30 Top Exit Interview Questions
Looking for exit interview questions to ask or prepare for? Exit interviews aren't really interviews. They are meetings scheduled on behalf of a manager and a resigning employee toward their end of employment. Most commonly, an exit interview gets performed on the final day of employment for the employee.
It's customary for the manager to inform the resigning employee that the meeting is an exit interview. And it's best that the manager provide the employee with the exit interview questions, so they can prepare helpful answers in advance.
Trying to ask the questions in real-time and expect a well-thought-out answer isn't realistic. To conduct exit interviews efficiently, consider sending the questions in advance. And request for honest feedback regarding the reason for resigning.
What Are Exit Interviews?
Exit interviews are sessions where managers and resigning employees get the opportunity to share constructive feedback. Primarily, it's an opportunity for the manager to collect feedback on why the employee is resigning from the company. And obtain that information in order to better improve the job function in the future as well as the team.
An exit interview doesn't normally impact the employee negatively. Unless the feedback shared by the employee is brute or rude. And as long as the feedback is constructive. And has good consideration to the reasoning, it's often embraced by the manager and appreciated.
How exit interviews get conducted
Commonly, the interviews last about 30-minutes. And are scheduled in advance. With notice to the employee that the meeting will be their exit interview. Managers should collect and note all information shared by the employee for future reference. And it can assist the manager in explaining to their supervisor why an employee decided to leave.
This meeting often gets conducted in-person or through Zoom (or Slack). It's less commonly performed over the phone, where it can feel less personal.
Exit Interview Questions to Ask
Consider these exit interview questions.
1) What could we have done better as a company?
Asking this question can gather the right data about understanding the company environment from the employees' perspective. And whether the company could have done something to prevent the employee from resigning is important to find out. Was the employee seeking a new job simply because they felt there was no more upward mobility? Or was it disappointment with the environment? Ask the resigning employee and find out.
2) Can you explain what your main decision to leave was?
This interview question might be difficult for the employee to feel like it's okay to respond with something honest. Be sure to request honest feedback. And express that all shared information will get used with discretion. Knowing what motivator was the reason to leave can certainly help to prevent future employees from leaving.
3) What feedback do you have about the work environment?
This question can elicit feedback about how the employees work together. And might take the manager and the employee down another path as they start discussing. Often, a resigning employee will have constructive feedback about the work environment on their way out.
4) How would you describe your experience here?
It might not take the employee long to answer this question. It's important to find out. For a manager, they might have had one view of how they were conducting the environment. And what expectations they had about how the employees were receiving that direction. Allowing this question to sort of "check-in" on management performance.
5) How would you describe your employee experience here to others?
This question can solicit more honest feedback when the employee is choosing to be more reserved with their answers. Try to cover this question to see if the employee brings up anything significant.
6) What could we do "more of" in this company?
Asking in this format can ensure that the person considers what they appreciated about the work environment. And from there, they can share what's been enjoyable about it. Making it easier for managers to collect data on what doesn't need to be worked on.
7) How would you improve the position?
A great question for those who were high performers. And can be assistive in collecting the right information when hiring a replacement. It's important that this question is asked later in the session. As any information collected about what the employee did not prefer about the environment can be calibrated and considered inside this response. For example,
8) If you could change anything in this business, what would you change?
A manager may want to know what specific acts, processes, or meetings were unsatisfying for the employee. A question of this kind can solicit a polite way of asking what wasn't enjoyable. It could lead to responses that relate to the company culture, too.
9) What type of constructive feedback would you give the employees here?
The employee may want to think about their answer in advance with this question. The answer can offer keen insight into whether the employee felt isolated or unhappy with their coworkers. And whether that may have had a motivating factor in their decision to leave.
10) Did you get along well with your team members?
A more direct way of acting how many of their team members they felt they could collaborate with.
11) Did you receive constructive feedback that would help you do your job?
It's great to find out how communication is occurring within the work environment. A manager may want to keep track of communication that they don't have complete control over. From this data and insight, the manager might be able to encourage more team collaboration. Or create formats for soliciting communication or feedback amongst team members.
12) What changes would you make to improve the organization?
A great way to collect information and insights on how the organization is performing. Good questions like this can assist managers in providing feedback to their supervisors.
13) How would you improve the team that you worked with?
This question can provide insight into how the manager is performing. Sometimes a great question for vice presidents to ask high-performing employees as they resign. It can allow vice president-level employees to "check-in" on the performance of managers.
14) Would you recommend this job to a friend or family member?
Nothing significant might come from this question other than knowing more about the company culture. For an employee who doesn't feel like providing honest feedback about the culture, this question can be helpful.
15) What could your manager have done better?
A great question for supervisors, vice presidents, and CEO's who want to ensure their managers are performing to their highest abilities.
16) When did you know you wanted to start looking for another job?
This question can solicit information about specific instances that stood out to the employee as negative. Or as potential "culture shift" moments in the environment. This could come from restructuring. Or from job titles being changed. Or from a new manager.
17) Is there any part of our work process here that you feel needs to evolve?
Employee's who are particularly passionate about their work should have something to share about how the
18) How would you define your working relationship with your colleagues outside your team?
Are the employees coordinating with other departments? Are other departments not being collaborative enough? This question can assist managers and supervisors with inclusion. And ensure that employees are not leaving the business due to feeling uninvited to collaboration.
Additional Exit Interview Questions
- What do you think would make this a better place to work?
- Do you feel like this company has enough vision and leadership?
- Would you ever consider working here again?
- What benefits do you wish we had as part of our employee incentives?
- Do you feel like you had all the resources available to do your job well?
- Do you feel like your work expectations and goals were set appropriately?
- What types of goals do you wish were set for this position?
- Do you think you felt comfortable voicing your concerns about the company or about the projects you were involved in?
- Is there anything we could have done as a company to get you to stay here?
- Are you leaving because of salary or benefits?
- Do you think there's a cultural willingness for this company to evolve?
- How would you rate our work environment as a whole?
How to Avoid Employees From Leaving
Performing regular performance reviews and one-on-one meetings with employees can ensure that an exit interview is never something that comes up. Being able to act on feedback in real-time is better for managers. Be sure to schedule performance reviews according to the employee handbook provided to managers. And perform one-on-one meetings as necessary.
Manager's should be tracking employee satisfaction on a regular basis. Either through surveys, meetings, performance reviews, or other methods of interacting. This can improve retention rate in the work environment and prevent employee turnover rate (or sometimes referred to as "churn").
Our favorite resources are included below.
Job interview resources
- Common Interview Questions by Marquette University
- Prepare for Behavioral Interview Questions by Marquette University
- Preparing for Job Interviews by the University of Kansas
- Mock Interview Handbook by CSUCI
- Interview Guidebook by Lebanon Valley College
Resume and cover letter resources
- Writing a Resume and Cover Letter by USC
- Resume Writing Tips by the University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Resume and Cover Letter Guide by Harvard University
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