Exit Interview Questions to Ask Employees Leaving Your Organization

Hiring or firing an employee is costly, so a company should know what they can do to retain their employees. One of the best ways to find out the answers is to conduct an exit interview.

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Exit Interview Questions to Ask Employees Leaving Your Organization

When an employee leaves your organization, you may want to understand what prompted their decision to leave.

Hiring or firing an employee is costly, so a company should know what they can do to retain their employees. One of the best ways to find out the answers is to conduct an exit interview.

The responsibility lies on Human Resource (HR) managers to conduct exit interviews. As such, HR should have effective meeting agendas to ensure the purpose of the meeting is achieved.

We'll review some of the exit interview questions you should ask to understand what you can do better as a company.

Let's jump right into it!

In this article, we’ll be covering the best exit interview questions, allowing your team members to get the maximum benefit from this often overlooked meeting type.

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1. What Prompted Your Decision to Leave the Company?

Even though this may seem like an obvious question, it is important. The aim is to get to the root of the soon-to-be ex-employee reason for leaving. If they say they were unhappy, ask the specific cause of their unhappiness.

2. Did Your Goals and Objectives Align?

Sometimes the reason could be that employees didn't have a passion for their job. This question aims to understand more about their position and why they did not enjoy it.

According to Harvard Business Review, when ex-Facebook employees were asked their reasons for leaving, most reported that it was due to their dissatisfaction with their jobs.

The question will also help you better understand the employee's experience with their superiors.

3. How Was Your Relationship with Your Direct Supervisor?

57% of employees leave an organization because of their supervisors. You need to also ask about their relationship with their coworkers. Asking this question will help you understand how to tackle a situation with a horrible boss or coworker.

It is also important to ask who these people are and prevent other people from leaving because of the same reason.

4. What Do You Think is Wrong with the Company?

No employee can just wake up one day and leave for one reason. There were likely a series of events that prompted them to hand in their resignation letter.

Asking where the company is going wrong can help you make changes and prevent others from leaving. If all exiting employees give the same reasons, then you know where the problem lies.

5. What Did You Find Enjoyable About Working Here?

It is also important to find out what good your company is doing—learning everything that makes your company a good place to work can help you maximize and continue doing it.

However, if your soon-to-be employee is struggling to come up with a positive answer, it signals a lack of satisfaction.

6. Do You Think You Had All the Tools and Resources to Succeed in Your Position?

If you want to prevent other employees from leaving, you need to ask if the employee was equipped to handle their job. The answer will generate a proactive response. However, be open to both positive and negative responses.

7. Do You Think You Were Valued Here?

66% of employees will immediately quit their job if they constantly feel underappreciated. The number could go higher if most of your employees are millennials.

If this is why the employee is leaving, you can come up with different approaches for employee recognition.

8. What Do You Think About the Culture of the Company?

The question aims to identify trends that will help you learn the employees' concerns. Once all the employees share what they think, you can separate legitimate concerns from personal opinions.

9. What Do You Think Should Change for Your Replacement?

You should carefully ask this question to know how their position could have been better and how it can be improved for the next person. If you frame it respectively, the employee can share more ideas about what is needed to retain employees.

10. Did You Desire to Work Outside the Office?

Remote working is a growing trend that most employees desire, especially those who only need a laptop and WiFi connection. Research published in the business journal showed that 37% of employees would quit their job for an opportunity to work remotely.

If your company can provide more flexibility and allow for remote working, you can ensure employee retention.

11. Has Your Mental Health Been Affected By this Job or Company?

Mental health has a direct impact on employees' performance. If the job negatively affects your employees, that is a sufficient reason to leave. The question aims to understand how you can improve the job environment and develop ways to help those struggling with mental health.

12. What Would You Advise Your Replacement?

Asking this question can give you an indirect answer as to how the employee feels about their role. You may learn things like coworker relationships or things about the job role that made things uncomfortable for your employee.

13. Would You Recommend Others to Work Here?

If the employee is open to recommending others to the company, you know the company wasn't bad. However, if you receive a firm no to the question, that is a red flag.

The question can also allow the employee to come back to the organization. However, this will only happen if things change.


14. Was There a "Best Day at Your Job"?

The question aims at engaging your employees and learning what they like. For instance, some employees enjoy conferences or any learning opportunity. Others may enjoy trips.

The answers provided by the employee will help you learn all the ways you can make each day better for those staying.

15. What Was the Worst Part of Your Job?

The same way you'd like to know what part of the job an employee who's leaving your company liked best, you should ask about the worst part.

It's important to keep an open mind, since employees will have different answers even if they worked in the same role. However, if the answers are too common, then it's time you decide to fix the problem.

16. Were You Offered Feedback?

If employees feel stagnant in their job position, they will seek opportunities for growth elsewhere. The best way to prevent stagnation is to provide constructive feedback to improve their job.

Be ready to provide any help and guidance to help other employees improve their jobs.

17. Were You Happy with the Compensation You were Given?

Instead of asking what they didn't like about the job, be more specific and ask this question. Research shows that many employees, particularly women, are dissatisfied with their compensation in their current job positions.

This question allows you to adjust pay and, if not, come up with other ways to reward hard-working employees.

18. Did You Learn Something Negative About the Organization?

Employees gossip in the office, and sometimes they can hear something about the company that makes them question everything. For instance, information about layoffs can make employees question their standing in the company.

Also, information about financial instability can make one wonder whether the company will still exist in a few months. If you are given such answers, you can convince other employees that the company is doing okay.

19. Did You Understand the Job Roles You Were Given?

Job roles should give an employee clear parameters to function and to understand the standards required by the organization. When employees fail to understand what they are expected to do, it creates an environment where they are unmotivated to work.

Good talent can get lost where there is a clear misunderstanding of what someone is expected to do. Also, employees might feel trapped in their jobs if they fail to understand the company's expectations of them.

20. Were There Any Policies You Failed to Understand?

Sometimes, when a company is growing, it may find it hard to maintain its initial standards and policies. In other situations, some policies could be unclear for employees to understand.

If the employees can point out what policies are difficult, then you can adjust them for the remaining employees.

21. What is So Good About Your New Position?

If the exiting employee found another job in a different company, then learning what they find lacking in your company is important. Whatever their reasons for leaving, you can make changes and ensure others don't leave because of the same.

22. Who is the Perfect Candidate for Your Replacement?

The employee will reveal information that touches on personal and technical abilities. If you pay attention, you will find out about skills that you may not have considered for that particular job position.

No one knows a job role better than the employee leaving. That said, if skills such as customer relations or social media marketing are necessary, you can hire a better candidate for the position.

23. Did You Share Your Concerns with Anyone in the Company?

The purpose of this question is to gain an insight into what the employee felt about the culture of the company. If they say the company is welcoming and honest but had difficulty sharing their concerns, then that is a red flag.

Also, cases of disrespect between employers and employees are common. So, if your employee feels this way, then that could be a sufficient reason for them to leave.

24. Would You Consider Coming Back?

Asking this question will help you know whether the employee has not fully made the decision to seek employment elsewhere. It also helps you understand that if you make better changes, you will prevent your employee from leaving an organization.

25. What Things Could Your Supervisor Have Done Better?

The aim of this question is to dig deeper into the relationship dynamics between the employee and their direct manager. Even if the manager was good, maybe their management system had room for improvement.

26. How Will You Boost Morale In the Organization?

The employee is leaving because something in the company made them. Asking this question will provide a way for you to understand how the employee felt each day.

You could also borrow some of the tips and apply them in the organization and prevent others from leaving.

27. How Would You Describe Our Training Program?

A company's training programs are opportunities for learning and development that are offered by an organization to improve employee skills.

Training programs help employees succeed in their job roles and careers as a whole. If employees do not feel motivated or energized by the training programs, then they can leave.

28. Have You Been Discriminated or Harassed in Any Way?

Even though the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) prohibits any form of discrimination, cases of harassment and discrimination in the workplace are common.

Even if your company may have rules in place against harassment and discrimination, they may not be enough. It is also important to ask who the perpetrators are so that you can deal with the issues.

29. Did You Experience Any Team Work?

One of the reasons for a company's success is the ability of the employees to work well together.

It creates feelings of appreciation and also a conducive environment to succeed. However, in cases where there is disharmony between employees, then that could be a big issue in the company.

If the employee is leaving because of a lack of teamwork, then you can find ways to improve the situation and encourage others to stay.

30. Is There Any Issue You'd Like to Address?

This question is open-ended and invites an opportunity for the employee to bring up other topics they have in mind. The question is also volatile since it can reveal a lot of issues you may not be aware of.

Even if the answers to the questions are hard to hear, just remember the goal of the interview.

Final Word on Exit Interview Questions

Losing an employee is sad, but it is shameful when you lose an employee over issues that can be easily changed. When conducting exit interview questions, the goal is to improve your overall employee retention.

If you don't have any idea how to conduct the interview, the HR exit interview template from Hugo can be of great help. What's more, the tool is free to use for small teams.


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