Exit Interview Questions To Ask Before Talent Walks Out The Door
A list of must-include questions for HR professionals to ask leaving employees.
As a Human Resources practitioner, drawing up a list of exit interview questions can be a pretty sad errand. After all, it means that one of the employees you worked hard to source has decided to leave the company.
An exit interview is a vital part of the employee offboarding process. In fact, we could go as far as calling it one of the most important moments in the entire employee life cycle. Asking the right exit interview questions can provide your company with invaluable insights on company culture, retaining top talent, work environments, and more.
Lets take a look at the must-include questions to ask departing employees and what they can teach you about your company.
Make The Most Of An Employees Departure
Departing employees are as much a part of everyday life as new ones. Businesses and people change, and a bit of change does everyone good.
Nevertheless, it is rarely an enjoyable experience when someone leaves. Structured exit interviews can help you to make the best of the situation.
You gain important insights on how to better retain your employees, and you get to part company with your employee on the best possible terms. Everybody wins, and for that reason, employee exit interviews are a must for every HR department.
How Did This Position Align With Your Expectations
Employees will feel more satisfied with their roles when you create an accurate description of the job. While talking to a departing employee, you can get a sense of how well your job description met their expectations. If you learn that the role didnât meet their expectations, you may want to edit your job description to ensure youâre attracting the right people.
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What Skills Do You Think Someone Else Would Need To Take On Your Role
No-one knows more about their role and responsibilities that an outgoing employee. This question could allow you to get a jump on your recruitment process and attract the best candidate for the position, as youll be able to target those with the perfect skills for the job. Make sure to ask to follow up questions about technical skills as well as personal attributes – fitting in with the company culture will be vital for the new team member.
Choose Your Interview Format
Giving your departing employees a questionnaire to fill out could be less time-consuming and help avoid some uncomfortable discussions. However, conducting a face-to-face exit interview has some benefits:
- You show that you care about your employees opinions by dedicating time to listen to what they have to say.
- You get the chance to have a less structured conversation that could result in unexpected feedback.
- You can end things on a personal, positive note.
Keep in mind, though, that your exit interview wont succeed if people feel forced to participate. Offer them an alternative like a questionnaire or a phone interview after they leave, if that makes them more comfortable.
There are many tools to help collect and analyze employee separation data. You can use tools like Culture Amp, E-exit interview, Beyond Feedback and Grapevine to customize your questions and spot trends.
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Questions Hr Should Ask During Exit Interviews
When an employee decides to move on, the company is losing a valuable resource. Exit interviews can be an essential asset to help businesses determine whether they’re doing all in their power to retain their employees.
However, the data collected in an exit interview depends on what questions the interviewer asks. Without the right impetus, there’s no way that the company can garner the information it needs to improve its employee retention. In a time where talent is difficult to find, a company needs to do all it can to keep what it has.
To help, 16 professionals from Forbes Human Resources Council examine some of the key questions the Human Resources department should include in exit interviews to make them worthwhile.
Members share some important questions to ask departing employees during their exit interview.
1. Did You Feel Valued And Appreciated?
A question HR should ask is, “Did you feel like you and your work were valued and appreciated at *company name*?” We’ve all heard the adage: “People don’t quit their job they quit their boss. It is human nature and part of the human psyche to need to be valued and appreciated by those we look up to. Taking the time to give specific and sincere appreciation to those who work for us is crucial in establishing productive tenure. – Brandon Batt, Savory
2. What Made You Look For A New Job?
When To Conduct Exit Interview Questions
Much like any other departure, there will be a mix of emotions. Companies can greatly benefit from this if they have a structure in place to let the exiting employee speak in a secured, private, and professional platform. The feedback can be positive or negative or usually a mix of both, but what makes exit interview questions and answers so valuable for companies is the honesty.
They might be forthcoming of things and facts that may not have expressed while being employed with the organization.
Some organizations conduct staff exit interviews immediately after the employee yields their resignation, but it is always a good practice to wait until the last few days of their employment. It is always advisable that the employee has complete knowledge of the entire process, and transparency is maintained in the process.
The organization would indeed expect a candid response from the employee, but if they are not walked through the process before the actual interview, the employee might feel overwhelmed about the entire process and not respond with utmost honesty. Therefore, organizations need to extensively plan such interviews to get maximum insights from the same.
You wont be able to learn much from exiting employees by simply having a one-on-one chat with them. When someone is moving on at any stage in life, it is usually better to hear from them through a different platform, a non-human platform where they can speak their mind and heart out.
If You Could Change Anything About Your Job Or The Company What Would You Change
Though you’ll likely gain a lot of insight throughout the exit interview, this question will help the employee to focus in on the biggest or most important reason they’re leaving your company. This is also a non-confrontational way to encourage them to reveal the real reason they’re leaving, as it isn’t asking what they didn’t like, but what they would change. It shifts their answer from a complaint to a suggestion, which many people feel more comfortable providing. Often, just the way we ask a question can make all the difference.
Why Are You Leaving The Company
Even if you already know the answer, asking allows you to probe for further reasons as to why an employee might be leaving your company. For example, you may have heard that Mary is leaving your company for a position with better pay. However, during Maryâs exit interview, she reveals that she struggled to get along with her manager. That insight gives you the opportunity to improve a managerâs leadership style, which can prevent more employees from resigning.
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The Ten Best Exit Interview Questions
The following ten questions have been designed as a widening funnel, starting very specific to the employee and then gradually widening out to encompass the entire company. Then at the end, we come back to make it about the employee again.
1. What prompted your decision to leave your position?
2. What could we have done to keep you with us?
3. Were your goals and objectives clear and manageable?
4. What was your relationship like with your manager?
5. Did you feel you were valued at our company?
6. How can we make your position better for your replacement?
7. What would make this a better place to work?
8. Would you recommend working at our company to your peers?
9. Would you consider working for us again in the future?
10. Do you have any other issues youd like to discuss?
Lets quickly examine the rationale behind each question.
What prompted your decision to leave your position?
An obvious question, sure, but note that we went with what prompted instead of why did you intentionally, so the hiring manager can get to the root of the moment that broke the camels back, so to speak. While its important to know if they were unhappy for a long time, it can be more actionable to know the specific reason the employee decided it was time to leave.
What could we have done to keep you with us?
A very actionable question. If many exit interviews have the same root answer then you know exactly what you need to fix to retain your talent.
Do You Feel That Theres A Good Balance Within The Workforce
Diversity can be a difficult topic to address but can be a contributing factor to employees deciding to make the move elsewhere. For example, if your team is weighted significantly towards one gender or the other, this can affect the experience of the minority group in the office. Hearing an outgoing employees opinion on this may affect your future hiring policy, so its worth taking the time to listen.
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Don’t Talk Too Much About Your New Job
You are leaving the company for a reason, and there is no harm in mentioning some aspects of your new position. However, avoid going overboard by keeping your responses simple. For example, you can mention higher pay, but you do not have to give an exact figure for your new salary or the specific perks that come with the job.
What Could We Have Done To Keep You Here
This question will often tease out more reasons why the employee felt dissatisfied with her job and started looking for another. Because you are asking a very direct question, you may get a series of direct answers. But that can be very valuable.
Answers like more pay, more benefits, more advancement, can reveal a lot when you correlate them with the employees term at your company. If she received regular raises but was still dissatisfied with her pay, maybe the raises need to more frequent.
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Dont Offer Too Little Too Late
An exit interview shouldnt be the first time employees are asked how they feel about working for you. If you want to make the exit interview process count, you should incorporate a constructive feedback culture among your employees from day one. Have frequent formal and informal discussions with your employees. That way, youre more likely to get honest, constructive feedback when employees leave. Relying on exit interviews alone is like only reading the last page of a book it simply doesnt make any sense without the rest of the story.
How Well Your Job Was Structured And If You Had The Appropriate Tools To Succeed
To what extent was your job meaningful and motivating, allowing you to do the work you most enjoy? Did your manager create opportunities for you to use your strengths? Youll also want to share the extent to which you felt your manager supported you and helped clear obstacles, and whether you felt like you had had the appropriate resources to do your job well. These include things like budget, people, and other tools, such as the appropriate software to make your job easier.
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Conduct The Interview In Person
Dont just send a link to an online survey. Employees are less likely to complete it and theyll have no motivation to go into the details that will truly make a difference.
For the best results, hold meetings in-person or, in the age of COVID-19, over Zoom. Dont involve people who might influence the employees feedback or could distract them, interfering with their speech.
Job Description And Responsibilities
Its essential to understand if the job role of the exiting employee was satisfactory and met their career expectations.
Do You Have Any Other Issues Or Comments Youd Like To Address
This is a very open-ended question, so it invites the employee to comment on topics that may not have been addressed in the other questions. Its also potentially volatile in that it can reveal things you werent aware of and may not want to hear.
But those things you werent aware of can fester and spread and infect your employees writ large, not just a select few. Better to get it out in the open now so you can make the necessary changes.
What Was Your Relationship With Your Manager Like
Your working relationship with your boss was probably the most influential in your daily work life, so your company wants to know the good, bad, and the ugly. What did your supervisor do well? How did you feel about his or her management style overall?
Be prepared to also provide some suggestions for ways he or she can improve. It might seem counterintuitive to say anything negative about your supervisorespecially when the dont ever complain about your boss rule has been ingrained in your memory for years. But its necessary feedback.
Again, just remember that you dont want to go off the rails and begin berating your boss. After all, much of your criticism will likely be relayed back to this person. So, when in doubt, keep it constructive.
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Proper Offboarding Is An Important Part Of The Employee Journey Thats Why Its Important To Know How To Best Conduct An Exit Interview And To Know Which Exit Interview Questions To Ask
Exit interviews can give you insightful information about your company culture and help you reduce turnover and improve employee retentionif you ask the right questions.
And asking the right questions is only one part of the equation. Your departing employees must give you honest feedback, which can only happen if you set up the right conditions for the exit interview.
Read on to learn the very best way to conduct exit interviews, including which exit interview questions to ask and who should be asking them.
The ideal time to schedule an exit interview is towards the end of the employees notice period, after theyve finished their final projects and documented their processes.
The exit interview should take place face-to-face, observing social distancing, or over video conference. However, if the departing employee isnt comfortable with either option, you can offer to do the exit interview over the phonebut note that youll miss out on important facial cues.
If you want to share the questions before the exit interview, put them in a survey format rather than just sending them over email. This way, you can follow up during the exit interview and ask for clarifications.
That said, if you want candid and raw answers, youre better off asking your questions only during the exit interview.
If You Would Go Out For A Drink With The Director Of Our Company What Friendly Advice Would You Give Him Regarding Employee Companies
This belongs to the group of funny exit interview questions. It would be most advisable to ask this question to employees with positive or objective opinions.
|Adds a friendly note in the communication.||Not adjusting the question to the character of the person could worsen the course of the interview.|
|It reduces tension and makes the employee feel important.||Sometimes the question can be taken too seriously.|
|It is unpredictable, so that we can expect honest answers and valuable advice.||Sometimes an employee does not look at this situation professionally, so it happens that the interviewer quickly loses control over the conversation.|
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How Was Your Manager
Why they ask it: Theres a saying: People dont quit jobs. They quit managers. And this is exactly what HR is trying to find out. Did you quit because of your manager?
How to answer it: If your manager was fantastic, say so. Thats a time for open praise and honesty. If, however, you and your manager didnt get along, that could be a time to keep things more general. You can go with something like, We didnt always see eye-to-eye, but we managed to succeed on multiple projects.
Do You Feel Your Manager Gave You What You Needed To Succeed
From training and one-on-one meetings to performance reviews and career development opportunities, managers have a responsibility to make sure each of their team members have the tools and feedback they need to excel in their role. This is one of the best exit interview questions, as it can reveal if employees feel abandoned in any of these areas so it can be addressed with their manager.
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