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What is an Exit interview?

The Exit interview is considered to be a one of the most important HR Process and it is the most practical way to get the valuable feedback from the employee about your organization culture, policies and procedures.  The employee, who is leaving could be the best person to tell the insights on the company’s strengths and weaknesses, as perceived by the employee during his/her stay within the organization.

It is important that all the Firms should make adequate use of an exit interview and analyze the issues addressed by the workers.   It further can be very helpful in enhancing the satisfaction level of existing employees and also helps HRM of an organization to understand its uses and its effectiveness.

Exit interview (EI) can be in the form of face to face interview, surveys, and questionnaire and so on. It is important that data from employees who are leaving should be valid and reliable. Sometimes, the collected data from an exit interview may lack quality. It can be due to lack of forthrightness by the former employees who may not criticize their seniors.

Exit Interview Meaning

An exit interview is held with an employee who is leaving the organization. The exit interview is held to discuss the employee reasons for leaving the organization. The information given by the employee is used to improve the organization work culture.

Exit interview is a useful tool with the firms and organizations that can provide an insight into perception of employees in the working of an organization. It helps to find out the reasons for employee dissatisfaction with the company. The company can be enlightened about problems and issues faced by the employees who previously worked in the company. If the organization works for the enhancement of employee well-being, Exit interview also help in retaining the most talented and skilled people.

Exit Interview Definition

An exit interview can be defined as “Last official Discussion” is held with an outgoing employee who has already resigned and about to leave the organization.  It is an open discussion forum that allow an outgoing employee to share his/her reasons for leaving the organization and also share is views upon the experience he/she had during the course of working within the organization.  As it an exit interview means that he can suggest HR or can pass his/her honest feedback about the working process, organization culture, HR policies and Procedures or anything which he/she feel that should be communicated. 

The Human Resource Department can see and compile such views/suggestion and can use  as feedback which ultimately helps in building better policies and procedures and also enhance the organization culture. An Exit interview process is one of the most important process in HRM, it generally happens one or two day before or last day of working of the employee. The Goal of an exit interview is to build a reputation of the organization and seek respect of from the departing employee and not being too negative about the company and ensure for keeping the doors open for future relationship and return.

Exit Interview Definition by Experts

Heathfield, (2019) sees an exit interview as a meeting with a terminating employee that is generally conducted by a human resources staff member.

Muller (2020) sees exit interviews as offering a deeper look at the workplace’s culture, day-to-day processes, management solutions and employee morale. Exit interview could be used to identify opportunities to improve retention and engagement.

Boogaard (2020) states that it is a way of collecting data and getting insights needed to create a more positive environment and also protect your organization from unnecessary risks. Exit interviews are a way of obtaining frank and honest feedback from a terminating employee.

Spain &Groysberg (2016) advice that exit interviews should not focus on salaries and benefits only because there could be underlying issues related to the Human Resource practices that can propel the mass exodus of employees

Simpson (2020) begs for respect on the part of the terminating employee by avoiding being too negative, too personal and not close doors for future relationships.

Bhasin (2019) believes that although the benefits are high, exit interviews can be problematic especially if not properly handled

What is Exit interview in HRM?

Exit interview in HRM is a process of obtaining honest feedback from the employee who is leaving the organization. The exit interview helps to know the organization what all things can be improved so that there is employee retention.

Exit interview Process?

An exit interview is a conclusive sit down interaction or meeting between the employee who has resigned and decided to leave the organization the Human Resource Manager or somebody who is authorized by the management to compile data of the useful and unbiased feedback and opinion to improve the future Management practices for Hiring and Retaining Talent.  The exit interview process of an employee can be shown in a flow chart format:

Exit Interview Process

Many organizations use the facility of software available that creates a digital checklist that helps to keep all processes organized.

Purpose of Exit interview?

The real purpose of Exit interview is to compile the feedback data and use this all in setting up best Human Resource Practices and create a benchmark for the organization.  The employees in an organization still opt for leaving the company even if the organization may have the best policies and procedures to meet the needs and welfare of the employees. There is always a scope of improvement and that is why the exit interviews play an important role.  

The idea of exit interview is to provide an opportunity to the organization and to the outgoing employee who got the zero accountability to tender his /her correct opinion about the various processes running within the organization to find out what is going right in favor of the company and what is not.  The following are the purpose of the exit interview:

  1. Obtain Employee Honest and Constructive Feedback – it is obvious that the employee exiting from the organization has nothing to lose therefore it is time to obtain employees Honest feedback about the strength and weakness of the company and its processes. The exit interview is a process to compile the data of feedback.
  2. Employee Opinion about the organization culture, policies and procedures – The exit interview is the right platform where an organization can gather the right opinion of the outgoing employee that what he/she is opinion about the culture of the organization and its policy and procedures, whether the employee really support this all or needs to address the issues which actually is one of the issue of an employee decided to leave the organization.
  3. Management and its effectiveness – The exit interview give freedom to evaluate the management and the direct Manager decisions and its effectiveness.  It is hard but to accept that sometime Leadership capabilities and its decision directly or indirectly affects the employee’s performance and the entire work environment.  Exit interview is an opportunity to collect opinion and feedback of an employee about the Management and its effectiveness not  only in performance management but also in motivating and connecting employees with the organization. These kinds of data later help building a better work culture within the organization.
  4. Employer Branding – It is right time to build a positive employer brand image, listen to the employee and encourage him/her to share the problems they have faced and be sympathetic  towards him/her and assure to take action to improve. Employee will be happy to note their grievances are being addressed and opinions are given value and by this way employee will talk good about the company not only within the company but in public also. The word of mouth branding is going to make the employer brand stronger and popular.
  5. Complete the paper work and recover the company belongings - one can use this time for completing all the paper-work such as signing up nondisclosure agreement as an employee know all the important secret of the organization also get all the tax and other related document signed. Retrieve all the company belongings such as phone, computer, bags, security access cards, or the company’s uniform etc.  Also clear off company account and reimbursement.
  6. Communication Gap:  Sometimes often seen that the real message from management does not reach as it was, the objective of the decision sometime loses its value effect just because of Gap in communication which ultimately make the employee unhappy and make them rebel.  It is a time to understand that there no such Gap existing within the organization.
  7. Salary and Perks – The pay package is something which always been a prime concern for any employee therefore it is very important to find out from the out-going employee whether he/she has  any issue of concern of Salary and wages, perks and benefits.  Most of the cases, where talent  have this feeling that they are being underpaid or not being offered reasonable perks and benefits then effects the employee loyalty and found less committed towards organization. These reward and recognition issues directly affect the performance and lately become the reason for leaving the job. The purpose of Exit interview is to find out the exact reason so that the management can work upon areas and retain the valuable talent.

Tips for Exit Interview:

Some tips for conducting exit interview are:

  • A person leaving the organization should not exaggerate experience or sentiments and should stay calm.
  • Feedback should be given in an Honest and professional way even if the feedback is negative.
  • Actionable solution should be given by the employee so that the employer can improve upon the same. For example if proper training is not imparted the employee should say the same so that training may be provided to future employees joining the organization.
  • Should speak in a straightforward manner.
  • Set some time in advance to think back on your experience.
  • Should be professional and should avoid using unpleasant or abusive language.
  • Consider the things you would change if you started this job tomorrow.
  • A person leaving should be positive and friendly during an exit interview.

The Exit Interview checklist may contain the following:

  • Introductory steps like recording a resignation letter and sending it to the human resource department for further processing.
  • The next step is to terminate any online access of the company’s data to employees.
  • Any company property that the employee has should be handed over to the employers.
  • The status of employee benefits should be monitored.
  • Then the final payment is made to the employee
  • Conducting of exit interview

What kind of Question can be asked in an Exit interview?

  • Questions can be related to workload that the employee had.
  • There can be questions relating to stress and job satisfaction.
  • The employee could be asked about the work environment.
  • There could be questions on the salary and expectations.
  • The employee can rate the working in the organization on different parameters.

Common Exit interview questionnaires:

  1. Why do you decided to leave our organization?
  2. What do you think is the best thing in our organization that you enjoyed the most?
  3. Would you like to stay with us if we can match-up your new offer?
  4. What was your entire experience with us?
  5. Would you like to recommend any of your friend or a reference to join us? Yes/ in case of No then why?
  6. What suggestion do you have for us as an organization? 
  7. Was the management supportive during your stay with the organization?
  8. Have your enjoyed the challenging / work or project opportunities given?
  9. What are your opinion / suggestions on any of HR policies and procedures or the systems within the organization?
  10. Would do you suggest any Change in our system, policy and procedures.
  11. Were the Management asked to share your views and ideas to contribute in any of the processes?
  12. Do you get enough opportunities for training and development on the job?
  13. Have you noticed any communication gaps with your seniors or top management?
  14. Were you been guided by your seniors time to time about enhancement of your job role and Performance?
  15. If the opportunity provided, what is most important one thing that you would like to change here in this organization?
  16. Would you like to share your final feedback/ comments or inputs for us before you leave this organization?




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