Exit Interview

4 Exit Interview Questions You MUST Ask

Some companies conduct exit interviews immediately upon learning an employee will be leaving. Other companies conduct them on the employee's last day. And still others don't conduct them at all. An exit interview may appear to be a formality, but it's actually a critical part of the employer-employee relationship and it can give you some unique insights into your company and employees.

4 Exit Interview Questions to Ask Every Employee

To understand what compelled employees to leave, you need to understand how their needs changed during their employment and what their key motivators for leaving are, says Gallup.

Dipak Sundaram and Camille Patrick, writing for Gallup, say that "exit surveys should tap into both an employee's former and current perceptions of their experience at an organization, as well as gain intel on their attraction to the new organization."

As a starting point, they recommend gathering info on the following areas:

  • The employee's overall experience of working in the organization (role, team, supervisor, job duties, advancement and development opportunities, and so on) and their feelings on aspects of the culture
  • Initial reasons for joining the company, as well as reasons they initially considered leaving and then chose to follow through
  • Their professional goals and perceptions of the workplace they are joining (if applicable)

Here are four questions we recommend asking, along with what they will help you learn:

1. If you could have changed one thing about your position, what would it have been?

Most employees, even those being let go, aren't eager to share their gripes with their prior employer. This is especially true if they are relying on a good reference. Simply asking, "Did you dislike anything about your position?" won't tell you much. In contrast, the question above will give you an actionable answer about what could make the employee's former position better for the next person.

2. Why did you choose to leave the company?

Additionally, don't forget to ask the follow-up question: "Was there anything that would have led you to reconsider leaving our company?" Instead, this open-ended question can give some real insight into your company's culture and problems that you might not realize exist. Make sure to ask for details if something unexpected comes up.

3. What did you enjoy best about your job?

An exit interview doesn't always have to be negative. Learning about what made the position great can help you sell it to the next recruit — and give you an idea of what areas of the position should be emphasized. Likewise, you can inquire what the employee liked most about working for the company, or just ask the employee to describe the company in their own terms.

4. Are you available for us to contact if...?

Some employees love to help, especially if they have been with the company for a long time and are leaving their position on a good note. For particularly skilled positions, it can be useful to have them as a potential resource. Employees quitting due to lifestyle changes may still be willing to come in on an occasional hourly basis, and employees switching to a new company may be able to take the occasional call.

More Exit Interview Questions

Good Exit Interview Questions to ask employees

Need even more fodder for your exit interview? Here are favorite questions of our CEO Bejan Douraghy

  • What made you start looking for a new job in the first place?

  • What is your primary reason for leaving?

  • Did anything trigger your decision to leave?

  • What was most satisfying about your job?

  • What was least satisfying about your job?         

  • What would you change about your job?         

  • Did your job duties turn out to be as you expected?

  • Did you receive enough training to do your job effectively?

  • Did you receive adequate support to do your job?       

  • Did you receive sufficient feedback about your performance between merit reviews?         

  • Did Artisan help you fulfill your career goals? 

  • Do you have any tips to help us find your replacement?

  • What would you improve to make our workplace better?

  • What was the quality of the supervision you received?   

  • What could your immediate supervisor do to improve his or her management style?         

  • Based on your experience with us, what do you think it takes to succeed at Artisan?

  • How do you generally feel about Artisan?         

  • What did you like most about Artisan?

  • What did you like least about Artisan?   

  • What does your new company offer that Artisan doesn't?

Losing a good employee, even under positive circumstances, can be bittersweet for any Human Resources Manager. An exit interview gives both the company and the employee time to express any additional concerns or curiosities.

Need Help with Hiring and Retention?

For more information about hiring and managing your staff, contact us at Artisan Talent today. Want help with employee retention? Check out our bite-size email course! Sign up below for our six-week email series all about keeping your star employees.

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