An exit interview is a prime opportunity for you to learn what your company could do better. Employees that already have at least one foot out the door are often more likely to be open and honest with you, as they have less at stake and aren’t looking to score brownie points. The following questions go above and beyond the standard “what did/didn’t you like about your job” and really get to the heart of what you can do better for your employees.
1. Why did you begin looking for a new job?
There is often one specific instance that motivated an employee to hit the job ads and start searching for a new place of employment. Encourage honesty in this answer, because the drive is often a disagreement with management. Whether it was a day with limited staff, a short-fused coworker, or a policy that didn’t click, the answers can all reveal how you can help prevent your next vacancy.
2. Did you feel that you were adequately recognized for your achievements?
Recognition isn’t the only important factor, but can go a long way in making an employee feel valued. If an employee that’s leaving answers “no,” find out what type of recognition they would have been satisfied with and why they feel the current system is inadequate.
3. Were you sufficiently trained for your role?
A large number of employees cite “insufficient training” as a reason for leaving a place of employment. There may be training gaps that you don’t notice that can be highlighted in an exit interview. Find out how training can be improved to more sufficiently prepare future employees.
4. Did you feel comfortable talking to your manager?
If there is a problem with the manager, an employee may feel trapped and unable to resolve their issue. In some cases, it seems like the easiest scenario is to quit. While this isn’t the only reason for leaving, too many employees cite problems with management for you to ignore this question during an exit interview.
5. Were your work goals and assignments reasonable and well communicated?
Overwhelmed employees aren’t happy or satisfied, neither are employees that feel that expectations aren’t being communicated. Identify whether employees feel goals are clear and reasonable so that you can make adjustments if necessary.
6. What would have influenced you to stay here?
While you won’t be able to accommodate every employee and convince them to stay, you may get an idea of what could be done better to reduce turnover by asking this question. If the employee is leaving to pursue a career in a completely different industry or type of company, their answers may not be completely applicable, but could still provide some insight. If their answers aren’t far fetched at all, you may just be able to win them back in the future.
7. Did you feel that the company culture was the right fit for you?
Company culture is incredibly important to employees’ daily life, but difficult to alter or nail down. It can be even more elusive for managers, as employees may alter their behavior when manager eyes are watching. An employee that is leaving is the perfect person to give you the inside scoop on the true culture that may be hiding.