Exit interviews are a valuable window into employee turnover. Incorporating an effective exit interview process into your employee separation routine will help you uncover valuable information regarding your employee relations from the employee’s perspective.
Not sure what to ask your departing employees? Here's a list of common exit interview questions to get you started. You'll want to tailor these to the specifics of your organization, but this is a good place to start.
Exit interview questions
Mix and match these powerful questions to gather constructive feedback that you can use to improve the work environment for current and future employees.
- Why have you decided to leave the company?
- Did any specific events cause you to start looking for a new job?
- Are there any other reasons for your departure that you'd like to add?
- Did you share your concerns with your supervisor or anyone else prior to accepting your new position?
- What ultimately led you to accept your new position?
- How did you feel about your position in our company? Was it what you expected?
- What aspects of your role here did you enjoy and value the most?
- What aspects of your role here did you find the most challenging?
- Did you feel your role here was well-defined with clear expectations? If not, what was missing?
- Can you describe your relationship with your manager?
- Were you satisfied with the way you were managed?
- Can you describe your relationships with other members of your department?
- Do you have any suggestions or advice to help your team/your department work more efficiently in the future?
- Did you feel that you were properly equipped to fulfill your role and responsibilities?
- Was there any training or other development opportunities that you felt were missing for you to be successful in your role?
- Did you receive sufficient feedback on your performance?
- What was your experience of the performance review process like?
- Did you have clear goals and objectives?
- Do you have any feedback on our company procedures or policies? Were they clear and easy to follow, or were they confusing and inconsistent?
- Do you have any suggestions to help us improve our workplace or policies?
- How would you describe our company culture or employee morale right now?
- During your time with us, did you experience any big changes that personally affected your role or your feelings towards the company as a whole?
- Would you consider working here again in the future?
- Would you recommend the company as a good place to work at?
- Do you have any additional feedback you'd like to share that we haven't touched upon already?
Download these questions in our exit interview template below.
Exit interview tips
Remember that the purpose of conducting an exit interview with your outgoing employee is to uncover the truth about their reasons for leaving, and spot potential problems in terms of employee engagement and employee satisfaction.
You’re asking them for their honest feedback, not just what you want to hear. There are no wrong answers to these questions. Instead, their feedback will stand alone as a record of their personal employee experience.
Each departing employee will have their own story to tell, but an effective exit interview will help to uncover common threads contributing to your employee turnover. By asking these open-ended questions, you’ll have the data you need to make changes for your current employees and improve your employee retention overall.
If you’re having trouble getting to the root of the problem, use the 5 Whys Technique.
Ask the person an initial open-ended question and see what they say. Once they answer, rephrase what they’ve said as another why question. This will automatically cause them to reflect a little deeper. Once they respond to that, repeat the process and ask them why again until you’ve completed the cycle 5 times. You may be surprised at the details you’ll uncover.
Remember, the interview should never be undertaken by the direct manager of the exiting employee. Exit interviews are best carried out by a member of the human resource department.
If you're new to the exit interview process, be sure to check out our article on How to Conduct an Exit Interview for a deeper dive into exit interview best practices.
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