Exit interview

Exit interview

What is an exit interview?

An exit interview is a structured and formal conversation or interview conducted by an organization with an employee who is leaving the company, either voluntarily or involuntarily. 

What is the purpose of an exit interview?

In the Indian corporate scenario, exit interviews serve multiple purposes:

Feedback mechanism

It provides a platform for the departing employee to offer candid feedback about their experience within the organization, including work culture, management practices, and policies.

Retention strategy

In some cases, the exit interview may reveal problems or challenges that, if addressed, could help in retaining talent. In competitive markets like India, employee retention is often a high priority.

Process improvement

The interview can identify gaps in existing processes, from induction to training, or even in day-to-day operations. This is particularly useful in India’s fast-paced business environment, which is often subject to rapid change.

Risk mitigation

Exit interviews can also help in uncovering any unethical behavior or compliance issues that may need to be addressed urgently, providing an opportunity to mitigate risks.

Knowledge transfer

The departing employee might offer insights into pending projects, client relationships, or internal dynamics that can be useful for the team taking over their responsibilities.

How to conduct an exit interview?


The HR representative should prepare by reviewing the employee’s history, performance reviews, and any previous feedback.


Choose a neutral and private setting to ensure that the employee feels comfortable sharing honest feedback. In the Indian context, this is crucial, as people may otherwise be hesitant to speak openly due to concerns about future references or societal stigmas about job-changing.


Schedule the exit interview well before the employee’s last day so that there is time to act upon any urgent matters.


It is standard to record the conversation (with the consent of the employee) or to take detailed notes for future analysis and action.

Open-ended questions

Use a mix of open-ended and closed-ended questions to allow for detailed responses as well as specific data collection.

Be neutral and objective

The HR representative should strive to be impartial, encouraging honest and constructive feedback.


Assure the departing employee that their feedback will be kept confidential to the extent possible, and explain how the data will be used. This is particularly important in India, where personal relationships can often influence professional ones.


Based on the insights gained from the exit interview, the HR team should discuss potential changes or interventions that may be necessary.

Data analysis

If possible, aggregate the data from multiple exit interviews to identify patterns or trends that could be indicative of larger organizational issues.


Thank the employee for their time and contributions to the organization. In many Indian companies, it is customary to offer a small parting gift or memento as a token of appreciation.

Questions for exit interview to ask employees

Here are some common questions you can ask your employees during an exit interview:

  • Why are you leaving the organization?
  • What was the most satisfying aspect of your job?
  • Were there any challenges you faced that you'd like to share?
  • How would you describe the work culture here?
  • Did you feel you had the tools and resources to perform your job effectively?
  • How was your relationship with your team and manager?
  • Were there clear growth and development opportunities for you here?
  • Would you consider returning to this company in the future?
  • Is there anything the organization could have done to encourage you to stay?
  • Do you have any suggestions for improving the company’s policies or working conditions?

Exit interview form

here's a sample exit interview form that you can use as a template. Remember to customize it to your organization's specific needs and policies

Exit interview form

Best practices of exit interview for HRs to follow

Here are some best practices for conducting exit interviews:

Plan Ahead

Schedule the exit interview in advance, ideally a few days before the employee's departure, to ensure ample time for preparation.

Use a Neutral Setting

Choose a private and neutral location for the interview to make the departing employee feel comfortable sharing their thoughts openly.

Explain the Purpose

Clearly communicate the purpose of the exit interview to the departing employee, emphasizing that their feedback is valuable for the organization's improvement.

Ensure Confidentiality

Assure the employee that their responses will be kept confidential to the extent possible. This helps build trust and encourages honesty.

Select an Objective Interviewer

Designate an HR representative or manager who is trained in conducting exit interviews and can maintain a neutral and non-judgmental demeanor.

Use a Structured Questionnaire

Develop a standardized set of questions to ask each departing employee. This ensures consistency and allows for easier data analysis. Questions should cover various aspects of the employee's experience, including work environment, management, and policies.

Mix Open-Ended and Closed-Ended Questions

Combine both types of questions to gather specific data and encourage the departing employee to provide detailed feedback.

Listen Actively

Pay close attention to the employee's responses, and ask follow-up questions when necessary to clarify or delve deeper into their feedback.

Avoid Defensive Reactions

Do not become defensive or argumentative if the departing employee shares negative feedback. The purpose is to gather information for improvement, not to defend the organization.

Document Responses

Take detailed notes during the interview or record it with the employee's consent. Documenting responses helps in data analysis and trend identification.

Aggregate Data

Analyze the feedback from multiple exit interviews to identify common themes or trends that may indicate systemic issues within the organization.

Act on Feedback

After analyzing the feedback, take action to address any issues or areas for improvement. Communicate the changes or initiatives to current employees to demonstrate that the organization values their input.

Share Positive Feedback

Not all feedback needs to be negative. Share positive feedback with relevant departments or individuals to acknowledge and reinforce positive behaviors and practices.

Track Trends Over Time

Conducting exit interviews consistently over time allows the organization to track changes in employee feedback and measure the impact of implemented improvements.

Closing and Appreciation

Conclude the exit interview by thanking the departing employee for their contributions and wishing them well in their future endeavors. In some cases, organizations provide a parting gift or gesture of appreciation.

Continuous Improvement

Regularly review and update the exit interview process based on feedback from departing employees and changing organizational needs.

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