Top 5 Exit Interview Questions – And Why They're Essential

Top 5 Exit Interview Questions – And Why They're Essential


The best exit interview questions take advantage of an employee's insider knowledge and personal experience. Employees are a company's greatest asset and they can provide valuable feedback on what works, what doesn’t, and how things could be better. Asking exit interview questions is a great opportunity for real feedback as departing employees are more likely to be open and honest about their experience.

Here's why these are the best 5 exit interview questions to ask departing employees:


Why did you decide to leave?

It is important to identify why an employee has chosen to leave the business. This question gives the exiting employee a chance to vent if needed. Maybe they felt that they lacked benefits in comparison to a competitor, had a poor supervisor or just received  a better offer elsewhere. Whatever the reason, you can use this information to learn from the experience and improve your organization.

Was there anything we could have done to prevent your departure?

This is great opportunity to show you are listening to concerns and that employee retention is important to the business. There may be things about your work environment or culture that need to change, so make sure you take action where possible. Ensure you look for patterns amongst all your exit interviews to reveal emerging themes.

What has been your biggest achievement during your time with us?

This question is a good one for understanding the departing employee's self-perception. You can learn about what the employee felt they contributed to your company and how they might even go on to contribute somewhere else. Make sure you ask about their biggest accomplishment, not just their job duties.  It’s likely to provide more insight into their contributions outside of their contracted responsibilities. This information will also assist when creating future job descriptions for similar roles.

What did you like about working here?

One reason to ask this question is to ascertain the employee's overall view of the company. Maybe they'll list benefits such as a great company culture and a positive reputation in the community. That will let you know that, overall, your company is a great place to work and that team members are happy. Another reason to ask this question is to gain insight into what makes employees happy at your company, so that you can improve those specific things in the future. For example, if an employee says "I love my co-workers," you might put more time and resources toward hiring people based on personality fit rather than just their qualifications for a particular role.

What advice do you have for me as manager or leader at this company?

This is a great opportunity for self-development and reflection. It’s another chance to gather feedback on your team as well as yourself and your managerial style. Ask your departing employee for specific examples where you could have done better. What is your management style or approach perceived to be? Ask them how they think you can improve in that area. You should be careful not to take any criticism personally, as this can result in an emotional response which can be counterproductive for everyone involved. An honest and open dialogue from both parties will ensure that long-lasting solutions are established for the betterment of all team members.

Feedback doesn’t end with the Exit Interview Questions.

It’s worth following up with the ex-employee within six months and ask how things are going at their new job. This ensures that they feel valued as a person even after they've left your company. Remember: You can't please everyone and you can't always make everyone happy.  However, do what you can to learn how business processes and culture could improve, so all employees feel satisfied and valued in their positions, resulting in increased retention!


About Harper Fox Partners:

Harper Fox Search Partners are a purpose led business, providing leadership talent and executive search solutions for the global energy, engineering, manufacturing, transport and utilities sectors. Get in touch today to find out how we can add outstanding value to your business.


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