When an employee decides to leave a company, it is good practice for the employer and the employee to have an exit interview. With the right exit interview questions, this is an excellent way for an employer to gain insight into how their employees feel about everything from their salary, and work culture to company benefits and management. It is an opportunity for an employer to re-evaluate and recognise both the positives and negatives of their company and management. An exit interview should help in finding the root of an employee’s departure allowing you to assess to what extent the company contributed to it. However, it can be hard to know what the best and most appropriate questions are to ask as an employer. To help we have put together 26 of the best exit interview questions to ask.
Exit interviews are an important practice between employers and employees for several reasons. Firstly, they can help lower employee turnover and strengthen the recruitment process. According to an article in Gallup Business Journal experts estimate that the cost of losing an employee is “anywhere from tens of thousands of dollars to 1.5-2.0 times an employee’s annual salary”. As well as this the 2023 State of the Global Workplace Report found that “51% of currently employed workers say they are watching for or actively seeking a new job.” Therefore, exit interviews allow employers to take note of their employee’s concerns and implement better practices for the future, overall decreasing staff turnover. Exit interviews show gratitude and appreciation for an employee, as an employer is taking the time to listen to their concerns. It also allows an employer to explain their views on specific situations and company practices.
How to conduct an exit interview
Ideally, an exit interview should be conducted by a member of HR. This ensures the employee feels comfortable speaking about any issues and why they have chosen to leave. If the company does not have a HR department, a member of management who is not the employee’s line manager should conduct the meeting. A custom survey could also be created, allowing the employee to feedback in their own time and anonymously if preferred. emPerform’s survey builder provides an easy way to create and launch your survey, and its powerful reporting allows you to quickly extract and analyse survey results.
When deciding when to schedule the interview, consider the employee’s final week at the company. This will give both the employer and employee enough time to consider the questions they want to address. Although the exit interview could take place once the employee has officially left the business, the sooner an employer understands why the employee has left the quicker they can make changes within the company. Therefore, it is best to arrange it as soon as possible.
It’s important to put the employee at ease. Explain why you are having the interview to ensure they understand that the meeting is to have a positive outcome for you both. Taking a moment to emphasise the aim is to make beneficial changes to the company, should encourage the employee to give honest feedback.
Exit Interview Questions
Exit interview questions may vary depending on an employee’s position. If they were in a leadership role, the questions would be different than for someone who was an intern. Use the below questions as a template and adjust according to the guidelines of your company. Make it clear to the employee that they are not obliged to answer any questions they don’t feel comfortable with.
Reasons for Leaving
- Why did you decide to leave the company?
- Did you have any issues with management?
- Did you have a good relationship with your peers?
- Did you feel recognised for your accomplishments?
Role specific questions
- Do you feel your job description changed throughout your employment?
- Do you feel you were trained adequately to fulfil your role?
- Did you receive relevant and frequent feedback to help you improve?
- What did you like about your work? What did you not like about your work?
- What qualities should we look for in your replacement?
- How satisfied were you with your workload?
- What about this role didn’t align with what you are looking for?
- How satisfied were you with our hybrid working opportunities?
- Do you feel our company/product/services are heading in the right direction to stay innovative and competitive with the market?
- Do you have any suggestions for improving employee morale?
- Would you recommend others to apply for a position here?
- Would you ever consider returning to the company?
- How can we improve as a company?
- Did you feel the job allowed you to have a good work life balance?
- Did you feel you had the resources to succeed in your role here?
- How would you describe the work culture here?
- What part of our company culture did you enjoy the most?
- What aspects of company culture do you feel need improvement?
- What prompted you to look for a new job?
- What were the most important factors in choosing another job? Salary? Benefits? Time-off? Company culture? Something else?
- What does your new position offer that we didn’t?
- What are you most excited about regarding your new position?
Good practices to remember
- Listen carefully and ask the right questions
- Ask the employee to give examples and elaborate on answers
- Encourage transparency
- Guide the conversation
- Take notes
- Exit interviews should be between 30 and 60 minutes to give enough time for both parties to state their feelings.
- Notice non-verbal cues- body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice. Don’t force an employee into answering any questions with which they aren’t comfortable.
- Ask open-ended questions
- Be prepared for negative responses
- Give the employee the opportunity to address any other comments or issues they have.
- End the interview positively
Overall, if a departing team member is willing to have an open and honest conversation about their time at the company, take action based on the feedback and use it to lower staff turnover and improve employee satisfaction.
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