39 Exit Interview Questions to Ask Departing Employees

Exit interviews provide valuable insights into the reasons behind an employee's decision to leave a company. By asking the right questions, employers can gain valuable feedback and identify areas for improvement. In this article, we will explore 39 effective exit interview questions that can help you gather meaningful information from departing employees.


Importance and Goal of Conducting an Exit Interview

The primary purpose of conducting an exit interview is to gather feedback and insights from departing employees regarding their experiences, reasons for leaving, and suggestions for improvement. Here are some key points explaining the significance of conducting exit interviews:

Understanding Reasons for Departure

Exit interviews help employers understand the specific reasons why employees choose to leave the company. By listening to their feedback, management can gain valuable insights into any systemic issues, challenges, or concerns that may have contributed to employee turnover.

Identifying Patterns and Trends

By analyzing feedback from multiple exit interviews, organizations can identify recurring themes or patterns. This information can shed light on common issues or areas for improvement within the company, such as ineffective communication, inadequate career development opportunities, or negative work culture.

Improving Retention and Engagement

Exit interviews provide an opportunity to learn from employee departures and make necessary changes to improve retention rates. By addressing the concerns raised in exit interviews, companies can enhance the overall employee experience, boost engagement, and reduce turnover.

Enhancing Organizational Effectiveness

Feedback obtained from exit interviews can highlight areas where organizational processes, policies, or practices may be hindering productivity or employee satisfaction. This information can be used to refine workflows, streamline operations, and create a more efficient and effective work environment.

Identifying Training and Development Needs

Exit interviews can help uncover gaps in training and development programs. Employees may provide insights into the skills they felt were lacking or areas where they would have benefited from additional support. This information can inform future training initiatives and contribute to the professional growth of current employees.

Building a Positive Employer Brand

Conducting exit interviews demonstrates that the organization values employee feedback and is committed to continuous improvement. By actively seeking input and addressing concerns, companies can enhance their reputation as an employer that cares about their employees' experiences, which can positively impact their employer brand.

Retaining Institutional Knowledge

Departing employees possess valuable institutional knowledge and insights about their roles and responsibilities and more times than not, they are not disgruntled employees but former employees with valuable insights, willing to give their feedback. Exit interviews provide an opportunity to capture and transfer this knowledge to their successors, ensuring a smooth transition and minimizing knowledge gaps.

Exit interview are not just disgruntled employees

By conducting exit interviews, organizations demonstrate their commitment to learning and growth, while also creating a feedback loop that helps drive positive change within the company. It is an essential tool for understanding employee experiences, enhancing retention efforts, and fostering a more productive and engaged workforce.

Choosing the Right Exit Interview Questions

Choosing the right questions for an exit interview is crucial to gather meaningful insights from departing employees. Here are some tips to help you select the most appropriate questions:

  1. Align with Objectives: Start by clarifying the objectives of the exit interview. What specific information are you seeking to gather? Are you focused on understanding reasons for departure, identifying areas for improvement, or assessing specific aspects of the employee experience? Ensure that your questions align with these objectives.

  2. Be Open-Ended: Use open-ended questions that encourage employees to provide detailed and honest responses. Avoid questions that can be answered with a simple "yes" or "no." Instead, ask for their thoughts, experiences, and suggestions. This allows for more in-depth feedback.

  3. Cover Key Areas: Consider the different dimensions of the employee experience, such as work environment, management support, growth opportunities, communication, and compensation. Cover a range of topics to gain a holistic understanding of the employee's perspective.

  4. Balance Positivity and Constructive Criticism: Include questions that prompt employees to highlight positive aspects of their experience, as well as areas for improvement. This balance helps to maintain a constructive and honest tone during the interview.

  5. Prioritize Relevance: Tailor the questions to the specific employee's role, department, and experience within the company. Focus on aspects that are likely to have a direct impact on their decision to leave and their insights on the organization as a whole.

  6. Use Benchmarking: Consider incorporating some standardized questions that allow for benchmarking and comparison across different exit interviews. This helps to identify common themes, trends, and patterns.

  7. Keep it Manageable: While it's important to gather comprehensive feedback, avoid overwhelming the employee with an excessively long list of questions. Aim for a reasonable number of questions that can be covered within the allocated time for the interview.

  8. Seek Input from Stakeholders: Involve relevant stakeholders, such as HR professionals, supervisors, or team members, in the question selection process. Their input can provide different perspectives and ensure a comprehensive set of questions.

  9. Pilot Test the Questions: Before implementing the questions in all exit interviews, consider conducting a pilot test with a few employees. This helps to refine the wording and structure of the questions based on their feedback.

  10. Continuously Improve: Regularly review and update the exit interview questions based on the feedback received and evolving organizational needs. This ensures that the questions remain relevant and effective over time.

Number of companies conducting exit interviews

Exit Interview Questions Examples

Once you define exactly what you need from a departing employee to be able to provide a better workplace environment for future employees, it is time to define the questions that will help you get the feedback you need to further improve employee experience and make your company a desirable place to work. Below are 39 exit interview questions you can choose from to conduct the most effective exit interview. 

Reasons for Leaving

1. What prompted you to start looking for a new opportunity?

2. Can you share any specific factors that contributed to your decision to leave the company?

3. Were there any changes in your personal circumstances that influenced your decision to leave?

4. Did you receive a better offer or opportunity elsewhere that led to your departure?

Work Environment

5. How would you describe your overall experience working here?

6. Did you feel adequately supported by your immediate supervisor and the management team?

7. Were there any particular instances where you felt your concerns or suggestions were not addressed?

8. How would you rate the company's commitment to work-life balance?

9. Were there any specific work-related challenges or issues that you believe could have been addressed more effectively by the company?

Company Culture

10. Can you provide any feedback on the company's work environment and culture?

11. Did you feel a sense of inclusion and belonging within the company?

12. How would you describe the morale and motivation levels among your colleagues?

13. Were there any specific incidents or issues that negatively impacted your experience here?

14. Can you share any suggestions or recommendations for improving employee satisfaction within the company?

15. What could the company have done differently to encourage you to stay?

16. How would you rate the company's efforts in fostering a healthy work-life balance?

Role-Related Questions

17. What aspects of your role did you find most fulfilling and enjoyable?

18. Conversely, were there any aspects of your role that you found challenging or unfulfilling?

19 Did you feel your skills and talents were fully utilized in your role?

20. Were there any specific challenges or obstacles that made it difficult for you to perform your job effectively?

21. How well do you feel your work aligned with the company's overall goals and objectives?

22. How would you rate the level of support and resources provided to you in accomplishing your job responsibilities?

23. Were you satisfied with the level of autonomy and decision-making authority given to you in your role?

Compensation and Benefits

24. Were there any concerns related to compensation and benefits that influenced your decision to leave?

25. How satisfied were you with the level of compensation for your role?

26. Did you feel the benefits provided by the company were competitive and met your needs?

27. Were there any specific improvements or changes you would suggest regarding compensation and benefits?

Growth and Development Opportunities

28. Were you provided with sufficient opportunities for professional growth and development?

29. Did you receive constructive feedback and support for your career advancement?

30. How satisfied were you with the training and learning opportunities available to you?

31. Did you receive constructive feedback and support for your career advancement?

32. Were there any specific areas where you felt there could have been more focus on your professional development?

Employee Experience

33. How would you rate the effectiveness of the company's communication channels and processes?

34. Were there any areas within the company where you felt the communication could have been improved?

35. Did you feel comfortable voicing your opinions and concerns without fear of reprisal?

36. How well do you feel the company aligned with your personal values and career aspirations?

37. Were there any areas within the company where you noticed inefficiencies or room for improvement?

38. Overall, what advice would you give to the company to enhance its employee experience?

39. Is there anything else you would like to share about your experience working here?

These additional questions provide a well-rounded approach to gathering feedback from departing employees across different categories. Remember to select the questions that align with your organization's goals and objectives and adapt them as needed.

Looking for more interview questions?
We have a database of over 650 interview questions templates for any type of questions you need – from psychological and skills related to questions for specific jobs!
 Get the questions you need! 

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, conducting thorough and well-structured exit interviews is a valuable practice for organizations seeking to gain insights from departing employees. By categorizing the questions and covering key areas such as reasons for leaving, work environment, company culture, role-related aspects, compensation and benefits, and growth and development opportunities, employers can obtain a comprehensive understanding of the employee experience and identify areas for improvement. 

Remember, the goal is not only to gather feedback but also to use it constructively to enhance employee satisfaction, retention rates, and overall organizational success. By actively listening to departing employees and taking appropriate actions based on their feedback, companies can create a culture that fosters continuous improvement, open communication, and a positive working environment for both current and future employees.

backgound backgound
Job Interview Questions

Job Interview Questions

Check out our database of the best job interview questions to ask your candidates!
Get free templates

Further reading

How to Prepare for a Phone Interview? How to Prepare for a Phone Interview?
Remote recruitment is quickly becoming a new norm. Gartner’s survey found that 86% of organizations are conducting virtual interviews to hire candidates during...
What is the Best Interview Technique? What is the Best Interview Technique?
If you’re wondering what is the best interview technique you as an employer should use to choose the best job candidate, you’ve come to the right place....
Top 5 Interview Techniques Top 5 Interview Techniques
Discover the top 5 interview techniques employers use to find the best candidate for the job. This blog post is a must-read for every HR professional who wants to...

By topics

Attracting Candidates
Best HR Blogs
Candidate Experience
Careers Page
Collaborative Hiring
Conducting Interviews
Coronavirus (Covid-19)
Company Culture
Employee Management
Employee Onboarding
Internal Recruitment
Employer Branding
Hire planning
HR Software
HR Tech Trends
Interview Questions
Job Advertisement
Mobile Recruitment
News & Updates
People Analytics
Recruiting Stats
Recruitment Agencies
AI in Recruitment
Recruitment by Industry
Recruitment Content
Recruitment Marketing
Recruitment Process
Recruitment & HR Software
Recruitment Trends
Remote Work
Resume Screening
Candidate Assessment
Social Recruiting
Talent Sourcing
Successful Recruiter
Talent Acquisition
Tech Recruiting
Employee Retention
Video in Recruitment
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)

Your hiring teammate

TalentLyft is an intuitive recruitment app made for successful hiring.