5 Exit Interview Questions Worth Asking

Employees are one of a businesses most important assets, so when they decide to leave it benefits the company to find out why so you can make improvements and retain a better caliber of employees. That is where the exit interview comes in. If you are unfamiliar with exit interviews, they are basically sitting down with an employee to gauge how they felt about working for your company, and why they have decided to move on. While this sounds like an awkward conversation waiting to happen, it is a wealth of important information to help you improve your employee relations. Here are 5 exit interview questions worth asking. 

What made you initially want to work with us?

This question is a good icebreaker for the interview that gives you insight into why they first started and what the company seemed to promise them. We start with this as opposed to the “why did you decide to leave” question because it is a positive question to kick things off. It is not as high stakes, and many people lie about why they are leaving, but not so much about why they started. It can also give you some insight into where you may have not met their expectations. 

What are your favorite things about working here?

By keeping the questions positive, you are reinforcing a good relationship. Don’t make them feel bad about leaving, but instead focus on what went well that you can improve upon. See what a good employee values and find out what things you may think are a great perk that might have fallen flat. 

Would you have any advice for the person we hire for your position?

It is good to get specific feedback on a position. If everything were perfect, they most likely wouldn’t be leaving. This is a great opportunity to learn about what they felt hadn’t gone well with their job, while still keeping it in a positive frame. You aren’t asking them to dish or throw anyone under the bus, but you are getting some insight into their frustrations and where they think other people may hit some bumps in the road. 

Who are some employees, managers or executives who have made a positive impact on your time here, and why?

This is a great opportunity to identify other star players in your organization who are supporting other employees and are team players. It also gives you insight into what support the person had been looking for and if they felt their direct supervisor was providing it. An important follow up action is rewarding the people who are consistently standing out as being helpful and supportive.

How can we improve as an organization?

You may not always get a completely honest answer here every time, but you can look for patterns or things unsaid. You can also follow up with clarifying questions to dig into what they said. Be prepared for criticism. You might think this employee loved working here and is just leaving for more money or better benefits, but this question may reveal other reasons. Carefully consider what they say and only ask this if you are willing to take their feedback and evaluate changes that can be made. 

There are many reasons why an employee may leave. These are just some of our favorite questions to ask to make sure we are meeting our employees’ needs and improving as a company. The key to a successful exit interview is to listen for what goes unsaid, and not to get defensive. You may love the company, but you may not be seeing the whole picture. Listen with an open mind, and use the information to make your organization a better place to work. 


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