15 Best Employee Exit Interview Questions 2022
Employee exit interviews are a great way for the company to gain insight into why one of their employees is leaving. On the employee’s side, it’s a chance to make a positive impact and maybe open the doors for re-hiring. This is why it’s important for the departing employee to understand the most common exit interview questions (and how to answer them)
The exit interview isn’t technical. No matter your background, HR will be leading the interview, which means exit interview questions will be lighthearted – but that doesn’t mean you can answer them lightly, though. You don’t want to end up leaving the company on a bad note, right?
In this article, we’ll get into a list of some typical exit interview questions that you might find yourself facing during the exit interview.
Let’s jump right in
15 Most Important Exit Interview Questions [And How to Answer Them]
These questions are all intended to inform HR about what they need to do to decrease employee turnover. Make sure you answer them generally according to how it’s mentioned in the list.
1. Why are you considering a change? Why leave this company after 2/5/10 years?
This is perhaps the most frequently asked exit interview question out there. It’s also a very direct and up-front way about wanting to know the former employee’s reasoning behind the decision.
Answer truthfully and ONLY explain what you have experienced personally. Try not to accuse anyone and give a diplomatic yet straightforward answer as well as constructive feedback.
For example, you can tell the interviewer that you’re leaving for a new job because of office politics and the impact they’re having on your performance, as well as career outlook.
2. How would you rate your relationship with your direct boss or upper management?
When this question is asked, the company is trying to gain valuable information to conduct a performance review of the management with regard to you.
Here, you should be impartial and state the facts as you experienced them.
For example, you can tell the interviewer that the manager is very knowledgeable but you don’t like their general management style and how they're always micromanaging.
3. What was your favorite part of working at our company?
Another important question, this is where HR professionals are trying to find out what employees actually like about the company, in order to increase employee retention.
Since this would probably be your last day, it’s possible that you will only remember the bad and not the good. Don’t target anyone because you never know what the future holds and you might actually have to come back.
For example, just say that you liked the weekly meetings, the general work environment, or simply that you could approach the manager any time without booking an appointment.
4. What is the proudest moment you experienced while at our company?
This is a straightforward exit interview question – one that’s a norm more than actually serving a purpose.
The goal of this question is to give your HR some sort of leverage by highlighting the positive aspects of the organization. This might be used to attract you or future employees.
For example, you can simply say that your proudest moment was when you helped a team member with a complicated task.
5. Was there anything lacking in the training we provided you?
This is more of an honest feedback question that human resources will ask you to gauge how interesting their investment in a training program is for employees.
Be honest here since there is not really any wrong answer. Just remember to back your answer up, whether it’s a yes or a no. Additionally, give reasoning so that it doesn’t seem like you are trying to get the interview over with.
For example, you can say that you really liked the employee feedback that managers asked for at the end of each session, or the development opportunities that the training provided.
6. What can we do to change your mind?
This can either be the first or the last question of your interview and can determine whether it was an effective exit interview.
This open-ended question is asked in a very honest manner and how you answer will serve either as feedback or as an opportunity.
Furthermore, know that this is where you have to get candid during the off boarding process. Answer as candidly as you can.
For example, start by saying that you had a great time working there but you need to move on to a more lucrative or advanced new position. Plus, if it's only about the salary, just say so openly.
7. What would you say was the worst part of working at our company?
The longer you’ve been at a company, the more ‘bad parts’ you'll be able to identify.
Having said that, you don’t need to create a long list of negative employee experiences. And if you suggest that there was no worst part, you’d be lying again. Try to paint a truthful picture of the issue, but don’t badmouth anyone.
For example, tell them that you didn’t enjoy the communication process at first but eventually got used to it. Formulate it like feedback.
8. Did you find achieving your goals and objectives easy?
The goal of this exit interview question is, again, to determine if you’re leaving because of your leader. If you received clear goals and objectives but weren’t able to reach them and your manager didn’t adjust them accordingly, call it out but in a diplomatic manner.
For example, tell them that your manager was quite helpful in helping you achieve the goals and objectives set forth, but the process of accomplishing said goals meant having to sacrifice the work-life balance.
9. What are your thoughts about the company culture?
This question is targeted at exiting employees to get their feedback on floor conditions and how the company deals with employees in general.
Here, you should highlight the good as much as possible. If the negative aspect is too strong, it is best to try and sugarcoat it - even more so if there are chances you'll have to return to the organization. DO NOT burn all bridges.
Only mention the bad if it’s something that simply can’t be ignored.
10. Is there anything that we are doing but shouldn’t do? Any policy that would be better off crossed-out?
The answer here can vary wildly. When this question is asked, you can answer based on personal preference, but remember to highlight the fact that this is your personal experience. Answer for yourself and for yourself only.
The goal should be to make the company a better place to work at. But again, don’t go naming names.
For example, don’t say that your manager has a strict off-work policy that should be changed. Just mention the issue on a broader level. You can point out that the company should consider giving employees a bit more leeway when they take their PTOs.
11. Did you feel you were well-compensated and recognized for your efforts at our company?
Almost 52% of employees in the US leave their jobs because they want a higher-paying job.
Everyone wants to be adequately recognized for the work they do. If you think the company does a good job at employee engagement, a one-word answer should be enough – just say yes. If not, answer diplomatically.
For example, say no and continue explaining how it could be improved and where it lacks. Only talk about yourself. If you aren’t satisfied with your compensation, now is the time to talk about it
12. What would you suggest to us if we were to improve?
Here, you can say anything you like (except, of course, telling them that there’s no way they can get better).
Take any negative aspect of the company, from the onboarding experience and/or culture to the overall work environment or even benefits policies. This is where you can present a list of everything that the company does wrong, albeit with constructive advice about how they can improve.
If there is something that they can do to convince you to possibly stay, talk about that as well.
13. What prompted you to look for a different job in the first place?
This is another standard exit interview question that tells companies what's lacking in their position management skills.
Remember, this is one of the few questions that will reflect on you just as it would on the company. It's completely natural to look for better opportunities so you aren’t doing anything wrong here. But again, try not to burn any bridges during this, or any of the follow-up questions.
For example, if there was a particular event that happened, just mention it without going into your personal account of the matter. However, if it’s a personal event and you don’t want to share, you can simply say that there are personal reasons. HRs usually don’t prod beyond that statement.
14. Do you have any observations to share about your onboarding process?
This is where employers try to find out how well they're accommodating their new employees at the workplace.
Whatever you say will be taken as feedback so be very clear and detailed in your answer. If they made you fill out an excessive number of forms, mention that. If you loved the interactive and group training sessions, mention that.
Even if it's something as small as being impressed by the office building and facilities, it will go a long way towards helping you build rapport with the employer.
15. Who, in your opinion, is the best person in the office?
Whoever you name here, you’ll be helping them build a lasting relationship with the organization.
You don’t necessarily have to name a senior or an executive – not even your own manager. Just name the person who had the most positive impact on your performance and your disposition as an employee.
For example, you can mention a coworker who encouraged you to take creative and calculated risks and come up with out-of-the-box ideas. Or someone who listened to your ideas and actually created preliminary plans out of them to test their effectiveness.
When considering what to say and what not to say, remember that feedback is always welcome, especially during the outro.
In order to make a lasting impression and to leave a good image of yourself, ask HR if there is anything they’d like to share with you – some sort of feedback. You are free to ask your own questions as well in the exit interview.
Josh Fechter is the founder of HR.University. He’s a certified HR professional and has managed global teams across 5 different continents including their benefits and payroll. You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.