Exit interviews – “there may be gold in them thar hills!”

Exit interviews – “there may be gold in them thar hills!”

School leaders occasionally call us to discuss the merits of holding exit interviews, particularly when they’ve been asked by a departing member of staff to have one – here’s why you may consider introducing the practice of holding exit interviews at your school.


Good practice

  1. It shows the school is listening to staff
  2. Offer a face-to-face or an online exit interview to everyone, those employed on full-time, part-time and fixed-term contracts
  3. If you wish to retain a member of staff, act quickly to see if they can be persuaded to stay
  4. Ask a neutral and suitably trained line manager to conduct the interview, so the member of staff has confidence in the process
  5. Reassure the member of staff that the information acquired throughout the discussion is confidential, and explain the purpose for which it will be used
  6. To put them at ease, tell the member of staff you will be asking them a series of structured questions under headings relevant to their employment
  7. Ask the member of staff to expand on the reasons why they are leaving your school
  8. Listen, but don’t react – you may not entirely agree with the member of staff’s reasoning, but the job of the interviewer is to listen, probe and understand, not judge
  9. Be positive – tell the member of staff you value their input, their time at the school and you respect their reasons for leaving
  10. Act on exit interview evidence – feedback you choose to act on will be valued by staff that remain at the school and instil faith in the process.

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