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What Questions To Ask In Exit Interview

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Why Is Conducting Exit Interviews And Surveys Important

Best Questions to Ask During an Exit Interview!

The hiring process is expensive and can take a long time. If at the end of it you employ people who stay with your company only briefly:

  • You waste time and money on recruitment
  • Every time someone leaves, a bit of company knowledge or process goes with them
  • Leavers may also be detractors, affecting your company reputation

By providing departing employees with the opportunity to give honest feedback, you can gather valuable insights to improve the employee experience for both current and future employees.

Typically, only about a third of employees leaving an organization complete an exit interview. Given the potential richness of exit information, all employers would benefit from encouraging every leaver to respond to exit surveys.

An exit survey is a means to an end. The goal is not to prevent the employee from leaving. Instead, it is to learn and use it to gain insights to help retain talent, prevent bad hires, improve management practices, and ultimately drive better organizational performance.

It really does pay dividends in the long run to invest time, energy, and care into finding out why people are leaving, in order to minimize future attrition.

Would You Consider Changing Your Mind And Continuing To Work With Us

An employer may ask this exit interview question to see if there’s anything they can do to retain you as an employee. Considering this question beforehand will allow you to provide a confident answer. If a promotion or salary increase would change your mind, you can be honest about the other opportunity at your new company.

If you’re not interested in staying, make that clear without closing the door to future opportunities. Maintaining a positive working relationship with past employers is vital for building your professional network.

Example: In my five years working with this company, you provided me with great learning opportunities and valuable skills. I loved working with the team and enjoyed coming to work every day. However, there are more career development and learning opportunities in my new role. I would always be open to working here again in the future under the right circumstances. But for now, I’m confident in my decision to take on a new role with a new organization.”

Make A List Of Relevant Questions To Ask

Make a list of questions you want to ask ahead of time rather than winging it and relying on your gut instinct to drive the discussion. What questions you ask may alter if you know more about the employees personal life. Preparing a questionnaire beforehand results in a more accurate exit interview survey.

Need help? You can find excellentexit interview questions in a specially curated list here.

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Exit Interview Questions For An Effective Offboarding Experience

âExit interviews may seem daunting or even unnecessary. After all, your employee has decided to leave, what else is there to discuss? Actually, exit interviews are extremely helpful for employers when structured correctly. As noted by Harvard Business Review and industry experts, the proper exit interview gives the company insight into employee mindsets, sheds light on workplace habits, explores the employee experience, and reveals problems that may exist in the organization . Though exit interviews may feel awkward, you may find them the best tool to improve your companyâs work environment and boost employee job satisfaction.

In this article, weâll focus on the definition of an exit interview, why they are so important, and which offboarding questions to ask for an effective exit interview experience.

How To Conduct The Best Exit Interviews

Types of Exit Interview Documents

Strategy and planning will help you ask the best exit interview questions of employees who are leaving that will allow you to collect information to give you actionable insights. Here are some tips to consider:

  • If your company is large enough to have a human relations department, have someone from that team conduct the interview. That might make it easier for the exiting employee to be honest and forthcoming about their answers.
  • The best time to schedule an exit interview for someone who has given two-weeks notice is somewhere in the middle of that time not immediately following the announcement and not right before the last day.
  • Whether its a phone or video call or in person, let the employee know the reason for the meeting. Make it clear that they arent obligated to answer any questions that make them uncomfortable, and be prepared to listen, rather than express your opinions.

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Exit Interview Questions For Managers / Leaders

Losing company leaders and managers can be a tough pill to swallow. These employees can be more difficult to replace. Learning why and preventing other leaders from leaving your company is key for conducting an exit interview with these roles.

Here are some effective questions to ask managers and leaders in exit interviews.

  • What made you decide to look for a new role?
  • Were there any obstacles that made your job here especially challenging?
  • What were the key factors leading you to look for a role at another company?
  • What factors made you choose your new company over their competitors?
  • Could we have done anything to have prevented you from seeking a new role?
  • Did we provide you with all of the resources you needed to succeed? If not, then what could we have done better?
  • How do our salary and benefits compare to your new company? Were salary and benefits an important factor in your decision?
  • What could we have done to prevent you from switching companies?
  • What are three areas you think our company must improve in to prevent people in your role from migrating to other companies?
  • How could our company change to get you to return in the future?
  • Do you feel our company/product/services are heading in the right direction to stay innovative and competitive with the market? If no, then why?

What Did You Dislike Most About Your Job

Here it isthe flipside of the coin. Its time to share those not-so-great aspects of your position.

Maybe you hated having to coordinate the monthly board meeting. Perhaps your boss was a complete meddling micromanager. Or, maybe you think your entire department needs to be restructured in order to work more efficiently and effectively.

Nows your chance to be honest and share those complaints that you normally reserved for mutters under your breath and venting sessions over cocktails with friends.

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How To Conduct An Exit Interview

You only have a short amount of time during your interview so you need to make the most of it. Prior to the interview, create an agenda and determine who will conduct the interview. The agenda should contain the questions you plan to ask to help you gather vital information.

In Lucidchart, you can build an exit interview script that shows which questions to ask and how you can follow up certain responses to dig deeper into the issue.

Choose a neutral interviewerâsomeone who can ensure that the information gathered is candid. Donât assign the exiting employeeâs direct supervisor to conduct the interview, as this may intimidate the employee and cause them to be less honest with their feedback.

When the exit interview process begins, youâll want to explain a few things to the interviewee to ensure theyâre comfortable:

  • State the purpose of the interview. The whole point of talking to the employee is to get their perspective on the company, as well as identify areas where the company can improve.
  • Explain that the interview is confidential. The interviewee will feel more comfortable when they understand that their feedback wonât become office gossip.
  • Encourage the employee to summarize their experience first. This tactic allows you to get some of your questions answered before you begin, so you can spend more time discussing more important questions.
  • What Opportunities Were You Given To Develop In Your Role


    The number one reason why people leave jobs is because of the lack of career growth opportunities. If employees feel there werent enough opportunities for development, its important to find out what development would look like for them. It could relate to gaining a promotion or simply being trained to learn new skills.

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    Putting It All Together

    If you had a wonderful working experience and really are leaving for a better fit or promotion elsewhere, then following this exit interview advice will be easy.

    If, however, you had a Powerpoint Payback presentation all fleshed out with graphs and photos depicting the state of affairs at your old job, it may be harder to give the professional, kind, positive exit interview described here.

    Take a deep breath, throw the Powerpoint into the bin, and spend some time developing a more positive headspace. You will be glad you did.

    For more information be sure to check out our two companion articles: how to quit your job and how to write a resignation letter!

    Good luck!

    How Was Your Relationship With Your Manager

    Research shows that Manager Behaviour is another common reason for employee resignations. Its natural for employees to feel uncomfortable answering this question. The interviewer should be sure to reiterate that their feedback wont affect their reference. They should also highlight that the feedback will be kept anonymous, or delivered in conjunction with other employees feedback .

    It may help if the interviewer normalises the question by saying that no matter who leaves the company, we always ask for feedback on their manager, including employees that have left my team.

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    What Are Some Ways You Feel The Company Can Improve

    When an employer asks this question, they want your honest opinion and are looking for suggestions. Stay positive, but share your ideas about how they can improve productivity, job satisfaction, and other key elements of their operations or your role. Your suggestions may range from compensation and worker benefits, a leader’s management style, or the resources you had access to.

    Providing constructive criticism helps your former employer understand what’s important to their employees and develop ways to improve workplace morale. Your answer to this question can benefit your former colleagues and the person replacing you in your role.

    Example: In my eight years working here, I can honestly say I’ve had a pleasant experience. However, I think the company should consider extending parental leave to allow new parents more time to be with their children. I also think the company culture could benefit from hosting more team-building activities. Diversity and inclusion initiatives would go a long way to making everyone feel welcome and valued.

    What Can We Do To Change Your Mind

    40 Best Exit Interview Templates &  Forms á? TemplateLab

    This can either be the first or the last question of your interview and can determine whether it was an effective exit interview.

    This open-ended question is asked in a very honest manner and how you answer will serve either as feedback or as an opportunity.

    Furthermore, know that this is where you have to get candid during the off boarding process. Answer as candidly as you can.

    For example, start by saying that you had a great time working there but you need to move on to a more lucrative or advanced new position. Plus, if it’s only about the salary, just say so openly.

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    What Is The Purpose Of An Exit Survey

    Employee retention is super important when running a small business. You want your time and resources to be focused on growing your income, not just on hiring new employees to fill gaps from previous ones quitting.

    So the purpose of an exit survey is to see what you can do better as a business owner. Conducting an exit interview is a great way to find out more about an exiting employees decision to leave.

    If you have a Human Resource department, theyll be especially interested in how to improve employee engagement by finding out potential issues.

    That way, you can use those employee exit survey questions to try and keep others around longer.

    Swap Polite Excuses And Vague Generalities For Actionable Insights By Asking These Questions

    In August almost 4.3 million people quit their jobs, setting a new record. But that record only held a month. Just-released numbers show even more people quit in September, a total of 4.4. million. The Great Resignation is not only not ending, it appears to be picking up steam.

    Which means that despite their best efforts, many businesses are going to lose good people in the coming months. Should companies send them on their way with an exit interview?

    Not everyone is a huge fan of sitting down with soon-to-be ex-employees for a heart to heart. Former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo famously likened the feedback you receive to that famed breakup cliché, “It’s not you, it’s me.”

    He has a point. While the idea of picking the brains of departing employees for brutally honest feedback sounds logical, humans don’t like delivering unpleasant truths. And the reasons a valued employee is leaving are almost always unpleasant for a company to hear. The result is sit downs that often devolve into generalities, small talk, and white lies. Answers along those lines might spare your feelings but they’re neither honest not actionable.

    So how can you wring actually useful insights to help you improve from employees on their way out the door? Experts and experienced leaders have a few ideas.

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    How To Learn From Exit Interviews

    Once you gather information from an exit interview, your next step is to discuss the findings with other decision makers and apply what you learn to how the organization operates. Here are some questions to guide the discussion:

    • How can you provide more of what departing employees enjoyed about working for your organization?

    • What culture improvements can you make across our organization?

    • What specific changes can improve employee experience, from onboarding new employees to supporting them throughout their journey?

    • What can you do to enhance employeesâ day-to-day experience of coming to work?

    • How can your organization become a place where employees achieve their career goals and bring their visions to life?

    • How can you improve the experience of your external customers, based on employeesâ insights, and even increase sales, revenue, or brand equity?

    Is There Anything That Would Have Changed Your Mind About Leaving

    Exit Interview: Questions To Ask Employer

    This exit interview question is purposefully direct and can help you get to the crux of why an employee has chosen to leave. Often, what would have encouraged an employee to stay is also the catalyst behind their reason to move on, and is worth examining further. For example, if an employee says they probably wouldnt have quit if the company offered more flexibility, then it might be time to explore a remote work policy, flexible start and finish times, unlimited vacation or other flexible work options.

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    Good Tools For Conducting Exit Interview Surveys

    While some traditionalists prefer to use a word doc for exit interview surveys, todays technology has a number of good options for streaming your exit interview process.

    Here are a few of our favorites:

    • Typeform: Typeform is an interactive survey tool that you can use to streamline your exit interviews. You can use conditional questions, and even customize surveys to match your brand. We like typeform because of its modern feel and functionality.
    • SurveyMonkey: SurveyMonkey is a popular, free survey tool that can be used to conduct exit interview surveys. We recommend it as a step-up from using word docs.
    • Checkster: Checkster is an enterprise HR survey tool. Checkster can be used by HR teams to streamline, standardize, and better leverage your exit surveys. Checkster offers detailed analytics into usage, and time spent by your former employee while completing their exit survey, as well as options for referrals.

    Why Do Companies Conduct Exit Interviews

    Companies conduct exit interviews so to hear an employees opinions about their job, supervisor, organization and more. An exit interview is a conversation between you and your employerlikely a human resources representative. This is an opportunity to discuss job satisfaction or offer feedback on policy and direction.

    Related: How to Find a New Job While Employed

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    Can You Talk About It In More Detail Any Specific Example

    These follow-up questions will help you get to the root of the problem if you think the previous answer was too vague or generic.

    For example, the employee may say they dont get on well with coworkers, but avoid mentioning the why, who, and how. You can encourage them to share more, but dont be too pushy.

    What Were Your Greatest Accomplishments And Greatest Challenges

    40 Best Exit Interview Templates &  Forms á? TemplateLab

    Anna Oakes, Quartz’s head of people, offers a related tip on keeping the conversation non-confrontational.

    “I would encourage it to be a dialogue about the highs and lows of the job, rather than focusing on the end point,” she advises, suggesting questions like, “What are you most proud of? What are the accomplishments that you were writing on your resume about this job? And what were some of the challenges you had to overcome that you’ve learned from?”

    This more positive spin isn’t just to spare people’s feelings. It’s a way around our natural reluctance to deliver negative feedback and can spur “a tremendous amount of feedback to the manager,” according to Oakes.

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    Did You Have Someone In The Company To Talk To Before You Leave

    You can use this question to examine your company culture and see if your employees can feel safe enough to talk to someone else in the company. If theyre afraid to raise their voices, there might be something going on that you dont know.

    And if they talk, chances are other employees have similar concerns. To avoid other people leaving, youll need to adjust your retention strategies.

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