Both sides face a nervous final day to the season, with the Grecians only out of the drop zone ahead of Tranmere on goal difference.
Exeter had a couple of early chances to take the lead at Victoria Park, with Scott Flinders saving smartly from Richard Logan before Ryan Harley's 20-yard free-kick brushed the side-netting.
They went ahead in the 38th minute when Harley's corner was headed in by the towering Matt Taylor.
Pools hit the post seven minutes after the interval through Leon McSweeney but Taylor could have doubled his tally when he dived to head inches wide from Harley's cross
A double substitution galvanised Hartlepool and one of the replacements, Adam Boyd, created the 80th-minute leveller when Denis Behan bundled home after his right-wing cross caused confusion in the Exeter penalty area.