How do you conduct exit interviews in your organization?

Did you know that the questions you ask and the person who conducts the exit interview can influence how effective the interview is? The Exit Interview Survey helps leaders gather the feedback needed to predict employee turnover and improve retention, but only if you actually get the answers. You can ask the right exit interview questions using the wrong medium and completions rates will languish at 20% or 30%. Leverage the right combination of exit interview type and use the answers to improve the employee experience in your organization to achieve 80% to 90% completion rates.

In this exit interview expert article, we will look at the main types of exit interviews, who should conduct exit interviews, and when to use that exit interview type and when to avoid it.

The 6 Types of Modern Exit Interviews

There are 6 different ways to conduct exit interviews in the modern workplace:

Exit Interview Type Exit Interview
When to Use this Exit Interview When to Avoid this Exit Interview
Email Exit Interview

When the interviewer sends the exit interview questions to the interviewee to their work or personal email account.

Typically sent via exit interview software, responses are automatically collected and correlated to the separating employee demographics, making it easier to identify trends and patterns in the data.

  • When you have their email address, as in professional, technical, or managerial roles
  • More useful in cases where the departing employee may prefer to complete the survey outside of workplace
  • This method is less effective as the other types of exit interviews for entry-level, low-wage or “blue collar” positions since it relies on having email address to achieve response rates
  • A highly sensitive separation that needs more attention
SMS Text (Mobile) Exit Interview

An SMS text interview or mobile phone exit interview is where the HR team reaches out to the departing employee through text message to an employee’s mobile phone.

While this method is convenient, there may be limits on the number of questions or response options, thus it may not provide as much detail as the other survey methods.

  • A short exit interview form
  • Highly millennial or Gen Z Workforce
  • Employee email addresses are recorded less than cell phone numbers
  • Avoid if you have a long exit interview questionnaire, as respondents on mobile devices fatigue (drop out) faster than other methods
  • If you don’t collect cell phone numbers
  • A highly sensitive separation that needs more attention
Kiosk Exit Interviews (QR Codes)

The departing employee is given access to a link and is asked to take the exit interview on the company's site, either via a tablet, dedicated computer, or QR Code link.

This type of exit interview is increasingly popular due to its convenience, cost-effectiveness, and ability to collect responses in real-time in remote locations.

  • Because of its convenience, Kiosk/QR codes are a great tool to increase your survey response rates
  • Use when you want to ensure anonymity
  • If you have a really cool flyer and want to add a QR code to it!
  • The downside of this method is that some employees may not have easy access to the internet or their phones, which could limit their ability to participate in the survey
  • Avoid if knowing the identity of the separating employee is a critical success factor
  • QR code is only most effective when placed in designated areas and so should be avoided if placed in locations that make them difficult to scan
Live Voice Exit Interviews

Phone interviews, or live voice-based interviews, are exit interviews where someone from the company or a third party, reaches out to the departing employee over the phone. The Exit Interview is then completed over the phone through the guidance of the interviewer. This method provides a more personalized experience as the interviewer takes their time, probes to ask additional questions and gain clarity.

Live Voice Interviews are captured and adjust in real-time to include drill-down questions or options based on the employee’s responses. They capture detailed feedback from employees and hold the employee’s attention to complete the entire survey with less inclination to skip questions or drop out

  • Employees are more likely to provide honest and detailed feedback in a phone conversation, as they can ask questions and clarify their answers in real-time. 3rd Party Interviewers can also help to build rapport with the departing employee, which can lead to more candid and open feedback
  • When accurate, open, honest and rich feedback is needed (typically for high value positions)
  • Probing in a Live Exit Interview allows for more robust answers to be shared, which gives a better understanding of key positions’ experience
  • Live exit interviews may be difficult to schedule, especially when the departing employee has already left the store/office/branch
  • If you have a limited budget, Live Voice Exit Interviews can be more costly than the other types
In-person Exit Interviews

The departing employee and the interviewer engage in a one-on-one conversation. Typically performed by onsite Human Resources Staff, or less commonly the manager.

This method of exit interview allows for a two-way conversation and the ability to read non-verbal cues.

  • Use for a highly sensitive separation that needs more attention
  • This method doesn’t give much choice for the interviewee but to attend
  • In-person exit interviews can be time-consuming and always more expensive than other methods. It is also essential to ensure that the interviewer has excellent communication and interpersonal skills to make the employee feel comfortable sharing their honest feedback.
  • This method is often done by an internal member of the HR team. Organizations trying to decrease HR team effort should avoid this method, especially if operating in industries with typically high turnover.
  • Without confidentiality of a 3rd party, separating staff can withhold relevant reasons they left
Interactive Voice Response (IVR) or Chat-based Exit Interviews

A phone number or chat room is given with prompts to answer questions to an automated attendant who replies via prompt.

  • Chat boxes or IVR can save time and money leading to its ability to reach a much larger sample size including those with literacy challenges.
  • These can augment methods for some staff. It allows for the processes in places to be automated and streamlined.
  • This is a less personalized, interactive medium or approach. If there is sensitive information to be shared, participant may be less inclined to do so.
  • If the call is not answered then the respondent misses their chance to provide feedback.
  • Due to its recorded nature, some questions may be restricted, limiting the content of the information gathered.
  • Higher drop-off rates when the survey goes past 10 questions.
Exit Interview Type Exit Interview
When to Use this Exit Interview When to Avoid this Exit Interview

Related Article: How to Improve Exit Interviews: The 8 Exit Interview Questions to Always Include

It’s important to consider that outsourcing exit interviews to a third-party provider can offer a neutral and safe space for the departing employee to speak candidly without fear of reprisal or bias. The third-party provider brings an informed perspective and objective insights into the exit interview process, which can help to identify areas for improvement in the company’s culture, policies, or practices.

Now that you know the different types of exit interviews you can conduct, let’s look at why you should conduct an exit interview in the first place.

Types of Modern Exit Interviews

The Purpose of the Exit Interview (Why conduct an Exit Interview?)

The main purpose of an exit interview program is to gather employee feedback consistently across the enterprise, on the overall employee experience, and identify opportunities to reduce future employee turnover. The first step to improve employee retention is to examine exit interview reports. Other purposes of exit interviews include:

1. Understand Leadership Styles and Their Effectiveness

Sometimes it can be hard to spot problems in the management style of your organization. Effective exit interviews will help you uncover such problems. Given that a large number of employees quit their jobs to get away from their manager, finding out about managerial issues and fixing them should be a priority.

2. Clarify What Employees Think About Their Workplace

When employees leave your company, they are more likely to be forthcoming about their experiences. By asking the right exit questions, and using the right exit interview template you can find out how employees feel about their work in your organization. Is it fulfilling and challenging? Do they have the right tools to complete their work effectively? How was their experience with supervisors and managers?

3. Learn About Salaries and Benefits from Competing Companies

One of the main reasons why employees leave their workplace is because of inadequate compensation. Conducting an exit interview can help you know what competitors are paying their staff, so you can improve your compensation and benefits packages.

4. Uncover Any HR Related Issues

When conducted effectively, an exit interview will help you uncover HR problems that you can address to avoid litigation, increase employee retention, and boost engagement.

5. Prioritize How to Improve the Organization

Asking the right questions during an exit interview will help you gather feedback about different aspects of your organization that need improvement. These could include the company culture, management practices, onboarding procedures, conflict resolution, etc.

6. Maintain Healthy Relationships with Departing Employees to Benefit the Company

An exit interview strategy is the final touchpoint that allows you to end your relationship with the departing employee on a positive note. This way, wherever the employee goes, they will be ambassadors of your organization. Even people who quit can be champions of your product or service. They might recommend your company to friends and family.

Maintaining a positive relationship with a departing employee can also increase the likelihood of them returning to the company in the future, either as a rehire or as a valuable business contact or referral. You can track and trend how many employees “would recommend your organization as a good place to work” with an eNPS, Employee Net Promoter Score.

what is the purpose of the Exit Interview

Who Should Conduct Exit Interviews?

If an exit interview is best to be conducting via live voice or in-person, the “moderator” conducting the exit interview should be at least one level removed from the employee. This means a second or third-line manager rather than the direct supervisor. This is because people are more likely to open up and speak truthfully about their experience when talking to someone who was not directly involved in their day-to-day lives at the organization.

For the best results, consider hiring a third-party exit interview company, or an outside exit interview vendor to conduct the exit interview. This will help you get the most honest and impartial answers. The interview session is likely to be more productive since the interviewer is a specialist in conducting exit interviews.

Who Should Conduct Exit Interviews?


Exit interviews are a valuable tool for every employer’s retention strategy. The best exit interview practices highlight an organization’s weaknesses and put in place measures to correct them. Using exit interview software like ExitPro can help you streamline your exit interview process and make the most of your employee exit data. This will help to better retain employees and attract high-performing talent.

With the best exit interview software, conducting exit interviews is faster and easier. With the right exit interview reports, it is now possible to predict and prevent employee turnover in the future.

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