What Is an Exit Interview? - Definition & Examples

Instructor: Carol Woods

Carol has taught college Finance, Accounting, Management and Business courses and has a MBA in Finance.

In this lesson we'll learn what an exit interview is, some reasons for conducting them, expected use of the information received, and common questions asked in the interview.

What is an Exit Interview?

Do you know what an exit interview is, or why a company might use one? Maybe you've even sat through one yourself? This interview is one that takes place right before an employee who has quit or been fired leaves the company.

An exit interview can be used to find out why the employee is leaving. Once HR (human resources) has this information, they can use it to determine if there are actions they should take to help prevent future attrition - perhaps staff feels the opportunities for promotion are limited and they are seeking jobs elsewhere, or perhaps a particular manager has poor skills and staff is looking for new positions so they no longer have to work with this person.

An exit interview can also be a way for a terminating employee to let off steam and hopefully leave the company without being angry. This is especially true if the employee is being fired or laid off. HR might be able to be a sounding board to reduce negative feelings, or to reduce the chance of complaints to government agencies or online message boards after the fact.

Employers might also be able to offer the employee outplacement assistance or a referral to a recruiter - to point them in the direction of finding a new position that is a better fit. An exit interview can also be a place to let employees being laid off know what the chances are of being reactivated, and of any resources the company has to offer them to assist in their transition.

What Are Common Exit Interview Questions?

The exit interview generally includes questions about why the employee is leaving, their level of satisfaction with the company and their job, and any recommendations for change. Here are some typical questions:

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