews is so critical. Putting a strong exit interview program in place helps you improve career development practices, strengthen your culture, and uncover other key issues that may be affecting your ability to retain employees.

Here are the top 4 reasons you must conduct exit interviews:

1. Pinpoint Opportunities for Employee Development

A study from Glassdoor Economic Research found that employees are about three times more likely to leave for a new employer than to stay and move into a new role at their existing company.(3) Simply put, job title stagnation hurts employee retention. And it’s particularly important for Millennials. Exit interviews can give you valuable information to help prevent more of these motivated employees from jumping ship.

2. Get Insight Into Management Issues

Sometimes problems with management can be hard to spot, because relationships between managers and staff are so individualized. But a steady stream of exits from a particular group can be rooted in issues that aren’t revealed in other review processes. Given that half of all employees have left a job to get away from their manager at some point in their career,(4) it’s likely that you’ll find some constructive feedback for managers while conducting exit interviews.

3. Stay Up to Date with Compensation and Benefits

Compensation is a common reason that employees leave. Exit interviews will help you find out if that’s really the case, and then decide if the problem is significant enough for you to revisit your compensation strategy.

84% of employees with high benefit satisfaction report high job satisfaction. (5)

49% of employed adults in the U.S. feel they must switch companies in order to obtain any meaningful change in compensation. (6)

4. Strengthen Your Employer Brand

The act of asking departing employees for constructive feedback shows employees that you value the insight they’ve gathered in their time with you, and demonstrates your company’s interest in improving. It also allows you to gather information about branding efforts that might have fallen short, or where actions are out of alignment with stated values. You can use information about the factors they appreciated to strengthen your communication to candidates, and share with other team members as you celebrate your culture.

To get your exit interview program up and running quickly, use a thoughtful approach that easily identifies all the reasons why an employee is moving on. Glassdoor’s Effective Interview Templates provide a quick-start list of good exit interview questions. And the eBook also shares best practices for putting your program in place.

We all know that in this good economy with low unemployment rates, retaining our employees is more important than ever. And by getting those candid out-the-door answers to key questions, we can vastly improve career development practices, strengthen our company culture, and uncover other issues that may be affecting our ability to retain employees.


1. Heather Boushey and Sarah Jane Glynn (November 16, 2012). “There Are Significant Business Costs to Replacing Employees,” Center for American Progress Issue Brief.

2. Gallup, How Millennials Work and Live, May 2016

3. Glassdoor Economic Research, Why Do Workers Quit? February 2016

4. State of the American Manager, Gallup, April 2015

5. Guardian Life, Workplace Benefits Study, 2016

6. Glassdoor online survey conducted in the U.S. by Harris Poll, October 1–5, 2015