Employees leaving a company because of retirement or to take another position may ask for exit interviews to discuss their tenure with the company. During the interview, the employee may offer a variety of observations about the company, the quality of its work and how it treats employees. Some employers may make the request for an exit interview. Requesting an interview is usually as simple as contacting the human resources department.


Exit interviews during a termination are much different than an exit interview when the employee is leaving voluntarily. An employee can request an exit interview during a termination process, but the meeting is usually short and direct and focuses largely only on written reasons for the termination. The rest of the conversation is usually about health insurance benefits, severance pay, company equipment and access to the building at a later time to collect personal items. In that situation, companies may not agree to a more extended exit interview because the employee may contest the firing by filing a lawsuit or a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.


Employees leaving on their own usually have plenty of time to request an exit interview, and many employers will be eager to hear what the employee has to say. Usually, an employee offers at least a two-week notice. That allows time for an official exit interview with HR and a less formal meeting with the employee’s supervisor.


An exit interview with HR for an employee voluntarily leaving the company will include important discussions about health benefits, remaining vacation time and departure date. The HR representative may also try to gain insight into the performance of the employee’s department and even the effectiveness of the employee’s supervisor. The HR person may also ask what type of job the employee is taking, if that is the case, and why the employee prefers the new job rather than the current assignment.


An employee seeking an exit interview should make the request in writing as part of a letter of resignation. The employee should email or hand-deliver the letter to her supervisor and provide a copy for human resources. Employees who are happy with their job and leaving on good terms should meet face-to-face with their supervisor to initially deliver the news. The employee should follow up a day or so later in writing.