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 are 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 of the best exit interview questions that you might find yourself facing during the exit interview.
Let’s jump right in
Best Exit Interview Questions 2022 [And Tips 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 according to how it’s mentioned in the list.
1. Why Are You Considering a Change?
Alternative Question: Why do you want to leave this company after 2/5/10 years?
This is perhaps the most asked exit interview question out there. It’s also a very direct and up-front way about wanting to know the reason of former employee behind the decision so organization can take actionable insights to implement in future.
Answer explain what you have experienced. 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. You can also mention your views if the company you're joining is offering flexible employee benefits.
2. How Would You Rate Your Relationship With Your Direct Boss or Upper Management?
Alternative Question: How was your experience with your manager?
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 become 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. Or you can say that they didn't provide a clear job description at the start due to manager's tough schedule, but you managed to know about it later from them and through current employees.
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3. What Was Your Favorite Part of Working at Our Company?
Alternative Question: What did you liked most working here?
Another important question, this is where HR professionals are trying to find out what employees like about the company, in order to increase employee retention, and to improve employee morale.
Since at is your last day at work, it’s possible that you will remember the bad and not the good. Don’t target anyone because you never know what the future holds and you might have to come back.
For example, just say that you liked the weekly meetings, the general work environment, or that you could approach the manager any time without booking an appointment.
4. What Is the Proudest Moment You Experienced While at Our Company?
Alternative Question: Did you make any achievements working at this company?
This is a straightforward exit interview question – one that’s a norm more than 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 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?
Alternative Question: How was our employee training program at the start of your joining?
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. Moreover, you can also find this question in the exit interview survey.
Be honest here since there is not any wrong answer and it is totally normal that employees leave, . Just remember to back your answer up, whether it’s a yes or a no. Furthermore, 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 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?
Alternative Question: How can we make you stay here?
This question is either 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 to exiting employees, 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 about the salary, just say so.
7. What Would You Say Was the Worst Part of Working at Our Company?
Alternative Question: How would you describe your worst experience working with our company?
The longer you’ve been at a company, the more ‘bad parts’ you'll can 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, means you're 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 got used to it. Formulate it like feedback.
8. Did You Find Achieving Your Goals and Objectives Easy?
Alternative Question: Was it easier for you to target your goals and objectives?
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, 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?
Alternative Question: How do you think of our company culture?
This question is targeted at exiting employee to get their feedback on floor conditions and how the company deals with employee morale 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 can’t be ignored.
10. Is There Anything That We Are Doing but Shouldn’t Do?
Alternative Question: Where do we lack? OR What areas do you think improvement can be made? OR Is there any policy that is better if we cross it out?
The answer here can vary. 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 is 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 requires changing. 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?
Alternative Question: Did you feel confident working here?
Almost 52% of employees in the US leave their jobs because they want a higher-paying job.
You must recognize employees 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 they can improve it and where it lacks. 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?
Alternative Question: Where do you want us 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. You can also tell your experience of duties assigned to you in comparison to the duties mentioned in the job description.
If there is something that they can do to convince you to stay, talk about that as well.
13. What Prompted You to Look for a Different Job in the First Place?
Alternative Question: Why exactly did you start looking for other job?
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 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 say that there are personal reasons. HRs don’t prod beyond that statement.
14. Do You Have Any Observations to Share About Your Onboarding Process?
Alternative Question: Is there anything you'd like to share with us regarding the 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?
Alternative Question: Who do you like the most in office?
Whoever you name here, you’ll be helping them build a lasting relationship with the organization.
You don’t 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 created preliminary plans out of them to test their effectiveness.
Above we have provided a list of sample exit interview questions that you can use when conducting exit interviews to interview your current and future employees. You can also expect these questions in your exit survey for departing employees.
When considering what to say and what not to say, remember that feedback is always welcome during the exit interview process.
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.
If you are new to Human Resources and are looking to break into a HR role, we recommend taking our HR Certification Courses, where you will learn how to build your skillset in human resources, build your human resources network, craft a great HR resume, and create a successful job search strategy.
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.