10 Must-Ask Exit Interview Questions

Many employers view the exit interview as a mere formality, assuming they bother to perform one at all, but it’s is more important to the health of your business than you may think. The exit interview is an essential tool for understanding why employees leave and how they feel about the company. Regularly performing such interviews can illuminate your company’s inner workings, alerting you to burgeoning trends and helping you increase employee retention.

exit interview questions

To get you started, we’ve collected the 10 must-ask exit interview questions.

1. Why Are You Leaving Your Current Position?

Employees leave for a variety of reasons. They go back to school, start families, or try their hand at new careers. There’s not much to do but to wish them luck and mean it.

However, if you notice several employees leaving over procedures you control, such as work hours, company culture, productivity requirements, and so on—you’ll want to make changes to improve retention.

2. What Was The Best Part Of Your Job Here? / What Could Have Been Done Better?

You can’t ask one or the other; both are essential for a useful exit interview.

You’ll want to know what employees liked best about their experiences to enhance those qualities and harness them for recruitment. But don’t shy away from refining company practices. Such improvements can further employee retention, improve productivity, and create a more supportive work environment.

3. Was Your Job Presented Accurately When You Were Recruited?

Mission creep happens. Things change, unforeseen challenges arise, and top performers take valuable skills with them when they leave. But if exit interviews reveal a massive discrepancy between the jobs people do and those they were hired for, you’ll want to reassess your organization’s structure and hiring practices.

4. Were You Provided The Necessary Training And/Or Resources To Succeed In Your Position?

Any position or task will have a learning curve, but you want to ensure you’ve set your people up for success, even when faced with unusual or unforeseen challenges. If you find many employees answering this one negatively, it’s time reevaluate your training and upskilling programs.

5. Were You Provided With Clear Goals And Objectives?

Miscommunication is the death knell of productivity. If employees are stuck wondering what to do or how to do it, they waste time that could be spent moving toward the goal.

A few struggling employees may not be a red flag, but the more exit interviews that highlight a problem, the more worried you should be.

6. What Would You Change About Tthe Position?

You may think every position fits perfectly within the company structure, but remember that you’re looking from above. Employees who have worked these positions for years have an intimate understanding of their ins and outs. Take this opportunity to view the job from their perspective.

7. How Would You Describe The Company Culture? Was It Beneficial In Your Role?

Company culture is important. It motivates employees and promotes corporate values. But it can sometimes feel distinct from the workplace—i.e., we talk about cooperation during team meetings, but it’s all-for-one in the sales department. This question will help you understand if your ideal company culture is the reality.

8. Describe Your Supervisor’s Management Style. Did You Find It Effective?

Supervisors may produce results in spite of, not because of, their management style. Asking employees to assess that style gives you an understanding of how effective they are off paper. You can then use this information to help your supervisors reassess their management style and advance their professional development.

9. Would You Consider Returning To The Company? Why or Why Not?

Employees may not come back, but asking whether they would return demonstrates the value employees place on their relationship with your company. Employees will not disregard hard-earned relationships that bring value for them. This question shows if the value you place in your employees is reciprocated.

10. Anything You’d Like To Add Or Concerns You’d Like To Share?

Give employees a chance to speak freely. You never know: A random thought may be the catalyst that sparks long-lasting change. After all, they’re the ones leaving the company. What have they got to lose?

It’s important to remember exit interviews should be conducted for every employee that leaves the company. A negative response from one employee may not represent the true tenor of your company. By interviewing everyone, you’ll receive a candid look at your operations, as well as a data set you can use to build lasting, meaningful improvements. These benefits make the exit interview an indispensable tool for successful companies.

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