HR Advice

How to Conduct a Successful Exit Interview

Jeffrey Fermin
Jeffrey Fermin
March 9, 2023
8 Min Read
How to Conduct a Successful Exit Interview

Exit interviews are an essential tool for organizations to gather feedback from departing employees. They provide valuable insights into the reasons why employees are leaving and can help organizations improve their retention strategies.

In this blog, we will explore the purpose and importance of conducting exit interviews, including how they can help organizations identify and address systemic issues, improve employee satisfaction, and ultimately, enhance their overall performance.

We will also discuss some best practices for conducting successful exit interviews and using the information gathered to make positive changes within the organization. Whether you are an HR professional or a business owner, understanding the benefits of exit interviews is crucial for building a productive and engaged workforce. So, let's dive in!

What is an exit interview?

An exit interview is a structured conversation between an employer and a departing employee, usually conducted by a member of the HR team. The purpose of an exit interview is to gather feedback and insights from the employee about their experience working for the organization, the reasons why they are leaving, and any suggestions they may have for improving the workplace.

During the exit interview, the employer will ask a series of questions designed to elicit honest and constructive feedback from the departing employee.

Topics covered may include the employee's job duties, working conditions, supervisor relationships, team dynamics, training and development opportunities, and overall job satisfaction. The information gathered during the exit interview can help the organization identify areas for improvement, address any systemic issues, and enhance their overall performance.

Why are exit interviews important?

Exit interviews are crucial for organizations to gain insights into why employees leave, what could be improved, and what can be done to retain the remaining workforce. These interviews provide an opportunity to gather valuable feedback from employees who are leaving the organization, which can help identify patterns and trends that need to be addressed to improve retention rates.

By analyzing the feedback collected from exit interviews, organizations can identify areas for improvement in their culture, leadership, compensation, and other aspects of their work environment.

This information can be used to create actionable plans to address the issues raised and improve overall employee satisfaction. It also allows organizations to make necessary changes to their policies and procedures, which can result in higher retention rates, improved morale, and increased productivity.

Furthermore, exit interviews can help organizations identify strengths in their culture and leadership, which can be leveraged to attract and retain top talent. By showcasing these strengths, organizations can differentiate themselves from competitors and establish themselves as an employer of choice in their industry. Overall, exit interviews provide a valuable opportunity for organizations to learn from departing employees, improve their culture and policies, and retain their most valuable asset – their workforce.

8 quick tips for conducting a successful exit interview

By following these tips, you can conduct a successful exit interview that provides valuable insights for your organization and leaves the departing employee feeling heard and valued.

  1. Schedule the interview in advance: Schedule the interview in advance and allow the employee enough time to prepare for the conversation.
  2. Choose the right interviewer: Choose an interviewer who is skilled in active listening and can create a comfortable and non-threatening environment for the employee.
  3. Explain the purpose of the interview: Explain the purpose of the interview and assure the employee that their feedback will be kept confidential.
  4. Use open-ended questions: Use open-ended questions that allow the employee to express their thoughts and feelings in their own words. Avoid leading or biased questions.
  5. Listen actively: Listen actively to what the employee is saying and ask follow-up questions to clarify or expand on their responses.
  6. Avoid defensiveness: Avoid becoming defensive or dismissive of the employee's feedback, even if it is negative.
  7. Take notes: Take detailed notes during the interview and summarize the key points at the end to ensure that you have a clear understanding of the employee's feedback.
  8. Follow up: Follow up with the employee after the interview to thank them for their feedback and provide an update on any actions taken in response to their feedback.

20 examples of questions to ask during exit interviews as a manager

These questions are open-ended and allow employees to provide honest feedback about their experience working at the company. They can help identify areas of improvement and provide insight into the employee's perspective on the company's culture, management style, and overall work environment.

Here are 20 different questions to ask in an exit interview as a manager:

  1. What prompted your decision to leave the company?
  2. What did you enjoy most about working for the company?
  3. What did you find most challenging about your role or working for the company?
  4. How would you describe the company culture?
  5. Were there any company policies or practices that you felt were unfair or ineffective?
  6. Did you feel that your supervisor provided sufficient guidance and support?
  7. Was there anything that the company could have done to encourage you to stay?
  8. Were there any particular team members or colleagues who were especially helpful or challenging to work with?
  9. Were there any training or development opportunities that you wished you had access to?
  10. Did you feel that you had opportunities to grow and develop within the company?
  11. Was there anything that the company could have done to improve work-life balance?
  12. Were you satisfied with the compensation and benefits provided by the company?
  13. Did you feel that you were recognized and appreciated for your contributions to the company?
  14. Was there anything about your role or the company that you would have changed?
  15. Did you feel that your work was aligned with the company's mission and values?
  16. What suggestions do you have for improving the employee experience at the company?
  17. Did you feel that your feedback was heard and acted upon by management?
  18. Was there anything that the company could have done to better support your success?
  19. What do you think are the strengths and weaknesses of the company?
  20. Is there anything else that you would like to share about your experience working for the company?

How to use information from exit interviews

Organizations can use the information gathered from exit interviews in a variety of ways to improve their operations and retention rates. Here are some ways to use the information:

  • Identify patterns and trends: By analyzing feedback from multiple exit interviews, organizations can identify patterns and trends that need to be addressed. These may include issues with leadership, culture, compensation, or career development opportunities.
  • Address specific concerns: Organizations can use the information gathered to address specific concerns raised by departing employees. For example, if multiple employees express dissatisfaction with their compensation, the organization may need to adjust their pay scales or benefits package.
  • Make necessary changes: The feedback collected from exit interviews can be used to make necessary changes to organizational policies, procedures, and practices. This can include changes to training and development programs, performance review processes, or communication protocols.
  • Improve retention strategies: The information gathered from exit interviews can be used to improve retention strategies. By addressing issues raised by departing employees, organizations can make improvements to their culture, leadership, and overall work environment, which can lead to higher retention rates.
  • Track progress: Organizations can use the information gathered from exit interviews to track progress over time. By regularly reviewing feedback from departing employees, organizations can measure the effectiveness of their retention strategies and identify areas for ongoing improvement.

In summary, organizations can use the information gathered from exit interviews to make positive changes that improve retention rates, address specific concerns raised by departing employees, and enhance overall organizational performance.

Exit interviews dos and don'ts

Here are some exit interview dos and don'ts for managers:


  • Treat the departing employee with respect and professionalism.
  • Explain the purpose of the exit interview and make sure the employee understands that their feedback will be taken seriously.
  • Listen carefully to the employee's feedback and take notes.
  • Ask open-ended questions that allow the employee to express their thoughts and opinions freely.
  • Thank the employee for their contributions to the company and for taking the time to participate in the exit interview.
  • Use the feedback to improve the company's culture, policies, and practices.


  • Become defensive or argumentative when receiving negative feedback.
  • Interrupt the employee while they are speaking.
  • Pressure the employee to provide positive feedback or give certain answers.
  • Make promises that you cannot keep or do not intend to keep.
  • Share confidential information about other employees or the company with the departing employee.
  • Confront the employee about any negative feedback they provide.

By following these dos and don'ts, managers can conduct effective and productive exit interviews that provide valuable feedback for improving the company's operations and retention rates while maintaining a positive relationship with the departing employee.

How to handle the employee leaving as a manager

When an employee decides to leave a company, it can be a difficult and emotional time for both the employee and the manager. It's important for the manager to handle the situation with professionalism and empathy to ensure a smooth transition for everyone involved.

Firstly, it's important to respect the employee's decision to leave and to express gratitude for their contributions to the company. The manager should ensure that the departing employee feels valued and appreciated for their work, and should offer support as needed during the transition process.

Next, the manager should work with the employee to plan for their departure. This may include discussing their last day, transitioning their responsibilities to other employees, and ensuring that all necessary paperwork and documentation is completed. The manager should also consider how the departure will affect the rest of the team and plan for any necessary adjustments or replacements.

Throughout the process, it's important for the manager to maintain open and honest communication with the departing employee. This can help to ensure that the employee leaves on good terms with the company, and may even lead to future opportunities for collaboration or rehiring. By handling the situation with professionalism and empathy, managers can help to ensure a positive outcome for everyone involved.

Using AllVoices to address employee turnover

AllVoices is a powerful tool that can help companies address employee turnover by allowing employees to anonymously report any concerns or issues they may have. By addressing these concerns proactively, companies can improve employee retention and create a more positive workplace culture.

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