15+ Essential Exit Interview Questions (You Need To Know)

exit interview questions

As talented employees transition out of a role, it’s natural to wonder why. Maybe they got a new job offer or were looking to make a career move.

Although it may be too late for the employee who’s leaving, you can still learn how to improve your team dynamics and incentivize longer-term commitments when it comes to hiring a replacement?

Having honest feedback from former employees about company management and culture will help end things on a positive note. Also, remember that in an exit interview, an employee is more likely to speak candidly than existing staff members.

But how do you get such feedback? How will you gain your desired information? How can you conduct an interview that will highlight any underlying issues?

Essentially, it all comes down to the questions you ask.

In an exit interview, you can have deep and meaningful discussions about potential workplace problems and use it as an opportunity to make any necessary changes.

Let’s take a look at some of the best exit interview questions you might ask and look at how to use them to gain detailed answers from employees.

Table of contents
The best exit interview questions to ask
1. What prompted you to look for another job?
2. Did you feel valued at our company?
3. How would you describe our company culture?
4. Was your job description and role clear?
5. How was your relationship with the manager?
6. What factors influenced your decision to leave the company?
7. Have you shared your concerns with the company?
8. What was the best part of your job?
9. Which part of job did you like the least?
10. What’s the one thing you’d change about your job?

Collect feedback with JustFeedback

JustFeedback helps your business increase profits and reduce risk by improving your customer experience

The best exit interview questions to ask

Asking the right questions and gathering relevant data is essential when it comes to exit interviews. You should use this opportunity as a tool with which to address any issues your organization wishes to resolve.

For example, questions might be formulated to get a better understanding of benefits utilization or management involvement.

Your initial questions should be related to the root cause of a problem. Be careful not to make it too lengthy or generic. You need to focus solely on employee experience. Be specific and set clear parameters if your aim is to attain constructive feedback.

Your language should be non-judgemental and neutral. Don’t make your exiting employees feel like you’re trying to catch them out in a “gotcha” moment.

Make it a priority to try to understand the reason behind the resignation. This will help improve your retention strategies. Gather the data, identify any problems, and then solve them as quickly as possible.

Here are some examples of questions to ask:

exit interview questions, exit interview, exit interviews

1. What prompted you to look for another job?

Start your interview by asking about the root cause behind searching for an opportunity elsewhere. Use the exact words “what prompted” or “what led” instead of “why did you” because this will lead to identifying the specific reason for leaving.

They may have been unhappy for some time, but their answer to this question will lead to an open discussion.

Answers that include reasons for resignation e.g. moving, life circumstances, and retirement, are less likely to be related to the company. You need to find out if the reason behind the move is linked to a bad experience at the company in any way.

Use push factors and find out the reasons behind the initial dissatisfaction and their final choice. For example, employees may leave due to fewer career advancement opportunities or low pay rates.

If this is the case, you should consider your promotion strategies and salary structure for both current and future employees.

2. Did you feel valued at our company?

When it comes to job satisfaction, the feeling of being recognized is essential. Otherwise, employees may believe that their skills and talents are going to waste.

If the answer to this question from the departing employee is negative, other employees may well be feeling the same way. Ask follow-up questions about how they might feel more valued and/or better put to use.

You need to investigate and anticipate a problem before it becomes bigger. If your business is lacking employee recognition methods, take note.

So please don’t overlook or take your current employees for granted.

3. How would you describe our company culture?

You don’t need specific examples for this question but try to get a general idea of how the employee perceives the company. Company culture influences the productivity and well-being of employees. No organization is perfect.

You’ll get varied answers depending on the employee’s position and experience. A senior manager will look at things differently than ground staff.

With the data received from the answers to this question, you should be able to ensure that all employees feel the same culture irrespective of their rank or position.

You can utilize any positive responses and improve upon what they reveal. If the data collected uncovers any toxic trends, you’ll need to do some digging into your organizational culture.

Try to use this as an opportunity to take a fresh look and expand your horizons in terms of corporate culture.

4. Was your job description and role clear?

A clear understanding of milestones in terms of roles and settings is essential in order to boost employee productivity.

As a lack of clarity leads to low engagement and diminished quality. Ask your exiting employees how they feel about their role and the level of clarity that comes with it.

Examining burnout rates or feelings of being overworked can prevent unwanted turnover. You might also ask if the job description was changed after initial hiring.

Business needs are always fluctuating, and it’s no surprise if the responsibilities of employees have to be modified over time. Go ahead and ask if such changes made your employee feel less enthusiastic or unhappy in their job.

If there are any discrepancies, make a concerted effort to upgrade the skill-set description before restaffing. Another possible question at this point would be to ask if they felt they were properly compensated.

This will certainly help to gauge their satisfaction levels.

5. How was your relationship with the manager?

It is often said that employees leave due to their coworkers and/or direct boss. While this is not always the case, it’s a good idea to ask about the employee’s relationship with the manager during the exit interview process.

Provide them with a chance to speak freely in order to discover any instance of friction.

Managers are responsible for performance reviews, training, and development opportunities for employees. You need to discover if your employees feel underserved and what managers could have done to improve such a situation.

You can then discuss it directly with managers to prevent any future issues. Ask about the employee’s relationship with the team.

If a poor relationship with a coworker is the reason for an employee leaving, ask if other colleagues feel the same way. On the other hand, if you receive positive feedback about your managers and team culture, utilize this data to inspire other teams.

6. What factors influenced your decision to leave the company?

The question will direct your employees toward the reasons that acted as deal breakers in terms of their decision to leave your organization.

The answer will indicate any minor problems associated with the main reason(s). Whether they be big or small, you should examine all issues.

For example, if flexibility is the problem raised, you might want to introduce flexible start and finish times or a remote work policy for future employees.

Additionally, employees might want to move up in terms of their careers. In this case, you could try offering more career development opportunities.

7. Have you shared your concerns with the company?

The question will reveal a lot about company culture and whether employees feel comfortable voicing their opinions.

If the employee describes the culture as open and honest in the third question, yet hasn’t mentioned the concerns to others in the company, you will want to find out the reasons. It may be due to fear of reprisals or workplace retaliation or even a simple lack of confidence.

If concerns were reported, but left unresolved, consider designing some employee satisfaction surveys. You might also incorporate employee suggestion boxes to find out how your employees feel and fix any common issues to prevent a high turnover rate.

8. What was the best part of your job?

The answer to this question will vary depending on the personality of the employee. Try and identify any commont trends that emerge in the data and utilize similar descriptions in your new job post.

For example, maybe your employees appreciate the organization’s culture, work-life balance, or team atmosphere. Note these testimonials and put them on your website or social media platforms as promotional materials.

9. Which part of job did you like the least?

To find any areas lacking in terms of employee engagement, ask your exiting employees about the less attractive side of their job. They might be different depending on roles but don’t dismiss them. You need to identify any common answers and focus on reparation.

For example, if the employee didn’t like traveling, you could mention frequent travel requirements for new candidates. You should set the right expectations from the outset to improve employee retention.

10. What’s the one thing you’d change about your job?

To prevent a high turnover in the future, ask for honest feedback from the exiting employee. This answer will help you understand what changes are needed in the role.

Instead of hiring someone to take on a potentially volatile position, use this feedback to make any necessary changes.

You can also ask this question in a way that elicits empathy for the replacement hire. For example, “How would you make this position better for the new hire?”

No one knows the job better than the person leaving it. Ask your exiting employee to describe the perfect candidate for the role and utilize this information in the new job description and hiring process.

This will also help to create a productive environment and improve employee morale.

11. Would you recommend our company to family, friends, or your professional network?

You can analyze the extent of employee dissatisfaction from this exit interview question.

The question is essential in terms of your brand, as ex-employees can make or break your company’s reputation. If you receive a lot of “no” answers, this is a matter of concern, indicating a much bigger issue.

Ask some follow-up questions to dig further. Try to discover any company-related issues and delve into the employee’s reasons in order to gain a clear picture.

You want your former employees to be “happy leavers” as they could become referral sources for future candidates.

12. What are you most looking forward to at your new role?

If your employee leaves for a similar role in a competing organization, something might be amiss in your organization. The answer to this question may identify areas of concern.

For example, it could be better benefits, a higher salary package, flexible scheduling, a shorter commute, or career advancement potential. You should benchmark your pay scale if needed.

13. Do you have any suggestions for improving employee experience?

A wide range of feedback comments are important in terms of building better management practices. Whether they be about technological difficulties, compensation packages, management style, or even the coffee supplier, listen to them.

It’s not realistic to make a whole host of changes, but you can identify any room for improvement.

As you examine feedback results, look for similarities among the responses. With time, you will learn what fixes to prioritize. It is important to continually improve workplace morale and job satisfaction if you’re seeking to make your company a better workplace.

14. How can we improve our training and development?

A common reason for employees leaving is a lack of development opportunities. Employees feel that they aren’t growing or improving and are stuck in the same routine. Gather constructive feedback from your outgoing employees on this subject.

For example, if your employee feels they haven’t learned enough new skills, you could try incorporating modern software and making the training process more efficient. You could also implement new strategies to reduce the erosion of skills and improve retention.

15. Is there anything else you’d like to address?

Despite having a detailed exit interview template, there may be additional issues to discuss. This open-ended question will allow the exiting employee to air any grievances. Ask them to speak their mind and share constructive feedback.

You may get volatile results but try to gather actionable insights that will help make improvements within your company.

Other standard exit interview questions to ask

Along with the above questions, you might also want to ask some follow-up questions. Based on your preferences, you could even replace some of the above with the following.

Let’s take a look at some of the alternative best exit interview questions you might want to consider asking.

1. The reason for leaving

It’s not a good idea to ask the reason for leaving directly. Instead, you can use your words smartly to identify the issues and deduce a reason. You might try asking:

  • Did you find your job responsibilities achievable?
  • Were you satisfied with the pay and benefits package?
  • Did you find any challenges while working with your manager?
  • Were you enthusiastic about coming to work?
  • What could we have done to prevent you from leaving?
  • Would you consider returning under different circumstances?

2. Job responsibilities

To understand the employee’s experience of their role, you could ask the following questions to see how far their job truly met career expectations.

  • Did you have all the resources you needed to fulfill your role effectively?
  • How was your training experience after hiring?
  • Were you satisfied with the diversity of the tasks assigned?
  • What should we look for in a new candidate for a similar role?

3. The managers and team

According to the Gallup survey, 75% of voluntary turnover is caused by a manager’s influence. If you have an extensive number of employees leaving in the first 2-3 years, focus on their induction and representation.

Here are some questions to ask regarding team atmosphere and managers.

  • Did your manager make you feel valued and provide constructive feedback?
  • Did you exchange feedback and ideas with your manager?
  • What was the team atmosphere like?
  • How often did you have team meetings?
  • Would you like to give any advice to your team?

4. Work-life balance

A lot of people love the freedom offered by remote working. In a survey, 42% of workers mentioned that they would enjoy working at a company offering remote working opportunities.

Ask your employee (if you’re unable to identify the reason for their leaving) about this subject by asking the following questions.

  • Were you comfortable with the number of working hours?
  • Were you satisfied with the company’s leave/holiday policies?
  • Was it easy to handle any burnout from your workload?
  • Were you able to participate in personal events without work interruptions?

5. Development opportunities

If your company doesn’t offer upskilling and growth opportunities, the chances are that employees may leave after some time.

According to a Gallup survey, 32% of people leave their jobs for this very reason. To assess the situation, ask your exiting employees the following:

  • Were the training programs impactful in terms of professional growth?
  • How do you perceive the company’s innovation capabilities?
  • Did you explore any responsibilities beyond your primary role?
  • Was any feedback you received helpful in enhancing your skills?

6. Workplace and company culture

A positive company culture can inspire employees to work hard. But a toxic culture will only lead to reduced productivity and negative experiences. To find out where your culture stands, here are some questions to ask in your employee exit interviews:

  • Was your working environment safe or unsafe?
  • Did you face any harassment or discrimination at your workplace?
  • Was there healthy competition among employees?
  • How would you describe the overall morale and atmosphere within the company?

In Conclusion

Exit interviews provide valuable information about why you’re losing your talent. They might not matter to those who are leaving but conducting them will help you identify any organizational issues.

Prepare your questions, listen carefully to your leaving employees, and look for trends in the results. Take note of repeating patterns and do your best to enhance the experience of current employees.

If your aim is to improve employee retention, make performance reviews a routine procedure. This way, you can identify concerns before they become major problems. Ensure employee satisfaction and your business will run smoothly!

Want to know more? Check our FAQ below!

How many questions should be asked in an exit interview?

You should ask around 10-15 questions within the time span of 40-60 minutes. If your employee is less forthcoming and only gives you brief answers, try asking follow-up questions in order to initiate a discussion.

Keep in mind that your interview should focus on subjective opinions and be ready to forgo your questions if sensitive topics are brought up.

What should you avoid asking in an exit interview?

At the exit interview, the employee is parting ways with you, so it’s better to have a beneficial discussion rather than to try to point score. Try to keep the discussion friendly and focused on constructive feedback.

Don’t bring up subjects such as: “Who don’t you like in the company?” or “How would you run the following project?”. Bringing up negative points is difficult, but communication is key.

Prevent any blanket statements and focus on the task at hand. Don’t feel the need to apologize to the employee for any bad experiences. Acknowledge the issue, but don’t get defensive.

How to analyze an exit interview?

Once the exit interview is terminated, it’s time to assess the results with policymakers and staff operations. Compile your answers and try to find the common theme and issues uncovered.

At the same time, try to get an idea of other people’s perspectives and team atmosphere. Compare your findings with other interviews and attempt to find common patterns.

This will make it easier to make the necessary decisions in improving employee satisfaction.

🚀 Collect feedback with JustFeedback customer experience survey tools Start For Free