33 Exit Interview Questions for an Effective Offboarding Experience

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

33 Exit Interview Questions for an Effective Offboarding Experience

Exit interviews may seem daunting or even unnecessary. After all, your employee has decided to leave, what else is there to discuss? Actually, exit interviews are extremely helpful for employers when structured correctly.

As noted by Harvard Business Review and industry experts, conducting exit interviews gives the company insight into employee mindsets, sheds light on workplace habits, explores the employee experience, and reveals problems that may exist in the organization [1]. Though exit interviews may feel awkward, you may find them the best tool to improve your company's work environment and boost employee job satisfaction.

‍In this article, we'll focus on the definition of an exit interview, why they are so important, and which offboarding questions to ask for an effective exit interview experience.

What Is an Exit Interview?

‍A vital part of the offboarding process, exit interviews are conducted by employers with a departing employee to discuss the employee's work experiences, reason(s) for leaving, and any other honest feedback.

This is usually conducted by the Human Resources Department. However, in some instances, the employee's direct supervisor can also conduct the exit interview survey.

Steps to Conduct Employee Exit Interviews

‍ To ensure you get the most from your exit interviews, be sure they are structured and prepared ahead of time. Here are some best practices to keep in mind:

1) Decide on the Format of the Exit Interview Process

‍ You have two choices when it comes to exit interviews. The first is asking the exit interview questions through a questionnaire. The benefit here is that departing team members may feel more comfortable about being upfront with their answers and responses if they don't have to say it directly to their boss.

However, a face-to-face interview is still the most widely recommended. This format allows for a less structured interview with employees that can delve into deeper details and may result in a more complete story. It also shows your employees that you care as much about them during the offboarding process as you did during the onboarding process.

2) Decide Who Will Do the Exit Interview

The two options for this include an employee's direct supervisor or one of the HR managers. Each option has various pros and cons.

An employee's direct supervisor has worked closely with them and had a better understanding of their talent and performance. Because of this, they can provide keen insights into the employee's performance, the struggles they may have faced, and how they feel about their boss and the company. This will allow them to ask an exiting employee the best questions that may result in valuable information and actionable employee feedback.

However, sometimes a direct supervisor may be too close to the subject. Most companies have HR managers conduct exit interviews. This is because HR teams are more well-versed in the entire employee journey from the hiring process, job description, work conditions, compensation, company culture, and employee engagement metrics. They also know what insights the company will need which is essential in crafting the best exit interview questions.

Some companies hire an external consultant for exit interviews. While consultants are experts at crafting exit interview questions and getting feedback, this option can seem impersonal.

3) Prepare Your Exit Interview Questions in Advance

While you want your exit interview to be fluid, you also don't want to be unprepared. Putting together the best exit interview questions ahead of time will ensure you don't miss asking exiting employees the important questions. You can also include a potential follow-up question ahead of time, based on the responses of the former employee.

Also, be sure to assure your employees that all the answers, insight, and information they provide during the exit interview will be kept confidential.

Most Effective Exit Interview Questions ‍

Now that you are ready to conduct an effective exit interview, let's look at how to craft great exit interview questions. We've listed some sample questions that you can add to your exit interview survey template.

Reasons for Leaving

The most important question you must ask is why the employee decided to leave. The answer helps you better understand their reasons, the factors that influenced the employee's decision and how they came to the decision to move to another employer.

  • Why did you decide to leave?
  • What made you accept your new job?

Overall Experience

Gauging an employee's overall workplace experience can help you understand the day-in-the-lives of your employees.

  • What did you like best about your job? The least?
  • Do you think your job has changed since you started? If yes, give specific examples of areas that changed since you were hired.
  • Do you feel your manager gave you adequate and complete training?
  • Were you happy with the employee benefits offered?
  • Did you feel like your achievements were recognised?
  • How do you feel about the management practices?
  • What was your relationship with your manager like?
  • Did you get along with your colleagues?
  • Did you receive constructive feedback or honest feedback from your manager throughout your tenure?
  • How would you describe your overall employee experience?

Work Culture

Asking your exiting employees about the work culture they experienced will help you make vital changes to your workplace environments that could also improve employee morale.

  • ‍How would you describe the company culture?
  • How would you describe team collaboration in the workplace?
  • What would make this company a better workplace?
  • Do you feel the company promotes teamwork and cooperation?
  • Do you think company policies promote a healthy work environment?
  • Have you ever faced discrimination or harassment?
  • How important is company culture for you?

Professional Goals

Your former employee's professional goals will help you understand how you can support the future career goals of your current and future employees.

  • Was the job description you were given upon hiring understandable?
  • What are your career goals?
  • Did you feel like the company supported your career goals?
  • Do you feel like you had development opportunities to advance in this company?
  • Would you consider staying?
  • What role does your employer or manager play in helping you achieve your goals?

Recommendations

Listen to your former employee's recommendations for easy ways to improve your company.

  • ‍What suggestions do you have to make the company a better place to work?
  • Would you recommend our company to someone looking for work?
  • What skills would you consider necessary for your replacement?
  • Are there any policies you believe should be changed to improve employee retention?
  • How can we improve the company culture for employees?
  • How can we improve our training programs?
  • How can we improve the employee experience?
  • If you could change anything about our company, what would you change?


Conclusion

An exit interview form can be an employer's greatest tool when looking for solutions to high turnover rates or low employee morale. They can also provide keen insight into how to improve retention and the work environment, which is especially important for your current employees and the next hire. Exit surveys are a key process to conducting a smooth, efficient offboarding process for any departing employees.

Enhance your organisation's reputation and ensure your exiting employees leave as brand ambassadors by using Qualee to deliver a seamless and thoughtful offboarding experience. Try our Starter Plan today.

You might be interested in the following resources:
Calculate onboarding ROI using our Onboarding Cost Calculator
Learn about our 7 Onboarding Ice Breakers for New Team Members to Integrate and Build Connections
Take a look at our A Beginner's Guide to HR Consulting
Trial our A Quick HR Documents Checklist
Learn about The Phases of the Employee Lifecycle

[1] https://hbr.org/2016/04/making-exit-interviews-count
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