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8 Exit Interview Questions that You Should Ask

Outgoing employees can offer companies a wealth of insight into the employee experience, expose potential weaknesses in your organization’s processes and culture, provide an evaluation of management and share suggestions for improving employee retention. Often employees feel more comfortable giving honest feedback when they’re leaving an organization and know their responses won’t colour their standing with the company, which makes exit interviews a crucial step in the offboarding process.

Here are a few exit interview questions to help you get the most value from these conversations.

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1. What prompted you to begin searching for another opportunity?

This question will help you determine which opportunities or perks your company could be offering to attract and retain top talent. For example, if you notice exiting employees often say they’re leaving because there wasn’t enough opportunity for advancement, it could be a sign that managers aren’t properly addressing their employees’ career aspirations

2. Do you feel your manager gave you what you needed to succeed?

From training and software to one-on-one meetings and performance reviews, managers have a responsibility to make sure each of their team members has the tools and feedback they need to excel in their role. It’s important to know if employees feel abandoned in any of these areas so it can be addressed with the manager.

3. What did you like the best and least about your job?

This exit interview question will help you identify what might get future candidates excited about the role, as well as how to set the right expectations for the position. For example, if an exiting employee says they were unhappy with how often they had to travel, you’ll want to make sure the next hire is comfortable with frequent travel.

4. Do you think your job has changed since you were hired?

Job roles often change based on the fluctuating needs of the department or the company. Sometimes these changes demand a different set of skills than the position initially required and can make current employees less enthusiastic about their work. Hearing how a role has changed will provide you with critical details to include in the job description to make sure your next hire is well-suited for the new demands.

5. Did you feel your achievements were recognized throughout your employment?

Recognition is crucial to the employee experience. When employees know the company notices and values their contributions, it improves motivation, fuels productivity and can decrease turnover. If an employee doesn’t feel their efforts were appreciated, this could be part of the reason they’ve chosen to leave.

6. What suggestions do you have for the company? How could we improve?

From suggestions about management style, compensation and benefits to which snacks to stock in the kitchen, it’s important you consider all feedback. While you may not be able to make all proposed changes, knowing what employees find important will help you determine how to improve workplace morale.

7. Is there anything that would have changed your mind about leaving?

This question is purposefully direct and can help you get to the crux of why an employee has chosen to leave. Often whatever an exiting employee says would have encouraged them to stay is also the catalyst behind their reason to move on, and is worth examining further. For example, if an employee says they probably wouldn’t have quit if the company offered more flexibility, then it might be time to explore a remote work policy.

8. Would you recommend this company to a friend? Why or why not?

Even though they ultimately decided to leave your company, former employees can be excellent referral sources. In an ideal world, every exiting employee would answer “yes” to this question – but the reality is there may be some who are so unhappy with their experience that they wouldn’t feel comfortable referring their contacts. In this case, you want to identify the issues and make corrections as quickly as possible.

An exit interview offers employers a unique opportunity to get honest and open feedback that could help improve the experience for current and future employees. Using these exit interview questions will help you glean valuable information about why employees choose to leave, and give you a roadmap for how to improve retention and keep employees happy long term.

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