6 Exit Interview Questions You Should Ask and Why

It is inevitable that some of your employees will leave and pursue new opportunities no matter how much time and money you invest in retention strategies. When this happens, it is beneficial to conduct an exit interview as a way to receive honest feedback so you can continue to improve the position and your organization. By using this data and implementing these suggested changes, your organization will reduce turnover and progress as a whole.

A recent study by Harvard Business Review concluded that exit interviews are used by about 75% of companies. Within those companies, 71% have the HR department in charge of the process, 19% conduct the interviews with a direct supervisor, 9% with a supervisor’s manager and 1% with external consultants. Conducting these interviews with either the HR department or an external consultant allows for the most candid and honest responses. For instance, if an employee was leaving as a result of their supervisor’s actions it is unlikely they would speak honestly to their supervisor during the exit interview, permitting the negative trend to only continue within the company.

While conducting an exit interview, ensure that it is directed by an unbiased source and ask these six questions to receive the most value out of the conversation.    

1) What led you to begin searching for a new opportunity?

This question allows you to gain insight as to why an employee is leaving their position. Whether it was a single event or multiple frustrations, their answer will help you resolve the problem before bringing in a replacement. Feedback from former employees is essential to increasing employee retention in the future.

2) Did this position match your expectations?

This question gives insight to whether or not the organization accurately conveyed the job responsibilities and role throughout the hiring process. If the employee says that the position did not match their expectations, be sure to ask follow-up questions to determine how to better frame the job for the next hire.

3) What did you like most and least about this job?

Learning what the employee thought was positive about the position allows your organization to continue to highlight those aspects and also to communicate those to future hires. As for the negative aspects of the role, you will gain insight into employee frustrations. Understanding what they disliked, will allow you to work on restructuring or eliminating specific components of the role to encourage more efficient and effective work.

4) Did you feel that you were equipped with the proper tools and resources to do the job here?

Proper training is essential to employee retention so it is important to ask whether or not employees felt prepared to perform the job. Insight into training programs, the technology used and communication between teams and managers is incredibly valuable toward improving your organization in the long run.      

5) What was the biggest factor that led you to accept this new job?

Learning what that one factor was that lead them to your company will allow you to keep competitive with other organizations. Depending on their reasoning, there may be an incentive to re-evaluate your compensation, benefits or growth opportunities within the company.

6) What suggestions for improvement do you have and is there anything else that you’d like to share?

This open-ended question allows employees to share anything else on their mind. There may be additional comments or advice they would like to address that wasn’t previously mentioned in the questions above.  

6 Exit Interview Questions You Should Ask and Why (1)

With the information gathered from an exit interview, your organization will be able to move forward with improvements and ensure that the needs and concerns of all current and future employees are met. Utilize this experience as an opportunity to have an open and honest discussion, with the long-term goal of discovering how to improve employee retention and morale. 


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