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How To Conduct Exit Interviews: Exit Interview Template

How To Conduct Exit Interviews: Exit Interview Template

Welcome to our guide on conducting effective exit interviews, a crucial tool in your HR arsenal for gathering insights and fostering continuous improvement within your company. Exit interviews, when done correctly, can provide a wealth of information, helping you understand the factors influencing employee turnover and areas for enhancement in company culture and practices.

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In this guide, we provide you with comprehensive interview resources to navigate this vital process. You’ll find detailed sections covering every aspect of the exit interview, from preparing and conducting the interview to handling sensitive topics and legal considerations. Additionally, we’ve included sample exit interview templates, which are ready-to-use and adaptable to various situations and job roles. Whether you’re an experienced HR professional or new to this aspect of human resources, these templates and resources will empower you to conduct insightful and productive exit interviews.

Let’s dive in and explore how you can make the most of these opportunities to gain valuable insights and foster a culture of growth and continuous improvement in your company.

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Highlights And Key Takeaways:

  1. The purpose of exit interviews is to gain insight crucial to company growth and team satisfaction.
  2. Your HR department should use a mix of standard, role-based, and resignation letter-based exit interview questions.
  3. Use our exit interview form template as a basis to conducting productive exit interviews.

Understanding The Purpose Of Exit Interviews

Understanding Exit Interviews

As you navigate the complexities of managing current and future employees, understanding the value of conducting exit interviews is pivotal. These interviews are not just a formality; they are a goldmine of insights, crucial for your organisational growth and the satisfaction of your team. The purpose of exit interviews include:

  1. Uncovering the Real Picture of Company Culture: Exit interviews offer a rare glimpse into the true perception of your company culture. Departing employees, with no stakes left in the game, often provide honest feedback that you might not receive from existing staff. This is your chance to understand how your company is genuinely perceived from the inside.
  2. Valuing the Employee’s Constructive Comments: When an employee leaves, they often share candid views on what could be improved. These constructive comments are invaluable. They offer you a lens to view potential issues and strengths, providing valuable insight that can be pivotal in shaping strategies for employee retention and satisfaction.
  3. Enhancing the Work Environment for Future Success: Feedback on the work environment, whether it’s about day-to-day operations, team dynamics, or management styles, gives you a clear direction for making impactful changes. This not only benefits your current workforce but also sets a positive precedent for new joiners.
  4. Understanding Employee Turnover: Exit interviews can reveal patterns and reasons behind employee turnover. By identifying these trends, you are better equipped to address underlying issues, leading to a more stable and satisfied workforce. You can explore the topic of staff turnover further, by reading our article – The Pros And Cons Of High Staff Turnover.
  5. Focusing on Employee Retention: Knowledge gained from exit interviews can be transformative in enhancing your employee retention strategies. Understanding what keeps employees engaged and what pushes them away helps in fine-tuning your approach to keep your team content and motivated. For further guidance on improving employee retention, read our blog – How To Retain Employees.
  6. Strategies to Reduce Turnover: By actively listening to departing employees, you can formulate strategies to reduce turnover. Implementing changes based on genuine feedback demonstrates that you value employee input, fostering a culture of respect and continuous improvement.
  7. Enriching the Employee Experience: Ultimately, conducting exit interviews is about enriching the overall employee experience. It’s about showing that you value every employee’s journey and are committed to making their experience, and that of their successors, better.

In essence, exit interviews are a critical tool in your HR arsenal. They offer a unique opportunity to gain honest feedback, which is essential for nurturing a positive work environment, reducing turnover, and enhancing employee satisfaction. By conducting these interviews effectively, you’re not just gathering data; you’re actively investing in the future of your organisation and its people.

Preparing For The Exit Interview

Preparing For An Employee Exit Interview

As you embark on conducting productive exit interviews, preparation is key – both in setting the stage and in your approach. This stage is critical in ensuring the interview is constructive and beneficial for both you and the departing employee. To prepare for an exit interview, your HR team should:

  1. Setting the Right Environment: The ambiance of the interview can significantly influence its outcome. Choose a setting that’s neutral and comfortable, away from the bustle of the usual office environment. An in-person meeting in a quiet, private room is ideal. This setting helps the employee feel at ease to share their experiences candidly.
  2. Timing is Crucial: Schedule the interview at a time that is convenient for the employee, preferably in the latter part of their notice period. This ensures that they have had ample time to reflect on their experience and can provide thoughtful feedback. Avoid scheduling it on their very last day, as emotions can run high, potentially impacting the quality of feedback.
  3. Mental Preparation: Preparing yourself mentally is just as important as the logistical aspects. Go into the interview with an open mind and a genuine willingness to listen. Remember, the aim is to learn and understand, not to defend or debate. Be ready to encounter both positive and negative feedback and handle it with grace and professionalism.
  4. Logistical Readiness: Have your questions and materials ready beforehand. Ensure you are well-versed with the employee’s role and contributions to the company. This shows that you value their input and are seriously engaged in the offboarding process.
  5. Understanding the Employee’s Experience: Your questions should be aimed at understanding the employee’s experience in its entirety. Cover aspects like their job satisfaction, the work environment, their relationship with colleagues and superiors, and their reasons for leaving. This holistic approach will provide you with comprehensive insights.

In summary, preparing for an exit interview is a delicate balance of creating the right environment and being mentally and logistically ready. Your approach to this crucial part of the offboarding process speaks volumes about your respect for the employee’s experience and your commitment to improving your business. Remember, a well-conducted exit interview not only provides valuable insights but also leaves the departing employee with a positive final impression of your company.

Crafting Your Exit Interview Template

Crafting An Exit Interview Template

Developing an exit interview form template is a key step to ensure your conversations remain productive and elicit valuable feedback. A well-structured template helps you to identify trends and gather insights that are crucial for organisational growth. Here’s how you can craft a comprehensive exit interview template:

  1. Start with General Feedback: The template should begin with broad questions that invite the employee to share their overall experience. This could include inquiries about what they enjoyed most and the challenges they faced. Starting with general questions sets a comfortable tone for the deeper conversation to follow.
  2. Specific Inquiries About the Role and Company: Delve into more specific topics relevant to the employee’s role and their views on the company. This could include questions about their daily responsibilities, the support and resources provided, opportunities for professional development, and their perspective on team dynamics and management styles. This section is critical to understanding the nuances of the employee’s experience.
  3. Encourage Suggestions for Improvement: A vital part of your template should focus on gathering suggestions for organisational improvement. Prompt the employee to share their ideas on enhancing work processes, company policies, or the overall work environment. This not only provides actionable insights but also signals that you value their opinion and are committed to making positive changes.
  4. Final Comments and Reflections: Conclude the template with a section for any final thoughts or comments the employee wishes to share. This part allows for reflection on aspects that may not have been covered in the structured questions. It’s also an opportunity for you to express appreciation for their honest feedback.
  5. Keeping Conversations Relevant and Respectful: Throughout the template, ensure that the questions are relevant to the employee’s role and experience. Avoid delving into personal or sensitive areas that could make the employee uncomfortable. The tone of your questions should be respectful and professional, creating a safe space for honest and constructive dialogue.

In crafting your exit interview template, remember that if conducted correctly, these interviews can be a powerful tool for continuous improvement. Your template is not just a form, it’s the foundation for meaningful dialogue that can positively impact both current and future employees.

Example Exit Interview Questions

Example Exit Interview Questions

Crafting the right exit interview questions is crucial for extracting meaningful insights. Below is a list of standard exit interview questions, followed by guidance on tailoring questions based on the employee’s job description and their resignation letter. Utilising recruitment resources like our library of free job descriptions and specific job description templates, such as our sample Business Manager job description and example Customer Relationship Manager job description, can greatly assist in this process.

Standard Exit Interview Questions:

  1. What prompted you to start looking for a new job?
  2. What was your relationship like with your line manager?
  3. Did you feel you had the resources and support needed to effectively do your job?
  4. How would you describe the culture in our company?
  5. What did you like most about your job?
  6. What changes would you recommend for us to create a better workplace?
  7. Were your duties as outlined in your job description accurately reflected in the work you were doing?
  8. Did you receive constructive feedback to help you grow professionally?
  9. What could have been done for you to remain employed here?
  10. Do you have any suggestions for the improvement of team dynamics?

Crafting Role-Based Questions:

  • Review the employee’s job description, you can find examples in our job description library.
  • Frame questions that are specific to the responsibilities and goals listed in the job description. For instance, for a Business Manager, ask about their experiences with team management or business strategy execution.
  • Inquire about any challenges they faced that were specific to their role and how they believe these could be addressed in the future.

Questions Based on Their Resignation Letter:

  • Analyse the resignation letter for any specific reasons mentioned for leaving or areas of discontent. For further guidance, we recommend reading our guide – What To Do When A Key Employee Hands In Their Resignation Letter: Resignation Acceptance Letter Template.
  • If they cited lack of growth opportunities, ask about what kind of opportunities they would have found valuable.
  • For other specific issues mentioned, like work-life balance or team dynamics, prepare questions to delve deeper into their perspective and suggestions.

In summary, use the standard questions as a foundation and then delve deeper with tailored queries based on their specific role and reasons for leaving. This approach ensures a thorough understanding of their experience and provides valuable insights for improvements in specific areas of your organisation.

Conducting The Exit Interview

Conducting An Employee Exit Interview

Conducting an exit interview is a delicate task that requires tact, empathy, and a strategic approach. Setting the right tone, actively listening, and asking the right questions are key to making exit interviews important and fruitful interactions. Here are some tips and strategies to help you conduct an effective exit interview that encourages the departing employee to speak openly and provides valuable information.

Setting the Right Tone:

  1. Start on a Positive Note: Begin the interview with a sincere thank you for the employee’s contributions. A positive start can make the employee feel supported and appreciated, encouraging open communication.
  2. Reiterate Confidentiality: Assure the employee that their feedback will be kept confidential. This assurance can build trust and prompt more honest and open responses.
  3. Emphasise the Purpose: Make it clear that the goal is to learn and improve employee engagement and the overall work environment. This sets a constructive and non-confrontational tone for the conversation.

Active Listening and Empathetic Responses:

  1. Practice Active Listening: Pay close attention to what the employee is saying without interrupting. Show your engagement by nodding and maintaining eye contact.
  2. Reflect and Clarify: Summarise their points to show understanding and ask clarifying questions if needed. This shows that you value their input and are keen to understand their perspective fully.
  3. Respond Empathetically: Acknowledge their feelings and experiences. Empathetic responses validate their emotions and can encourage further sharing of insights.

Asking Open-Ended Questions:

  1. Encourage Detailed Responses: Frame your questions in a way that encourages detailed responses rather than simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers. For example, ask “What changes would have improved your experience with us?” instead of “Were you unhappy with your job?”
  2. Probe Deeper When Necessary: If an employee mentions a significant issue, probe deeper with follow-up questions to understand the full context and their perspective.
  3. Cover a Range of Topics: Ensure your questions cover various aspects of their job and the company culture. This approach helps in gathering comprehensive feedback that can be invaluable for future improvements.

Conducting an exit interview face to face also adds a personal touch and makes the employee feel more connected and willing to share. Remember, the way you conduct an exit interview can significantly impact the quality of information you receive. An empathetic, open, and strategic approach will help in obtaining insights that are crucial for improving your organisation’s culture and employee experience.

Navigating Sensitive Topics

When it comes to discussing sensitive subjects like management issues or workplace conflicts, your approach can make a big difference in the quality of feedback you gain. It’s essential to tread these topics with professionalism and sensitivity. Start by acknowledging that these topics might be difficult to talk about, but their insights are valuable for making meaningful changes. Frame your questions in a neutral manner and avoid leading or suggestive language. For instance, instead of asking, “Did you have problems with your manager?”, consider asking, “Can you share your experiences working with your manager and team members?” This not only opens up the conversation but also allows the employee to speak candidly about their decision to leave, giving you deeper insight into aspects that might be affecting current employees.

Maintaining confidentiality is paramount in these discussions. Reassure the employee that their feedback is being shared in a safe space and will be used constructively to improve the organisation. Building this trust is crucial, as it encourages openness and honesty, allowing you to delve into relevant topics that might otherwise be glossed over. Emphasise that the goal is to learn and improve, not to assign blame or reprimand. This approach helps in creating an environment where the employee feels comfortable to share their true thoughts, providing you with insights that can lead to significant improvements in team dynamics and managerial relationships.

Post-Interview Process

Post-Interview Process

After the exit interview, the real work begins with the analysis of the employee answers and the implementation of the feedback received. This is a critical phase where human resources can discover areas for improvement and development opportunities within the company. Start by reviewing the answers for common themes and patterns. Are there recurring reasons why employees leave? Do certain aspects of the job title or department come up often in feedback? Compile the data in a manner that allows you to spot trends and areas needing attention. Then, work collaboratively with relevant departments to develop actionable plans. This could involve revising job descriptions, tweaking management styles, or enhancing employee support systems. It’s about transforming the insights gained into tangible changes that enhance the work environment and employee satisfaction.

Maintaining a relationship with departing employees is also an important step in the post-interview process. The employee’s decision to move on does not have to mark the end of your professional relationship. Keep the lines of communication open for potential re-hiring or referrals. This can be achieved through alumni networks, occasional check-ins, or even social media connections. By fostering a positive ongoing relationship, you turn former employees into ambassadors for your brand. They could also be a valuable resource in the future, either by returning in a new position or by referring top talent to your company. Managing this aspect well demonstrates a forward-thinking approach to human resources and can be a strategic part of your broader talent management plan.

Legal Considerations And Best Practices

When conducting exit interviews, particularly in the UK context, it is crucial to navigate the process in an orderly fashion, keeping key legal considerations in mind. Firstly, ensure that all questions on your exit interview form comply with UK employment law. This means avoiding any queries that could be construed as discriminatory based on age, gender, race, religion, disability, or sexual orientation. Be mindful of the Data Protection Act as well, ensuring that any personal data collected is handled and stored securely, in line with GDPR regulations. Additionally, it’s important to remember that while participation in an exit interview can be encouraged, it cannot be enforced. Respecting an employee’s decision not to partake is crucial from a legal standpoint.

In terms of best practices, maintaining professionalism throughout the process is key. This includes preparing the exit interview form and the environment in which the interview is conducted. Ensure the setting is private and conducive to open, honest dialogue. When documenting responses, do so accurately and objectively, avoiding any subjective interpretation. After the interview, handle the information sensitively and use it constructively to make positive changes within the company. Remember, the primary goal of the exit interview is to gain insights that can improve organisational practices and employee experience. Adhering to these legal and best practice guidelines will not only keep your company compliant but will also foster a culture of respect and continuous improvement.

Sample Exit Interview Template

Below is a detailed, ready-to-use exit interview template. This template encompasses a variety of question types and topics and can be adapted to suit different situations. Whether you’re a small start-up or a large corporation, these exit interview templates are designed to be flexible and comprehensive.

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Exit Interview Form

Personal Information:

  • Employee Name:
  • Job Title:
  • Department:
  • Date of Interview:
  • Interviewer:

General Feedback:

  • 1. What were the main factors that influenced your decision to leave the company?
  • 2. How would you describe your overall experience working with us?

Role and Responsibilities:

  • 3. Were your job responsibilities clearly defined and communicated to you?
  • 4. Did you feel that the workload was manageable and evenly distributed?

Support and Resources:

  • 5. How well do you feel supported by your manager and team members?
  • 6. Were the resources and tools provided sufficient to perform your job effectively?

Work Environment and Culture:

  • 7. Can you describe the work environment and how it influenced your job satisfaction?
  • 8. How would you describe the company culture, and what improvements, if any, would you suggest?

Professional Development:

  • 9. Were there enough opportunities for professional growth and development?
  • 10. How effectively did the company support your career goals and aspirations?

Management and Leadership:

  • 11. How would you rate the management and leadership within your department?
  • 12. Can you provide feedback on any management styles or practices that could be improved?

Team Dynamics:

  • 13. How was your experience working with your team members?
  • 14. Were there any issues within the team that you think should be addressed?

Company Policies and Practices:

  • 15. What are your thoughts on the company’s policies and practices?
  • 16. Are there any policies that you found particularly beneficial or challenging?

Suggestions for Improvement:

  • 17. What changes would you suggest to improve the work experience for current and future employees?
  • 18. Do you have any other suggestions or comments that could help us improve as a company?

Final Thoughts:

  • 19. What did you enjoy most about your role and working for the company?
  • 20. Any additional comments or feedback you would like to provide?


  • Thank the employee for their time and valuable contributions. Reiterate the importance of their feedback and assure them of its confidentiality.

This exit interview form is designed to capture a comprehensive view of the employee’s experience, offering valuable insights that can be used to improve various aspects of your company. Remember, each question should be approached with sensitivity and professionalism, ensuring that the employee feels comfortable and respected throughout the process.

Exit Interview Process FAQs

Next, we answer employer and HR professional frequently asked questions on the employee exit interview process:


When structuring an exit interview, your goal is to gain insightful feedback while ensuring the departing employee feels heard and respected. Start by scheduling the interview at a convenient time, ideally in their final week. Create a comfortable, private setting to encourage open conversation. Begin with general questions about their overall experience, then delve into specifics about job satisfaction, workplace environment, and reasons for leaving. Include questions about management, team dynamics, and company culture. Encourage honesty and assure them that their feedback is valuable and confidential. Conclude by thanking them for their contributions and wishing them well in future endeavours. 


During an exit interview, your approach should be empathetic and professional. Start by expressing gratitude for their service and explaining the purpose of the interview – to learn and improve. Ask open-ended questions to encourage detailed responses. Examples include: “What did you most enjoy about your role?” and “How could we improve the working environment?” Listen actively, without judgement or defensiveness. If they share criticism, acknowledge it and thank them for their honesty. Ensure confidentiality and end the meeting on a positive note, acknowledging their contributions and wishing them success. 


Writing an email to conduct an exit interview requires tact and clarity. Start with a polite and appreciative tone, thanking them for their service. Clearly state the purpose of the email – to schedule an exit interview. Provide a few options for dates and times, emphasising flexibility to accommodate their schedule. Assure them that the interview is a standard procedure aimed at understanding their experiences and improving the workplace. Include a line about confidentiality to build trust. End with a note of gratitude for their contributions and a wish for their future success. Example: Subject: Scheduling Your Exit Interview – Your Insights Are Valuable to UsDear [Employee’s Name], As you embark on your new journey, we would like to express our sincere gratitude for the dedication and hard work you’ve shown during your time with us. We are committed to continuous improvement and your feedback is invaluable in this process. We would like to invite you for an exit interview at your earliest convenience. This is an opportunity for us to gain insights into your experience with us, which will be invaluable in making [Company Name] an even better place to work. Please let us know a time that suits you in the coming days – we are flexible and can adjust to your schedule. Be assured, your feedback will be treated with the utmost confidentiality and respect. Thank you once again for your valuable contributions. We wish you every success in your future endeavours. Warm regards,[Your Name][Your Position] 


An employee exit interview template is essential for maintaining consistency and ensuring you cover all crucial areas. It serves as a guide to structure the conversation, ensuring you gather comprehensive and comparable data from all departing employees. This standardisation helps in identifying trends and areas for improvement within the organisation. A well-designed template also ensures that you ask appropriate, non-intrusive questions, maintaining professionalism and respect throughout the process. Furthermore, it can help HR professionals feel more prepared and confident when conducting these interviews, especially if they are new to the role. 

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