5 Exit Interview Questions to Ask Before Talent Walks Out The Door

A list of must-include questions for HR professionals to ask leaving employees.

Exit Interview Questions To Ask Leaving Employees

As a Human Resources (HR) practitioner, drawing up a list of exit interview questions can be a pretty sad errand. After all, it means that one of the employees you worked hard to source has decided to leave the company.

An exit interview is a vital part of the employee offboarding process. In fact, we could go as far as calling it one of the most important moments in the entire employee life cycle. Asking the right exit interview questions can provide your company with invaluable insights on company culture, retaining top talent, work environments, and more.

Let’s take a look at the must-include questions to ask departing employees and what they can teach you about your company.

Learn From The Answers To Exit Interview Questions

The Ultimate List of Must-Ask Exit Interview Questions

Here are the basic questions every HR professional should ask a leaving employee.

1. Do You Feel Free To Speak In This Space?

Check to see whether the departing employee feels that they can speak freely during the exit interview. This will indicate whether there are any issues with your company culture. In particular, it will highlight the employee's sentiments about management and their superiors in the company.

You want the answer to this question to be a resounding ‘yes’. However, if the answer is ‘no’, you can still guide the interview to gain valuable insights. Ask them why they feel that way. Or you can try to offer a multiple-choice list of reasons why this might be. For example, a) I don’t want to get anyone in trouble, b) I don’t want to lessen my odds of rehire down the line, c) I don’t want to badmouth my superiors.

Although this type of feedback may be somewhat vague, it can still point to important cultural issues that your company should address from the top down.

2. Do You Believe the Job Ad You Initially Answered Was Accurate?

One of the biggest reasons why employees leave jobs is because the position was not what they expected it to be. While there are, of course, subjective experiences at play, it’s also important to know whether your company is advertising its vacancies in the right way.

For instance, you may find that the initial job descriptions shared by recruiters were not detailed enough. Or you could learn that certain aspects of the position were misrepresented. Perhaps the expectations of the position shifted during their employment, transforming it into something completely different.

This helps you identify if displeasure with the position triggered the ‘I have to look for another job’ moment. It can also help you design better job ads and write accurate job descriptions in the future.

Take Notes Answers To Learn

3. Were There Ways In Which the Company Failed to Support You During Your Time Here?

This question follows from the last. To boost employee retention rates, businesses need to know what their employees need and want. During an exit interview, HR has the perfect opportunity to get to grips with the issues that cause employee churn. To spur on this conversation, prepare a list of possible examples.

For instance, could we a) have provided more training opportunities, b) allowed for more flexible work hours to accommodate family life, c) increased benefits.

Use the information you learn from these answers to help you provide better support to your employees.

4. If You Could Give Our CEO One Piece of Advice, What Would That Be?

Not every question you ask needs to be about employment at the company. Allow your departing employee to get creative and still provide insights about the business. You may well find that they have some exceptional ideas to bring to the table. Using hypothetical questions like this one is a great way to loosen employees up or wrap up a fantastic conversation.

5. Can We Stay in Touch Via our Corporate Alumni Platform?

The employee life cycle does not end at the exit interview. Boomerang hires, contingent workers, and consultancy work could very well be on the cards for your former employees. This is why major global companies like McKinsey and Coca-Cola go out of their way to stay in touch with departing employees through corporate alumni platforms.

Doing the same could set your company up as an impressive and reputable employer, increase great candidate referrals, and more.

Great Exit Interview Experience

Final Thoughts

Asking the right exit interview questions can provide an HR team with invaluable data. Start by asking the employee if they feel able to speak freely. Then, find out whether their position was what they expected it to be and if the company could have supported them more effectively.

Also, get creative when finding out if they have any insights about the company as a whole. Finally, ask if you can include them in your alumni community.

Hiring well is the first step to increasing employee retention levels at your company. Allow &Team to help you promote, attract, and assess your talent. Contact us to learn more today!