exit interview

What are Exit Survey Questions?

Definition: Exit interview survey questions is a pre-set questionnaire that is used in the exit process of an outgoing employee, either in the form of a survey or as verbal questions. It always recommended using the exit interview questionnaire as an online survey, as this enables you to run analytics on the gathered information for exponentially more insights.

Another benefit of doing that is employees can answer these even after they have left the organization. We all know how busy the last day can be.

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30 Industry-tested exit survey questions for the questionnaire

Employee exit interview questions may be different for different organizations, but these questions are most effective when they are a mixture of both open-ended questions and closed-ended questions. These questions invite exiting employees to express their opinions about the time they spent in the organization and helps the organization collect insights.

Here are some of the frequently asked exit interview questions:

1. What is the reason for quitting this job?

This employee exit interview question is essential in capturing the critical detail of why an outgoing employee (unless terminated), decided to leave their current position. It is essential for an organization to know the reason, to understand if there is a pattern. This probing could lead to more and clear information about what the organization can do to improve employee retention.

2. In your opinion, were you provided the essential tools and resources required to excel in your position in our organization?

Asking this question will help organizations get a fair idea about employee’s satisfaction related to training, technology tools, and other attributes that would help him/her perform better at the workplace. Depending on the information obtained, an organization can understand if there is enough scope of learning in the organization.

3. Did you get along well with your team members?

Teamwork is an important attribute for any organization to excel. Response to this question can lead to a conclusive understanding of the state of teamwork culture in the organization and if measures need to be taken for improvement.

4. Did you get along well with your reporting authority?

It is said, employees don’t leave an organization, they leave their manager. For an organization to function smoothly, it is important that the reporting authority treats the employees with dignity. An organization that lacks this culture will have a higher employee attrition rate.

5. What did you enjoy the most about your job?

This is a positively important question, by responses collected through this question organization can come to know what they are doing good and what are the areas they need to improve on.

6. What did you dislike the most about your job?

Organizations must know what the employees did not like about their work profile or their job in general. This information can be compared to the collected data to draw inferences regarding work culture.

7. Is there any problem/ issue, in particular, you would like to mention?

By asking this question, an organization is helping its employees to pen down their issues, things that are bothering them, and how these can be resolved.

8. Under what circumstances, if any, would you consider returning to the company?

There is nothing wrong with not “leaving any stone unturned”. If an employee is an exceptional worker, it is a loss for the organization if he/she has quit. Organizations need to know the alternatives to retain high-performing employees.

9. Do you think the management recognized your efforts towards organizational development? If not, how do you think recognition could be improved?

Organizations need to celebrate employee achievement; it need not be over the top celebration; however, a timely recognition will help employees do better at their workplace and keep them motivated to achieve their goals and targets.

10. Do you think the company policies were adequate? If not, do you want to suggest changes to the company policy?

According to a study, 17% of employees quit an organization because of poor policies. Response to this question will help an organization determine if they have robust HR policies or not.

11. Do you feel your job description changed since you were hired, and if so, in what ways?

Often it is seen, organizations have a set KRA for employees when they join an organization. However, over the years, their role might change. Responsibilities can be added or removed. It is important to know if employees are comfortable with these changes or not.

12. Do you feel you were given sufficient training to perform well in your role? If not, how could it have been better?

If an employee is unable to understand some aspects of his/her job, the immediate first step that any organization should take is to provide them with training that will help them perform their job better. Asking this question will give an organization clarity about their training routine.

13. Do you have any concerns about the organization at large that you would like to share?

Being open to constructive feedback is one way of improving oneself. Same goes for an organization, they need to know what is not going in their way, so they can analyze and improve.

14. Will you recommend our organization to your friends and family for potential employment opportunities?

This is the moment of truth for any organization! Response to this question can be either positive or negative. Both responses are equally important for an organization to know its strengths and weaknesses.

15. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

An open-ended question is essential; an employee can make a note of anything that they are not comfortable saying in person. There might be things unknown to the organization that the employee might want to tell, or it may be a simple suggestion/feedback; either way, this question is a must.

16. What could we have done early on to avoid this situation from developing?

By asking this question, an organization can understand and record all the possible reasons for an employee to quit the organization. If every exiting employee has nearly the same kind of reasons to quit the organization, then there is a bigger problem to address.

17. How would you have favored the situation to be handled?

Asking this question will give the organization an idea about the employee’s expectation from the organization regarding crisis management, and in turn, the organization will know what needs to be the correct approach in managing similar situations.

18. What specific suggestions would you give the organization to manage the crisis better in the future?

Ask this question as a follow up to the previous question. Ask employees for specific suggestions and make them feel comfortable about pinpointing issues they have faced while they were employed with the organization. You will be surprised by the issues that might never have come to light.

19. How do you feel about the organization?

Employees who are quitting the organization have no reason to lie or to hide anything from the management. They will be honest about their feedback and present facts. Ask them what they feel about the organization and its practices.

20. What extra responsibility would you have welcomed?

Asking this question will give you an idea of what responsibilities as an employee could have been given to the employee, which wasn’t originally a part of his/her role. This question helps to understand some other hidden attributes of the employee.

21. Please comment on the communication within the organization.

To get clarity on how effective communication is, within the organization, this is an important question to ask. The response to this question will help organizations analyze their internal communication if there is a loophole in it or not.

22. How would you describe the organization’s work culture?

Organizational culture is a topic that is vast and varied. Every organization has a culture unique to itself. Ask an employee about organizational culture, and you will get the most honest answers that will help you evaluate your own culture.

23. How could you have been helped better to understand working with other departments to perform more effectively?

Communication within different departments in an organization should be effective and transparent. If communication lacks clarity and conclusions have to draw from them, it will surely lead to confusion.

24. Do you think the appraisal system worked for you?

This is one of the important questions for your survey. Ask this question to know the reality of your appraisal system and take note of the feedback and improve the system. Simply collecting feedback is not sufficient, making necessary changes based on that feedback is important.  

25. Do you think you were motivated sufficiently and if there could be anything done differently about it?

Employee motivation is one of the biggest concerns for organizations. Motivated employees go above and beyond what is asked of them. Organizations need to know if supervisors and managers take the lead and help improve employee motivation. If not, then this issue needs to be addressed immediately.

26. What can the organization do to retain its best people, such as you?

Know what can be done better, collect feedback, and analyze it, and take necessary actions. Retain your best people; human capital is the most important driver for an organization. A higher rate of employee attrition is not good for an organization’s reputation.

27. Have you ever experienced any discrimination or harassment while working in this organization?

It is advisable to be absolutely clear in sensitive matters like these, so no other employee in future experiences anything similar that can leave an adverse impact on the organization’s reputation. These issues should be handled with the utmost care, and the organization should be aware of a situation like these.

28. Would you consider returning to the organization if the situation were right?

It is always good to know if there is any scope for future negotiations if the employee would want to return to work with the organization. Replacing a hard-working and well-deserved employee is always a tough call.

29. Are you happy to tell us which organization you would be joining (If you have already decided)?

If the employee is comfortable sharing this information, it is good for an organization to know where he/she is headed with respect to their career choices. If the employee is well-deserving, an organization might even write a letter of recommendation for the employee.

30. Can we make this transition any smoother?

Leaving an organization can be emotional for some employees. It is a kind gesture for the outgoing employee if his/her organization proposes to make the journey smoother and make the exit process less painful, ask for this information, your employees may need a helping hand.

Learn more: 9 essential exit interview survey templates

Benefits of using the right exit interview questions

Interacting with your employees even after they have decided to move on is always a good idea. This allows you to know the reasons behind and explore them further to contain future exits. Let us look at the key benefits of conducting exit interviews.

Gives you information to bring about changes

Employees have no reason to hold back during exit interviews; their response is honest and candid. This highlights issues that HR or managers may not be aware of. This is data that can help you contain future exits.

Gives you the opportunity to discuss commitments

Several companies have clauses and riders in employee contracts. It is ideal to discuss any commitments, obligations, etc. with outgoing employees to reduce liability for both parties.

Gives you data to convey to supervisors

Employees may put forth information that may help managers address and bridge gap areas. This can help contain further attrition from specific teams or functions.

Lets you collect references

Even if your employees leave, they can always come back or refer their friends and family to the organization. Use exit interviews to get references for future relevant job roles.

When to Conduct Exit Interview Questions?

Much like any other departure, there will be a mix of emotions. Companies can greatly benefit from this if they have a structure in place to let the exiting employee speak in a secured, private, and professional platform. The feedback can be positive or negative or usually a mix of both, but what makes exit interview questions and answers so valuable for companies is the honesty.

Why?

They might be forthcoming of things and facts that may not have expressed while being employed with the organization.

Some organizations conduct staff exit interviews immediately after the employee yields their resignation, but it is always a good practice to wait until the last few days of their employment. It is always advisable that the employee has complete knowledge of the entire process, and transparency is maintained in the process.

The organization would indeed expect a candid response from the employee, but if they are not walked through the process before the actual interview, the employee might feel overwhelmed about the entire process and not respond with utmost honesty. Therefore, organizations need to extensively plan such interviews to get maximum insights from the same.

You won’t be able to learn much from exiting employees by simply having a one-on-one chat with them. When someone is moving on at any stage in life, it is usually better to hear from them through a different platform, a non-human platform where they can speak their mind and heart out.

This approach is also critical during workforce exit interview questions. Instead of getting the soon-to-be ex-employee to sit down with another HR, a simple but effective online feedback survey will go a long way in getting the already emotionally stiffened employee to open up and provide genuine feedback to the company.

QuestionPro Workforce provides a range of question types, templates, logic, and branching, analytics, and dashboards for you to create, deploy and analyze exit interview questions as part of the overall employee engagement and feedback platform.

Learn more: 3 essential exit interview survey examples

Why should an organization use exit interview questions?

1. The first and foremost reason for conducting such an interview is to understand why an employee is leaving their position in a certain organization.

Some may feel they are not given enough responsibilities at work. For some, they might feel their work isn’t recognized or rewarded, or there may be some external issues that the organization may not be aware of.

2. Secondly, most of the employees usually are afraid of honest feedback to the management. Employees who have decided to quit the organization have nothing to lose or fear. These are the employees who will give honest feedback once they are ready to walk out of the organization.

Conducting an exit interview will help management to collect the right information of any dysfunctionality within the organization that they would usually not come to know through an existing employee.

3. Another very important reason why an organization needs to consider such interviews with sincerity is it helps to retain employees.

Employee retention is a plight! If organizations act promptly on the data gathered while conducting the exit interview, then they would know “what not to do” at the workplace to make sure the attrition rate drops down and the employees are happy working for the organization.

As mentioned earlier, exit interviews should be a communicative process. Therefore while planning these interviews, right exit interview questions are the key to obtaining the right feedback or data.

Learn more: 50+ Free Employee Surveys & Human Resource (HR) Surveys

How to get real insights from exit interview questions?

It is as simple as it sounds. Mazel Tov! The key to getting the most insights from exit interview questions mainly depends on two factors:

  1. What sort of questions are asked to understand, your brand with the employees?
  2. To use the data obtained from the exit interview questions strategically.

Too often, it is seen that for most companies, exit interview questions as merely a checkbox system, where a set of questions are given, and employees just tick the most suitable option for them. Many a time, employees don’t speak the truth, defeating the entire purpose of the process.

The key to making the exit interview process from inefficient to excellent is by asking questions that allow an organization to collect actionable responses. Analyzing these questions will help an organization understand the trends and consistencies.

The important aspect of getting the most insight from the exit interview questions is using the data to bring about necessary changes in the functioning of an organization. To bring about these changes, the organization must look at the common pattern or theme that is generated from answering these questions.

To analyze the data obtained from the exit interviews an organization must set up a committee or a group of competent personnel to periodically review the feedback given by employees while exiting the organization.

Also, organizations need to choose their interviewers wisely. Exit interview questions can evoke responses that may not necessarily be taken in its pride. An organization should also keep in mind that not all answers given by employees are negative responses.

Last but not least, whatever an organization decides, slice or dice, tucking heaps of paper in a file is not going to bring about a change. Through these exit interviews, organizations can learn the art of knowing its most important asset: their human capital.