Apr 6, 2023
5 min read

15 Exit Interview Questions to Ask for Valuable Insights

In this article:

An employee can decide to leave your organization for various reasons. It could be they got a better job offer or their compensation package was insufficient. Whatever the reason, you can find out by using exit interview questions. 

Unfortunately, high attrition is on the rise. Gartner states that the US annual turnover rate will likely jump by almost 20% from the pre-pandemic yearly average. If you don't find out why employees leave, it could lead to critical issues affecting your future talent, the company's bottom line, and performance.

In this article, we've highlighted the best exit interview questions to gather honest feedback and use the insights to improve employee retention. 

Firstly, we'll begin by explaining the basics of an exit interview. 

What is an exit interview?

women conduct exit interview

Image source: Freepik

An exit interview is an inquiry process to discover why people leave your organization. Ideally, you conduct an exit interview after an employee has handed in their notice, not the day they physically leave the office. 

The goal of asking exit interview questions is to identify trends in why people leave and to create an action plan to prevent the issues from affecting current and future employees. 

Exit interview questions to improve organizational performance

Asking the right interview questions is crucial to get high-quality answers and more nuances about an employee's decision to leave. 

Here are the 15 best exit interview questions to ask employees leaving the company. 

1. What is your main reason for leaving the organization?

Sometimes, what you think will prompt employees to leave might differ from what they have in mind. The best way to find out why people leave your company is to ask them. 

2. What caused you to start searching for another job? 

While this question might seem similar to the previous question, it serves a different purpose. It focuses on the employee's wants and desires within the new job. If there's something else they're searching for outside your company, it'll be worth it to find out and consider bringing it to your business. 

3. How did you feel about your workload and job responsibilities?

This question examines how the employees perceived their workload and responsibilities and its possible effect on their leaving. Find out whether the job responsibilities are clear or if your employees have too much on their plate.

4. What challenges did you experience when working with your manager? 

Asking this question will help you identify flaws in your management processes and determine when to implement additional training in your company. 

5. Would you consider returning to our company? 

Rehiring top talent might be an option if you can fix the issues affecting the employee's work experience. Find out if the former employee is open to returning to their position and any other suggestions they may have. 

6. Did you receive enough meaningful feedback? 

Constructive feedback is crucial to improve an employee's job performance and well-being. According to Gallup, employees who receive "meaningful feedback" are almost four times more likely than other employees to be engaged.

Find out if a lack of feedback is a significant driver for your employee's decision to leave. 

7. Did you feel you had all the necessary tools and resources to succeed at your job? If not, how could it have been better? 

This exit interview question will help you identify inadequacies, poor tools, and resources that could have prevented employees from succeeding. The answers could range from outdated tools to uncomfortable office temperatures. 

8. How would you describe the organization's culture? 

The way employees view your organization's culture can vary across different departments. Find out if your company culture makes employees feel valued, motivated, and engaged.

9. Have you ever experienced any discrimination or harassment within the workplace? 

Any form of harassment or discrimination is a serious issue that you must address correctly in the workplace. If an employee reports such a case, find out why and how it occurred. 

10. On a scale of 0-10, how likely would you recommend the organization to a friend or family member and why? 

In an ideal scenario, an exiting employee would choose a number closer to 10. However, the reality is that a departing employee may be dissatisfied with certain aspects of the previous position, hence making them less likely to talk positively about your company. If an employee wouldn't recommend your company to a friend, you need to find out why and fix the issue.

11. Did you feel your accomplishments were recognized throughout your work experience?

Recognition motivates and fuels an employee’s productivity. If your employee feels their efforts and contributions were not appreciated, it could trigger their decision to leave your company. 

12. What can the organization improve on?

This question may prompt the departing employee to share suggestions on areas they think the organization lacks. It could be the compensation package, work environment, or assigned tasks. 

13. How would you improve team morale?

Asking questions about team spirit provides an opportunity to get the employee’s opinions on possible team-building ideas. Since the departing employee more likely knows the condition of the whole team, they’ll be able to offer insights into how you can improve team morale. 

14. How fairly or unfairly do you think this company treats all its employees?

It's essential to get your former employee’s perception of how your organization treats employees. If the employee thinks your company doesn’t treat its employees fairly, it is a matter to address. 

15. Do you have any other issues or comments you’d like to address?

This question allows the employee to address any issue you did not raise in other questions. If the employee comments on a topic that poses an issue in your company, it's better to address the problem rather than allow it to fester and spread throughout your organization. 

Importance of asking exit interview questions

men conduct exit interview

Image source: Freepik

Allowing employees to leave your company without their reasons can mean missing out on valuable information that could impact business performance. Read on to learn why asking exit interview questions is crucial for your organization. 

Valuable insights on employee experience

You can get honest feedback from an exiting employee with the right exit interview questions. Are your employees paid well enough? Do they face discrimination in the workplace? How do they feel about company culture, job responsibilities, and work environment? These questions will help you gain valuable insights into the overall employee experience in your business. 

Improved management & better organizational performance

When you take the time to get honest feedback from a departing employee, you can discover areas of your organization that need improvement. For instance, if an exiting employee explains they didn't get adequate tools and resources to succeed, you can use the insight to improve business management and performance. 

Lower attrition rates

The insight you get from the exit interview process can help improve organizational performance and well-being, lowering attrition rates and increasing employee retention. 

How to conduct an exit interview

Conducting a successful exit interview is possible if you apply the right strategies. Here are some tips to get started:

1. Have a goal

As much as an exit interview process is for finding out the reason behind your employee's decision to leave, you still need to set specific goals that will uncover valuable information. 

Here are some examples of goals to consider: 

  • To end the employee/employer relationship in a constructive and positive way 
  • To gain first-hand information on the work environment, company culture, salary, management, and team
  • To discover if an exiting employee will promote your organization to other people 

2. Encourage honest feedback

When asking exit interview questions, you need to encourage the former employee to provide honest feedback so you can get the highest quality of information. Maintain a positive attitude and ask your former employees to give you honest feedback on the following: 

  • Reasons for leaving
  • Their perspective on their responsibilities 
  • Salary
  • Company culture 
  • Growth opportunities 

3. Ask tough questions

While you'll want to be as considerate as possible during the interview process, you must ask tough questions, especially the ones that highlight potential breakdowns within your organization. 

4. Automate the process

Using an automated system like an employee feedback platform can help reduce the workload of the exit interview. 

5. Analyze data

It's crucial to analyze exit interview data to gain valuable knowledge of business management, including flaws in your hiring process and workflows. For instance, you analyze data by performance levels, role, and management.

6. Track trends

It would be best to track trends to spot patterns over time. You can measure improvements using KPIs like:

  • Staff turnover costs
  • Attrition rates 
  • Retention rates

7. Prepare an action plan

After you have analyzed your interview data, you must create an action plan on how you intend to improve retention and the experience of current and future employees.

8. Thank the employee

Thanking the employee can go a long way in maintaining a positive attitude before and after the interview process. Saying words like "we're sorry to see you go" or "we're grateful for the work you've done with us" can positively impact the employee. 

Conclusion

The insight from a former employee who shares honest feedback on their experience in your work environment can help you address issues before they become more significant problems. 

As you create your strategy for your exit interview questions, focus on getting the employee's perspective on your company's culture, management, salary, and responsibilities in the workplace. 

When you dedicate time to interviewing departing employees, you'll be able to improve employee morale and create better growth opportunities in your organization. 

FAQs: Exit Interview Questions

What are five typical questions asked during an exit interview?

The most common exit interview questions include:

  • What is your reason for leaving? 
  • How did you feel about your job responsibilities and workload?
  • Would you recommend our company to a colleague or friend? 
  • Was your compensation package (salary + benefits) sufficient? 
  • What inspired you to look for another job? 

How long is an exit interview?

A typical exit interview takes 60-90 minutes. 

What does a good exit interview look like?

A good exit interview does the following: 

  • It encourages honest feedback from the employee 
  • It includes tough questions 
  • It uses an automated system to reduce the workload and improve efficiency 

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