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5 Important Exit Interview Questions to Ask

Employees are the biggest strength of any organisation. Losing the best of them will have your organisation bleeding money. If your company is losing employees it is time to wake up and figure out what the problem is. The best way to do that is to take an exit interview. An exit interview is taken to get feedback from employees who are leaving. This helps in understanding the main causes for attrition in our company.

I used to work for an HR firm called AceNgage. A company that takes exit interviews for their clients, who have outsourced this HR process to them. It runs on the motto “Better feedback. Better decisions.”

Here, I learnt the important questions to ask that will get you valuable feedback during an exit interview. This feedback can be used to understand the root cause of attrition in your company.

For those, who are new to the concept of Exit Interviews, here is a piece of resource which you should have a look at.

Exit interviews are effective because the employee loses nothing by giving feedback since they have exited the company. The effectivity of the interview depends on the rapport the employee has with the interviewer. They are more likely to open up to an objective person in the situation. The HR or an outsider to the company can bring out a better feedback from the departing employee.

In most companies, feedback is taken by just filling out a form. I think this is not enough if you are truly looking to make a change using their feedback. Only a proper interview can reveal the reasons for leaving.

I have compiled some important questions that will cover the basics of the kind of feedback you should be looking for. *Your Welcome*

1. What were your Expectations from the Company? Were they Fulfilled?

This question will reveal what really triggered the dissatisfaction. You can make this more specific by asking about their expectation with regard to their role, salary, appraisal, manager etc.

If an employee is leaving within the year, the root cause might have been at the time of hiring. Depending on the tenure of the employee, it would make sense to ask feedback about how their recruitment process was like and their initial impression of the company. If the employee is leaving within the first year itself there would mostly seem to be a mismatch in the expectations they had and what they found in the company. Getting feedback about this will help you hire better in the future. You also understand how to attract better hires. Essentially you should understand what the mismatch of expectations was.

2. Were your Personal Goals and Business Goals of the company well aligned?

Understanding the ‘give’ and take’ between the company and employee. Only if the agenda of the employee and the company goes hand in hand will there be a good fit and productivity. It would be relevant to check if the reason for them quitting was because the personal goals of the employee were not matching with that of the company or if the role they were doing fit them well or not. This question would help determine, in depth, the expectations of the employee from the company in terms of alignment and fit. It will give you fair warning about the kind of fit you should be looking for when hiring.

3. What could have been done Better / What would you change?

When I take exit interviews, I always ask what the manager/company could have done to avoid the situation that has happened.  This is the most relevant and best open ended question you can ask if you want to know what the exact trigger for quitting was. Depending on what the employee says you can probe more into it and understand the root cause.

4. Did you have Enough Support and get all you needed to do your Job well

There is a common saying that goes like, “Employees don’t leave the company, They leave their managers.”

Exit Interview - Quiting your Boss

Since managers are the point of contact with the company for the employee, the kind of assistance and support they received from their manager is of utmost importance. It would make sense to understand if the employee got the support they needed. If not, how can it be improved so that the mistake is not repeated in the future? We can also know what other areas to invest resources on to improve the company’s employee engagement processes.

We can also know what other areas to invest resources on to improve the company’s employee engagement processes. It also hints towards the other areas to invest resources on to improve the company’s employee engagement processes.

5. Would you recommend this company? (Most Important Exit Interview Question)

At the end of the day, everything boils down to just one thing: Would an ex-employee refer a particular company to his friends or not?

He might have left for whatever reason may it be, but it’s super important for him to have a good final impression. And the sole purpose of an exit interview is the same.

Asking this question at the exit interview would give you a fair idea about how employee friendly your company is. Even if you’re losing an employee there are chances of gaining more, if they leave with a good impression of the company.

Useful Tip #1: To get maximum results from these questions, ask them after all the relieving formalities are done. The employee is less likely to open up if he fears that the feedback he gives might have a negative effect on the documents he is supposed to receive before leaving the company.

Useful Tip #2: If the rapport you have with the employee is not the best, they might be less likely to open up fearing that their full and final settlement or any other formal documents might take a hit if they something that could offend the interviewer. Make sure the person interviewing the employee is either a complete stranger or someone he shared a good bond with.

A question you shouldn’t ask during an exit interview, especially if it is done absolutely at the end, on their last day at the company. Do not ask them what you can do to retain them, because this would suggest that you are going to actually make the change that is necessary to keep them in the company and would raise false expectations that might not be fulfilled. These exit interview question are to be asked so that the employee parts on good terms.

Sannidhi Surop

The author Sannidhi Surop

Sannidhi is a content marketer from Bangalore. She has an inclination towards Psychology and has various interests. Few of them are collage making, baking, rock climbing and dog grooming. She is spontaneous and loves discovering new art and illustrations.