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Ask HR: What Questions Should I Ask in an Exit Interview?

Why are Exit Interviews Conducted?

Exit interviews are held as a formal discussion between the manager or CEO of a company and an employee who has given their notice of separation.

The purpose of conducting these interviews is for the organization to gain insight and feedback on why the employee has decided to leave and can answer questions about:

  • Treatment they received

  • Work environment/culture

  • Job satisfaction

  • Compensation/benefits package satisfaction

  • Management

The answer to these questions is a major resource when developing new policies or strategies to improve employee retention.

Ask the Right Questions for the Best Feedback

1. What compelled you to look for another job?

The answer you're given to this question will help you understand if the former employee is leaving due to personal reasons or if something is going on within the organization that would require further investigation. Things like pay, benefits, culture, leadership, flexibility, etc. can be examined to determine if changes are needed.

2. Did you feel valued in your position?

If the former employee's efforts went unappreciated or unrecognized, that could be a substantial reason why they decided to depart from the company.

If this is the case, use this feedback to your advantage and ask your HR department/provider about the many ways to help your employees feel valued; perhaps with a better growth/development plan or several noncash payment options.

3. What did you like best and worst about your job?

The answer to this question can become a catalyst for conducting a possible job analysis.

For example, if the former employee spent the majority of their time doing work for another department while still being held responsible for their own and as a result felt underpaid, a job analysis would determine if this were factual and could take the steps necessary to prevent others from leaving due to the same situation.

Or, if a certain aspect of the job was not made clear during the recruiting and onboarding process, the answer will help recruiters to be sure that effective communication is taking place and understood by all parties moving forward.

On a more pleasant note, what the former employee liked best about their job provides feedback about the areas in the organization that seem to be excelling.

4. If you had any concerns, did you share them? Why or why not?

The response to this question will help you to better gauge communication between staff and superiors.

On one hand, the former employee may have felt comfortable speaking to supervisors and HR (although ultimately deciding to leave) which is a good indicator that communication and leadership are at optimal levels.

On the other, if the employee did not have a safe space anywhere within the organization, this serves as an indicator that communication as well as leadership should be addressed.

5. Do you have any suggestions do you have for the company?

This could be the most vital question as the answer may help to provide insight on how to make things better for current and future employees.

6. Are there any other details you'd like to share?

You want to provide former employees with all opportunities to share their experiences with the company. Giving someone the chance to open up about their pain points and in return expressing interest and care about what they have to say is always best practice.

Regardless of the reason for the separation, asking this question could be what is needed to leave things on a pleasant note.

Wrap up

Holistically, exit interview questions assist with improving the organization as a whole and help ramp up growth opportunities and retention. Although in some cases it can be very awkward, exit interviews and the questions you elect to ask are always beneficial to the company.

For assistance with conducting your company's exit interviews, feel free to contact us by clicking the button below.

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