How To Conduct An Employee Exit Interview

For obvious reasons, the term “exit interview” is somewhat sinister. You never know what’s going to happen once you call that person inside your cabin to conduct an exit interview. Perhaps, an angry employee might start bawling right in front of you, throw water on your face, or even threaten to pick a fight with you outside. It’s extremely important that an exit interview is conducted wisely, where you are able to receive frank feedback for organizational improvement.

Here are a handful of tips from The HR Digest on how to conduct an employee exit interview.

Don’t pull an ‘Up in the Air’

We know that videoconferencing or Skype can be a timesaving tool for interview potential employees or telecommuters. But what about terminating an employee, or discussing performance over Skype? Well, you can recruit people via Skype but don’t pull an Up in the Air when you’re terminating employees. In the movie “Up in the Air” starring George Clooney, who, in his job traveled across the United States firing people. His work life takes a turn due to the arrival of Ms. Keener who promotes a sneaky plan to cut costs by conducting terminations via videoconferencing.

As a general rule and a moral practice, don’t use videoconferencing or Skype to terminate an employee or take an exit interview. Such discussions can be emotional, passionate or misunderstand and hence should be best done in-person.


The key to conducting an effective exit interview is to create an environment of trust where the departing employee is comfortable enough to provide an honest feedback. You must encourage exiting employees to share ideas openly, criticize processes, and not chastise them for sharing their thoughts.

To do this, you must first assure that employee that the feedback they’ll provide will be aggregated along with other employee feedback and presented to the management anonymously. This is help the exiting employee to comfortable participate in the exit interview process since they know the information they laid out will remain confidential and they won’t be leaving with a less favorable impression.


Many organizations use written exit interview to leave door open to unanswered questions, misunderstandings and the dire possibility of a bitter lawsuit. Below is a list of sample exist interview questions:

  • Why have you decided to leave the company?
  • What caused you to leave the job in the first place?
  • Was a single reason responsible for your decision to leave the company?
  • What did you dislike about the company?
  • What did you like most about the company?
  • What did you dislike about the job? What would you change about your job?
  • How was your relationship with your manager?
  • What are your views about management and leadership at the company?
  • What skills did you acquire at the company?
  • Would you consider working for the company again in the future?
  • Can you offer us your feedback that will enable us to improve, and help us become a better company?

Most often, the manager conducts the exit interview. Although, in many cases, it’s also the HR manager who holds the exit interview. Answers from a departing employee to the above set of questions can help you explore and understand an employee’s view towards their job, their peers, and the management.

Anna Verasai
Anna Versai is a Team Writer at The HR Digest; she covers topics related to Recruitment, Workplace Culture, Interview Tips, Employee Benefits, HR News and HR Leadership. She also writes for Technowize, providing her views on the Upcoming Technology, Product Reviews, and the latest apps and softwares.

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