best exit interview questions

What is one question you like to ask in an exit interview?

To help you with determining the best exit interview questions to ask, we asked HR leaders and CEOs this question for their best insights. From asking which team member is ready to step into their shoes to inquiring if there is anything else they would like to share or address, there are several recommendations that may help you prepare your exit interview questions in the future.

Here are the 11 best exit interview questions:

  • Which Team Member is Ready to Step into Your Shoes?
  • What Could We Have Done Differently to Make You Stay?
  • Did Anything Make Your Decision Difficult?
  • Did You Receive Consistent and Constructive Feedback?
  • What Could Your Manager Have Done Better?
  • Why Did You Start Looking for a New Job?
  • What Was Your Least Favorite Part About Your Role?
  • How Was Your Mental Health While Working Here?
  • How Would You Describe Our Company Culture?
  • Did Someone Have a Negative Impact on Your Morale?
  • Is There Anything Else You’d Like to Share Or Address?

Which Team Member is Ready to Step into Your Shoes?

Find out if they have an opinion of who on their team is qualified and ready to take over their role in the company. It’s important to remember that while your departing team member holds a clear understanding of what the position requires, they also have valuable insights into the skills and talents of their co-workers. These insights can prove helpful in identifying those employees within the team who are ready for promotion. Whenever any staff member decides to leave, promoting from within provides the rest of your workers with opportunities for advancement. And when employees know there is a potential career path within your company, you’ll be less likely to lose them to another organization.

Chris Gadek, AdQuick

What Could We Have Done Differently to Make You Stay?

The goal of any exit interview is to identify what went wrong and how the company can improve in order to reduce the chances of losing future employees. Often, there are things that the company doesn’t even realize are driving employees away, such as a bad work/life balance, poor management, or low salaries. So it’s important to get candid feedback from exiting employees so that these issues can be addressed.

Bartek Boniecki, passport-photo online

Did Anything Make Your Decision Difficult?

Exit interviews can be tricky because few people want to burn a bridge on their way out. You can get insights into what’s working well in your company by understanding if there was anything that made their decision to leave difficult. It may be a great boss, people they work with, or some office perk, but knowing that information gives you good insights into what you should continue doing.

Logan Mallory, Motivosity

Did You Receive Consistent and Constructive Feedback?

Consistent feedback and recognition are an integral part of the employee experience — without it, they’re bound to feel disconnected from the organization and even stagnant in their professional lives. Asking this very valuable question sheds light on whether an exiting employee truly received sufficient guidance, motivation, and feedback during their journey or was simply left to figure things out on their own, which influenced their decision.

Demi Yilmaz,

What Could Your Manager Have Done Better?

During an exit interview, ask the employee what their manager could have done better. This will help you get an idea of if there were significant issues with their manager and if that could have led to their departure. It can signal whether their manager needs to be retrained or given better tools in order to be a better manager. Poor management can often lead employees to seek employment elsewhere, so it’s important to make sure managers are doing their jobs well to prevent turnover.

Rachel Roff, Urban Skin Rx

Why Did You Start Looking for a New Job?

In an exit interview, take the opportunity to ask why the employee started looking for a new job. How they answer can help you understand their reasoning behind wanting to find a new position elsewhere. It can indicate what about the company or their current job influenced their decision. Insights gained from their answer can give you ideas about how to make improvements to retain employees better in the future.

Brett Sohns, LifeGoal Investments

What Was Your Least Favorite Part About Your Role?

As the leader of a company, I always want to get a direct answer to this question so that I can work to improve the experience for every future employee. Don’t wait for the person to leave their remarks on an employer review website. Rather, find out what that employee did not find satisfying about their job description, and share it with the executive team so you can continuously work toward providing a happy, healthy workplace.

Stephanie Venn-Watson, fatty15

How Was Your Mental Health While Working Here?

The mental health of employees is increasingly, and correctly, being viewed as a primary concern. And while the question regarding mental health should be a constant one in a work environment, an exit interview is as good a time as any to pose this question. In asking this question, managers can gauge how they are maintaining the workings of the workplace, how their processes affect employees’ mental health, and how they can make changes. Even if positive changes cannot help the employee on the way out, the feedback can surely help the colleagues they are leaving behind.

Azmaira Maker, Ph.D., Aspiring Families

How Would You Describe Our Company Culture?

The environment in which myself and my company foster for my employees is of the utmost importance to me. A job should be a space where you feel encouraged and motivated to work. To help my employees feel appreciated, I need to know how they feel about the culture. Workplace culture is a big part of what makes people want to work at a company or not. Thus, any insight I receive from a departing employee is essential to evaluate the morale of the company and improve our culture for future and current employees.

Michelle Arnau, Rowan

Did Someone Have a Negative Impact on Your Morale?

If there is a co-worker or supervisor who is having a negative impact on morale or is affecting one’s confidence, that is something I would want to know. That pointed question would be part of the exit interview that I conduct. I don’t want anyone on my team feeling discouraged or inadequate based on someone else’s unsolicited critique. If it’s a case of someone not liking the work, seeking a career change or finding a better opportunity elsewhere, that’s perfectly fine. If someone was unhappy due to someone else’s behavior, that has to be addressed. Let the person talk freely. Be discerning. It could be that the departing employee has an unreasonable grudge. Or, it could be that the employee was insulted or driven to a breaking point by someone behaving badly. Investigate thoroughly. Get actionable insight.

Alan Ahdoot, Adamson Ahdoot Law

Is There Anything Else You’d Like to Share Or Address?

Your business should help people, or it likely won’t survive—this is a universal truth that guides my approach to leadership. This sentiment is applicable to my customers as well my employees. With this in mind, I like to welcome employees to share ‘anything else’ we may not have covered during an exit interview. Ending with an open-ended question gives them an opportunity to share any other information they feel is important. Providing a platform for them to voice an opinion or grievance gives them space to talk about something that may otherwise have remained unheard.

Datha Santomieri, Steadily

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