13 Valuable Exit Interview Questions HR Managers Should Ask

What exit interview questions can provide actionable insights from candidates and maximize the value of the exit interview?

To help HR Managers get the most value out of exit interviews, we asked business owners and HR professionals this question for their best insights. 

Here are 13 valuable exit interview questions:

  • What advice would you give past you when interviewing?
  • What is your short-term career plan?
  • How can we improve training programs?
  • What is the worst part of the job and why?
  • What do we need to improve to retain top talent?
  • How did you feel about your project loads?
  • How was your experience with our company culture?
  • Were you satisfied with your manager and the way you were managed?
  • What is your next career goal?
  • What are the best qualities for this position?
  • Did you have everything/receive the support needed to do your job?
  • Has Your Job Changed?
  • What is the most important thing you learned with us?



What advice would you give past you when interviewing?

One of my favorite exit interview questions is “if you could go back in time to when you were interviewing for this role and give one piece of advice to your past self, what would it be?” This wording puts the employee into the mindset of helping themselves rather than helping the company, which can inspire a more honest and thought-out answer. Even if the employee is leaving on good terms, there is always room for improvement. This question can encourage the employee to identify gaps between the interview experience and the reality of the job, which can help recruiters and managers improve the hiring process and better support and guide new team members.

Michael Alexis, TeamBuilding


What is your short-term career plan?

Asking candidates about their next step can provide unique context on the employment cycle. We may realize how our businesses are positioned in the industry and perceived by professionals. It can lead to curious findings such as the firm being seen as a great training ground with not much opportunity for internal career growth or that we offer lower pay rises than the competition.

Rebeca Sena, GetSpace.digital


How can we improve training programs?

It is important to ask about how to improve the training programs and starting with the company. Those are two things that should constantly be worked on to improve and perfect over the years. As 2020 showed us, hiring processes can change on a whim. Always seek improvement, add these types of questions to your exit interviews.

Olivia Young, Conscious Items


What is the worst part of the job and why?

What was the worst part of your job and why? This simple question is direct and to the point and addresses the worst part of the person’s job. This is important to find out because if this was the worst part of this person’s job, it likely is the worst part of other people’s job within the company. Perhaps some internal processes are broken, or you need to invest in better tools for your business. All of these things are important to impacting the growth of your company and making it a better place to work. This question does a lot to extract a lot of information effectively so that you can have actionable insights from an exit interview.

Chris Gadek, AdQuick


What do we need to improve to retain top talent?

When HR specialists conduct an exit interview with an employee, they inquire about their relationship with management, whether they have adequate tools to do their job, and how they feel about their benefits. However, all these questions boil down to one: what can we do to retain top talent? Indeed, all detailed questions are like an investigation into why an employee leaves and how to prevent it in the future. However, the answer can be found in one question.

Karolina Zajac, Passport Photo Online


How did you feel about your project loads?

Exit interviews should always ask how project loads were throughout the employee’s time. This gives actionable insight into how teams should be distributing work, and if timelines are fair for employees. Make sure that the question is formatted so it is not loaded and candidates feel comfortable enough to answer it.

Michael Jankie, Natural Patch


How was your experience with our company culture?

When conducting an exit interview the goal should be to gain insight into how to better retain employees. Some factors, such as salary, benefits, incentives, and perks, are more concrete and easy to assess, however, other factors such as company culture are nebulous, yet just as critical. According to Select One, nearly a third of job seekers will pass up an opportunity due to bad company culture, and 72% cited that as a factor to staying with a company.

Therefore, asking questions about relationships with management, support structure, teamwork, and job advancement opportunities should be asked. After a few of these exit interviews are conducted, look for common threads. See if there are shortcomings that can be addressed to improve company culture. By committing some of this process to look beyond just salary and benefits, you can address issues and increase employee retention rates.

Jeff Meeks, EnergyFit


Were you satisfied with your manager and the way you were managed?

This question will be able to tell you a great deal about the department and the manager. It can be helpful for when it’s time to review the manager and give the company more insight into the way a particular department is run. This can make all the difference in how people are managed there in the future.

Adam Reed, Crown & Paw


What is your next career goal?

This question will help you understand potential plans their team may have for the employee in the future, so you can plan them accordingly. It also gives insight into whether the candidate wants to stay in an individual contributor position, or would prefer a move into management. This information can inform how competitive you are when it comes to salaries and packages offered.

Claire Westbrook, LSAT Prep Hero


What are the best qualities for this position?

If you ask employees who are about to leave a company what they believe would be crucial qualities for those filling their positions, this could help a lot with finding the right replacement. While you definitely need to look for certain skills and credentials, you also need to note personality traits of your candidates, depending on the roles you’re trying to fill. For example, you may realize that candidates for customer service representatives would need to be friendly and communicative. Furthermore, you also need to see if your candidates would be good culture fits within the company.

Brandon Amoroso, electrIQ marketing


Did you have everything/receive the support needed to do your job?

No matter how self-sufficient and introverted no one is an island as well all need support. Whether that is moral, emotional or resource-oriented employees like to know that they matter and are wanted on the team. That’s why this question is an invitation for the exiting employee to open up about the actual state of affairs on their team.

Here, they are able to share the good, the bad, and the ugly about how things truly looked. The answers given may hurt but also give an excellent purview into what is missing and what is the culprit which may be steering them to leave the company. If you notice a pattern in the response among those leaving this can be a crystal clear sign that there is an issue worth tackling.

Peter Bryla, ResumeLab


Has your job changed?

One of my favorite questions to ask during the exit interview is” “How has your job changed since you started?”  I find that the answer is thought-provoking and the employee answers me honestly.  When someone leaves the company, hiring managers are quick to dust off the old job description and post it right away without first evaluating its accuracy.  It is important to take the employee’s feedback back to the hiring manager before they post the position.

Suzanne Crest, Eos HR Consulting


What is the most important thing you learned with us?

I like to ask what’s the most important thing they learned with us. This gives me a very clear idea of what we’re doing right and where we are providing value and training for your employees. You want them to feel like the time they spent with the company wasn’t in vain and that they are better professionals after they leave here.

The other thing I ask is what the biggest waste of time was. That helps me understand where we’re not being efficient and where we can improve in terms of everyday processes and skills the employees learn that are, perhaps, unnecessary. I’ve received all sorts of responses from “meetings” to “socializing”, to “showing up to work”. It’s going to depend on the person, but after a while, the picture becomes more clear. 

Sam Spratt, BlueChip Financial


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