How to Properly do Exit Interview and 20 Common Questions

Muthiah Aulia is a professional SEO specialist and writer with a keen focus on digital marketing. Her writing provides insightful guidance and tailored advice designed to help companies and businesses enhance their digital presence and refine strategies for attracting top talent.

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There's a secret weapon that many companies overlook, yet it holds the key to retaining employees. Don't treat exit interviews as a chore, but instead, use it as your final chance to keep your star players in the game.

Uncover the truth about why your employees are leaving and gather valuable insights about what really goes on within the company. This information is not meant to be filed away, but shared and acted upon across the entire organization, especially with those directly impacted.

When executed properly, exit interviews can lead to continuous positive changes and improve overall employee retention. So, turn your farewell into a valuable opportunity and invest in the power of the exit interview.

What Is Exit Interview?

Have you ever wondered what makes your top talent leave the company? Do you want to prevent future departures and increase employee retention? Look no further, exit interviews are the key to unlocking the secrets of employee retention.

Exit interviews are a powerful tool that provide insight into the reasons why an employee decided to leave the company. Conducted by HR or a senior leader, but not the employee's direct manager, these confidential discussions offer a unique opportunity to understand what drives top talent to seek new opportunities.

To get the most honest and valuable insights, it's best to conduct the exit interview after a job reference has been given to the employee. And for top star talent, consider conducting an early exit interview halfway between the announcement of their departure and their actual exit. This will give them the necessary time to calm down and reflect on their decision.

To create a comfortable and relaxed environment for the exit interview, consider holding it off-site in a quiet and neutral location such as a private dining room or a peaceful cafe. This will allow the employee to feel more at ease and express their true thoughts and feelings about the company.

Keep in mind that exit interviews should be a confidential 1-on-1 session between the employee and HR or a senior leader, not a dismissal meeting with a witness. Direct or indirect supervisors are not the best person to conduct exit interviews as the employee may feel pressured and not be able to fully express themselves.

And for those who really want to dive deeper into the reasons behind an employee's departure, consider conducting a follow-up exit interview one or two months after their exit. This will give the company a chance to understand the true reasoning behind the departure and take real steps to prevent similar departures from happening in the future.

Benefits of Exit Interview

benefits of exit interview

As an essential part of the offboarding process, exit interviews can be a goldmine of information, providing deep insights into a company's cultural and structural issues. With employees often more forthcoming with their opinions and experiences, these conversations can shed light on areas that need improvement and help shape the company's future.

By offering an open, honest and transparent dialogue, exit interviews can also serve as a valuable opportunity to make a lasting impression on departing employees. With a positive experience, employees are more likely to recommend the company to others and view their time there in a more positive light. Maximize the benefits with these tips:

1. Listen More, Talk Less

Active listening is key in exit interviews. Instead of responding or defending, simply listen and absorb the employee's answers and feedback. This is your chance to gain valuable insights into the company's current state and address any issues that arise.

2. Avoid Steering The Conversation

Avoid trying to direct the conversation towards your desired topics. Instead, let the employee speak freely and follow their lead. You may be surprised by what you learn and where the conversation takes you.

3. Take Appropriate Action

Once the exit interview is complete, it's time to take action. Address the issues brought up, find solutions and make changes that will benefit both the individual and the company.

4. Share & Learn

Share the lessons learned from the exit interview with the company's leadership and find ways to implement changes that will improve the company as a whole. By turning exit interviews into a valuable learning experience, you can ensure a brighter future for both your employees and your business.

Questions of Exit Interview

Say goodbye to the guesswork and hello to valuable insights with a well-planned exit interview. Before you sit down with your departing employee, arm yourself with a list of thought-provoking questions that will help you understand the reasons behind their departure.

As you dive into the conversation, remember to listen actively and respect the employee's answers, whether they’re positive or negative. Your aim is to uncover the truth and gather information, not to judge their choices.

To help you get started, here are 20 exit interview questions that will reveal the real story:

  1. Could you share the reason behind your departure?
  2. Was there any specific reason that prompted you to leave/start looking for another job?
  3. Was there anything we can do/provide/change to make you stay?
  4. What are you looking forward to in your new job?
  5. Do you feel like your contributions were adequately recognized by the company? If not, what could have been done differently?
  6. Were you provided with the necessary tools, resources, training, and work conditions to excel in your role? If not, what was missing?
  7. Did you feel like you had a clear career trajectory with the company?
  8. Have you expressed any dissatisfaction or criticism in the past? If so, how was it addressed?
  9. Can you describe your dynamic with your team and direct manager?
  10. Did you feel supported by your team and direct manager?
  11. How do you feel about our current company’s culture?
  12. How can the company improve employee morale?
  13. What do you consider to be the best part of working with the company?
  14. And what do you think was the worst part?
  15. Would you recommend the company to your friends or colleagues? Why or why not?
  16. How can the company improve employee retention?
  17. What do you think was the best part of working with the company?
  18. What traits should the company look for when hiring your replacement?
  19. And what traits should they be cautious of?
  20. Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Feel free to pick and choose from this list, and don't forget to take note of the key takeaways from the conversation. Express your gratitude for the employee's service and time with the company, and wish them all the best in their next venture. With this information in hand, you'll be able to make meaningful changes and improve the employee experience for everyone.


As an HR professional or manager, conducting exit interviews can be a delicate balancing act. On one hand, you want to gain valuable insights into what led an employee to leave and what the company can do better. On the other hand, you want to be respectful and allow the employee to leave on a positive note. But don’t let these challenges hold you back! With the right approach, exit interviews can be a goldmine of information and an opportunity to improve your company culture and employee retention. By preparing well, asking the right questions, and listening actively, you’ll be able to extract real, meaningful feedback that will benefit everyone. So, let's make the most out of this critical conversation and take the company to new heights!

If you’re interested in more articles about how to keep employees engaged with the company, and increase their retention, read more on Talentport.

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