What is an Exit Interview?

What is an Exit Interview?

What is an Exit Interview? Jonathan Poland

An exit interview is a formal meeting or conversation that takes place when an employee is leaving an organization, regardless of the reason for their departure. This could include employees who have been laid off, terminated for cause, or who have voluntarily resigned or retired. The purpose of an exit interview is to gather feedback and information from the departing employee about their experience at the organization. This feedback can be used to identify areas for improvement and make changes to better support and retain future employees. Exit interviews are typically conducted by a human resources representative or the employee’s manager. They may be conducted in person or virtually, depending on the circumstances. The following are common elements of an exit interview.

Relationship Management

Former employees are important to your reputation and maintaining a good relationship with them the primary objective of an exit interview. This includes employees who are terminated for cause. Former employees may go on to become customers, partners, regulators or media influencers who can have an significant impact on your business.


It is common to complete administrative processes as part of the exit interview. For example, communicating retirement benefits to a retiree and giving them access to a tool that they can use to administer their plans. Most exit interviews review a checklist for departing employees that features elements such as cleaning a desk out and returning assets.


Reviewing any legal agreements that will remain relevant when the employee departs such as a non-disclosure agreement.


If a departing employee remains in good standing with your organization it is common to communicate this and state that they are welcome to apply for positions with the organization again in the future.


The departing employee may be asked to complete a survey to collect data related to employee satisfaction or insights into the business.


Departing employees are no longer bound by the politics of an organization and may offer more candid feedback than current employees. Some organizations fear this feedback and prefer to collect easy to use data from a survey that doesn’t allow for controversial ideas to surface. Other organizations collect freeform feedback that allows departing employees to document concerns and recommendations they may have. Many firms that collect this information do nothing with it. However, it is possible to create a summary report for executives from these comments to surface conditions at every level of an organization that impact employee satisfaction. It is also basic due diligence for the manager conducting the exit interview to escalate any serious accusations that are made by a departing employee in the exit interview.

Learn More
Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Poland

Chief Executive Officer

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is the top administrator of an organization, responsible for its overall performance. The CEO typically…

Economic Security Jonathan Poland

Economic Security

Economic security refers to the ability of an individual or a household to meet their basic needs, such as food,…

Mass Marketing Jonathan Poland

Mass Marketing

Mass marketing, also known as mass media marketing, refers to a marketing strategy that involves using a single marketing message…

Risk Capacity Jonathan Poland

Risk Capacity

Risk capacity is the maximum level of risk that an organization or individual is able to withstand in order to…

Risk Monitoring Jonathan Poland

Risk Monitoring

Risk monitoring is the ongoing process of keeping track of risks and managing them effectively. The risk management process often…

Cost Benefit Analysis Jonathan Poland

Cost Benefit Analysis

Cost-benefit analysis (CBA) is a systematic approach to evaluating the costs and benefits of a project, program, or policy to…

What are Field Services? Jonathan Poland

What are Field Services?

Field service involves managing and deploying resources and assets at customer, public, and third-party locations, as well as providing services…

Feedback Loop Jonathan Poland

Feedback Loop

A feedback loop is a process in which the output of a system is used as input to adjust the…

Negotiation Jonathan Poland


Negotiation is a dialogue between two or more parties with the goal of reaching an agreement. It is a fundamental…

Search →
content database

Search my thinking on business, finance,
and the capital markets or start below

Buying Behavior Jonathan Poland

Buying Behavior

Buying behavior refers to the actions and decisions made by consumers when purchasing goods or services. These are relevant to…

Customer Relationships Jonathan Poland

Customer Relationships

Customer relationships refer to the interactions between a business and its potential, current, and former customers. These interactions can take…

Channel Strategy Jonathan Poland

Channel Strategy

A channel strategy refers to the plan an organization uses to reach and interact with its customers. A channel is…

Message Framing Jonathan Poland

Message Framing

Message framing is the way in which information and communications are constructed and presented. The way a message is framed…

Operating Agreement Jonathan Poland

Operating Agreement

An LLC operating agreement is a legal document that outlines the rules and procedures for a limited liability company, including…

Production Jonathan Poland


Production is the process of creating goods or services for the purpose of satisfying consumer demand. It involves a range…

Employee Development Jonathan Poland

Employee Development

Employee development is the process of providing employees with learning and experience opportunities that support their career aspirations and the…

Brand Identity Jonathan Poland

Brand Identity

Brand identity refers to the overall image and perception that a company wishes to convey to its customers. This includes…

Advertising Jonathan Poland


Advertising is a form of marketing that involves the use of paid media to promote a product, service, or idea…