Top 8 Exit Interview Questions And How To Answer Them
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated July 22, 2022 | Published June 21, 2021
Updated July 22, 2022
Published June 21, 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
As a standard practice, many employers conduct exit interviews at the end of their employees' employment tenure. Exit interviews help employees learn about why their employees have chosen to leave. They also provide insight into their overall experience with the company.
If you resign from your job, your current employer could schedule an exit interview with you. An exit interview allows you to offer suggestions and feedback to your employer on areas they need to improve. In this article, we discuss the most common exit interview questions and provide example responses to help you prepare.
Most common exit interview questions
An exit interview is an open discussion between an employee and their employer. Organizations conduct exit interviews to get an employee's view about their company and feedback on what they do well and what they could do better.
There are some common exit questions that your current employer might ask when you resign. Taking part in an exit interview is not mandatory, but it's an opportunity to outline why you've chosen to part ways. Regardless of your reasons, maintain a professional and thoughtful tone when providing feedback. Your comments may lead to some improvements for your colleagues and future hires.
Here, we delve into the top eight exit interview questions and how to answer them:
1. What motivated you to search for another job opportunity?
Typically this is the first question in an exit interview. Your response provides the employer with a broad understanding of what made you choose to resign. This interview question differs from other types of interviews because the employer is ready to receive potentially negative feedback. In asking this question, your employer wants to uncover your motivations for leaving and whether they could have done something different.
There are several reasons for leaving a job. You could be moving away or wanting to pursue further education. You could simply feel that your current employer isn't right for you and your long-term career goals. This question gives your employer an idea of what they can change to keep their top talent. Your answer to this question should articulate your reason for leaving your current role.
Example: “I've enjoyed working here over the past three years. I have learned plenty of valuable skills since starting with this company, but I feel it's time for me to pursue a new role. This position has been instrumental in helping me hone my scheduling and computer skills, but I don't see any more room for career growth here. I want to continue strengthening my abilities and expanding my experience by going in a new direction.”
2. What do you think of our company?
The exit interview question gives you a chance to elaborate on how you see the organization from your unique point of view as an employee. Its important to remain objective, realistic and fair when giving your feedback. Remain positive when responding, and share with your employer constructive criticism they can use to improve.
Example: “I appreciate how the management team has guided me in my role. However, I believe there's still room for improvement in providing career development opportunities. Sometimes, the company's management underestimated my capabilities to take on more responsibility, and I've been feeling stagnant. Ultimately, I think the current management team needs to focus on empowering new employees. I think this would encourage new talent to offer new and more innovative ideas for adding value to the company.“
3. Describe a time you took pride in your work.
This question gives you time to provide a positive memory of your time with the company. No matter your reason for exiting your job, you can always draw an example of a time you worked hard and took pride in the company or the role.
Example: “There were many times I was proud of my work here. One instance was when working on a project that took longer than we expected. However, my dedication was crucial in contributing to the completion of the project, ultimately impressing the client. I took pride in being a member of a strong team committed to serving the client's needs.”
4. Do you feel this company supported your ideas and career?
Employers ask this exit interview question to determine whether their employees' expectations were met. This gives you the opportunity to voice your personal opinions about how well your employer lived up to your expectations.
In your response, discuss how the company helped you advance your career and whether you felt supported. Recall a time the company provided training to help you develop skills or let you take on larger projects or more responsibilities. If you think the company could offer more opportunities to existing and future employees, now is the time to provide suggestions.
Example: “I'm thankful for the opportunities you offered in supporting my career and furthering my experience and knowledge. I feel I've built a professional foundation here that I can use for other roles in the industry. I've found another position I believe I can continue to learn from and grow in, which is why I've chosen to leave. I felt supported by the management team and appreciated the independence and extra responsibilities you trusted me with."
5. Would you recommend our company to others seeking employment?
Be straightforward and honest while answering this exit interview question. Explain why you would or wouldn't consider recommending another job seeker to the company. Use your answer to offer suggestions on how to make the role or workplace more attractive to potential employees.
Example: "It would depend on the candidate's career goals and the position they were interested in at the company. I would recommend this organization to entry-level candidates looking to build a solid foundation in marketing because there's so much support from the team. I also believe the senior staff are experienced and did an outstanding job of providing leadership and guidance to their employees. However, I feel that the company would be more suitable to prospective employees if you had a more competitive salary or attractive benefits package."
6. Would you consider changing your mind and continuing to work with us?
An employer may ask this exit interview question to see if there's anything they can do to retain you as an employee. Considering this question beforehand will allow you to provide a confident answer. If a promotion or salary increase would change your mind, you can be honest about the other opportunity at your new company.
If you're not interested in staying, make that clear without closing the door to future opportunities. Maintaining a positive working relationship with past employers is vital for building your professional network.
Example: “In my five years working with this company, you provided me with great learning opportunities and valuable skills. I loved working with the team and enjoyed coming to work every day. However, there are more career development and learning opportunities in my new role. I would always be open to working here again in the future under the right circumstances. But for now, I'm confident in my decision to take on a new role with a new organization."
Related: How to Quit a Job the Right Way
7. What criteria did you use when seeking a new employer?
How you answer this exit interview question gives your current employer insights into why you're choosing to work at a new company. Share the reasons for leaving the job and what appealed to you about your new position. For example, you may be interested in working for a smaller organization or an office closer to your house. You can also discuss your salary expectations and other variables that factored into your decision.
Example: “My new employer provides additional training opportunities to help me advance my career. The smaller team structure allows me to work more closely with experienced managers and learn from them in a way I couldn't in my role with this company. I see more opportunities for promotions in my new position.”
8. What are some ways you feel the company can improve?
When an employer asks this question, they want your honest opinion and are looking for suggestions. Stay positive, but share your ideas about how they can improve productivity, job satisfaction, and other key elements of their operations or your role. Your suggestions may range from compensation and worker benefits, a leader's management style, or the resources you had access to.
Providing constructive criticism helps your former employer understand what's important to their employees and develop ways to improve workplace morale. Your answer to this question can benefit your former colleagues and the person replacing you in your role.
Example: “In my eight years working here, I can honestly say I've had a pleasant experience. However, I think the company should consider extending parental leave to allow new parents more time to be with their children. I also think the company culture could benefit from hosting more team-building activities. Diversity and inclusion initiatives would go a long way to making everyone feel welcome and valued.”
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