An exit interview is your company’s opportunity to learn from existing employees. Whether they are leaving for another job, or they’ve been laid off or fired, there is a lot you can learn from them that you can use to improve your company.

Skilled employees are the asset that drives organizational success. Thus companies must learn from them—why they stay, why they leave, and how the organization needs to change. A thoughtful exit-interview (EI) process can create a constant flow of feedback on all three fronts,” says Everett Spain and Boris Groysberg in Harvard Business Review.

However, it’s important to have the correct approach and ask the right questions to make the most of the interview. You also need to avoid saying certain things during exit interviews. There are things you can say that could create issues with the exiting employee or even your current team. Here are 4 examples:

1. Information about other employees

This is of particular importance during layoffs. Exit interviewers need to be cautious about what they say regarding the status of other employees, upcoming layoffs, and other information pertaining to current employees. Keep the conversation focused on the exiting employee.

2. Unverified information

Stick to the facts. An exit interview is not the time to speculate. Avoid discussing unverified information about what happens next with the employee or the organization. If you are not sure, say so. You can always get the correct information and follow up with the employee.

3. Personal opinions

There is no room for personal opinions from the interviewer during exit interviews. You are representing the organization, and your role is to gain insights from the exiting employee. This can be difficult, especially if you know the employee who is leaving the company. Do your best to keep your opinions to yourself.

4. Anything that could lead to legal issues

This is extremely important when an employee has been fired or laid off. Saying anything that could be interpreted as discrimination or a cause for wrongful dismissal could land your company in hot water. Be careful what you say. If you are not sure, getting legal advice before conducting the exit interview could be beneficial.

More Exit Interview Tips

Learn more about exit interviews by reading these blog posts by our HR professionals:

4 Types of Questions You Should Not Ask in an Exit Interview

5 Vital Questions to Ask Employees in an Exit Interview

5 Reasons Why You Should Conduct an Exit Interview


Felicia Smith

Felicia is the manager of human capital solutions at AugmentHR. With over six years of recruitment experience coupled with multi-faceted HR roles, Felicia is an expert in matching people with the right role and environment. She has worked in many different industries, including investment banking, HR consulting firms, medical, and commercial. Understanding people is one of her strengths, and she has recruited at every level, from directors, project managers, and engineers to operators and general labourers. Her ability to network and develop relationships has been a key tool to her success. With approximately two years of experience managing people and creating a positive work environment, Felicia’s diverse skill set makes her a well-rounded individual. Her business education and background help her identify different business needs and human capital solutions.

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