Questions for exit interviews

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This page contains the list of questions for exit interviews and what questions to ask during an exit interview and how to overcome challenges in exit interviews.

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Here are some sample exit interview questions that will assist you in identifying areas for improvement at your organization

When an employee resigns, it is important to end things positively.

Exit interviews are important for a number of reasons

Your company can benefit from talking to a departing employee. Exit interviews should be conducted in order to:

  • Analyze whether employees feel valued and respected by peers and managers and how they perceive company culture.
  • Improve employee relations and performance appraisals.
  • Discover what training and development opportunities employees are interested in.
  • Compare compensation packages with benchmarks (e.g., if an employee leaves due to more attractive benefits or a better offer).
  • Identify the motivations that will motivate employees to remain with your organization.
  • Show that you care about the opinions of your current and former employees to enhance your employer brand.
  • Investigate problems that employees were unwilling to discuss prior to leaving (e.g. micromanagement, victimization, retaliation, and lack of direction).

Questions to ask during an exit interview

  • If you were able to describe how you feel about working at this organization, it would be helpful. We would appreciate it if you could provide us with a brief explanation of your departure.
  • In your experience working here, what was the most enjoyable aspect?
  • What three things would you change if you could?
  • What does your supervisor and co-workers think of the way you were treated?
  • What was the level of recognition and appreciation you received for your work?
  • Was the training and assistance you received adequate?
  • What would you have liked to have known earlier?
  • What do you think about the alignment between your work and your personal goals?
  • Is there anything we can do to improve the working environment at this company?
  • How could you have improved your performance with the help of the following tools, resources, or training?
  • If you had friends who were looking for a job, would you suggest our company to them? Is there a reason for this?

Exit interviews: how to conduct them effectively

  • HR should be assigned the task of conducting exit interviews. Some employees may feel uncomfortable discussing their reasons for resigning with their former supervisor, for example, if they felt undervalued.
  • Conducting exit interviews requires a great deal of preparation. Plan your questions beforehand and consider what kind of feedback would be valuable. Make sure your discussion does not sound scripted, however.
  • You should be prepared to act on feedback you receive. In conducting an exit interview simply for the sake of conducting one, both the employee and you will be wasting their time. In order to improve your company procedures and retain employees, use the feedback you collect constructively.
  • Keep things positive at the end of the day. You will leave a bad taste in the mouth of employees if you attempt to dissuade them from leaving or criticize them for giving you a very short notice. Let them know that you appreciate their work and wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors.

Overcoming challenges in exit interviews

Interviewing employees at their exit can be difficult, especially when it comes to gaining their trust or consent. During exit interviews, you may encounter the following challenges:

  • Employees who withhold information. Although your employees may be leaving your company, they may wish to maintain good relationships with their former supervisors and colleagues. It may therefore be difficult for them to express their dissatisfaction with the collaboration. Whenever possible, ask questions that are positive in nature: “What would have made your day-to-day at work more enjoyable?”? If you could improve our work in any way, what would you suggest?”
  • Employees who don’t want to participate in exit interviews. Your soon-to-be former employees might view exit interviews as a waste of time if it’s just a formality for your company. Ask employees for their opinions before they quit. Build an open communication culture through regular meetings and informal discussions. This way, employees will be willing to give you feedback once they decide to leave.
  • Employees who display excessive emotional behavior. In many cases, the decision to leave is accompanied by strong emotions, such as sadness or anger. Therefore, it would not be advisable for an employee to provide objective feedback on their last day at work. You may offer the employee alternative exit interviews such as a phone exit interview after they have left or a questionnaire via email if they are uncomfortable with an exit interview. Despite the fact that these methods are less personal, they still provide valuable information.
  • Employees who have concerns about their privacy. If you fail to assure employees that their interview will remain confidential, they will not disclose the reasons for their resignation. Exit interviews are intended to improve your company’s employability rather than to place blame on anyone. Be sure to maintain a casual, friendly tone throughout the discussion in order to make employees feel comfortable. Despite their doubts, you should not force them to participate in the exit interview; it should be a voluntary process.

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