The exit interview is a formal meeting between a departing employee who leaves their job position and the organization. These interviews can provide honest feedback about their employment experience and why employees leave. This way, organizations can make changes from within to help staff retention and job satisfaction.
A professional exit interview process can be beneficial to employers in the long run. By quizzing exiting employees about their employment experience, an employer can pinpoint specific areas that may require attention in their staffing and organization.
So, let’s look at the 125 best exit interview questions your organization could use.
1. What was your motivation to search for a new job?
An employer can find valuable insights into an underlying problem with the management hierarchy or placing unreasonable expectations on its employees.
2. How would you rate your professional development while you were here at ABC Company? Why do you give it that rating?
Having previous employees rate their professional development is a simple way to determine if they felt the job offered a long-term opportunity, and it can pave the way to an honest conversation with a low-scoring answer.
3. Is there something the company can do to change your mind and persuade you to stay here in your position or with the company? If so, what is it?
Some employers consider enticing current employees with bonuses, salary increases, additional benefits, or other compensation to have staff stay rather than finding and retraining a new individual for the position.
4. How would you grade your responsibilities for your position for your employee satisfaction? Why do you give it that rating?
Here an employer can find out how satisfied employees were overall with their position. Answers could lead to other questions about how the company could increase the score for other employees.
5. If you had a chance to change one thing about the job position, what would it be and why?
Management may not know about some challenging circumstances that employees face every day at work. By asking what they would change, an organization may need to alter work conditions to help retain staff.
6. Did your position meet your overall expectations that you had before you started the job? Why or why not?
This question tells a company if what they advertised in a position is what the employee expected regarding training, support, and job satisfaction.
7. Would you say that your job description changed from your original start date until now? If it did, how?
You are looking for the employee’s perspective on this question to compare to his or her supervisor’s view on it.
8. Whether it changed or not, do you view this as a good thing or a bad thing, and why?
The answer may reveal if the reason for them leaving is due to changing job duties or the lack of changing job duties. This will give you insight as to whether the position duties or career path need altering before a replacement employee is hired.
9. Describe your best day at work here.
An employer asks this open-ended question to hear what makes days at their company great.
10. Describe your worst day at work here.
An employer should know what elements make workdays unsatisfactory and what they could do differently.
11. Do you think you were successful in your role as [job title]? Why or why not?
Honest answers will indicate if your employees felt successful and valuable at the organization.
12. Do you feel you had the right tools and resources to do your job well here? Why or why not?
This answer can give employers insight into what their former employees needed to succeed at work.
13. How did you feel about your new-employee training for your job?
If the new-employee training was inadequate, it might require tweaking it to make it better for others so they are more prepared for the job.
14. Why are you leaving your position at XYZ Company?
The answer may be straightforward, or it may be complex and lead to more details about inadequacies within the organization.
15. How well did your current job fit your skillset? Which of your skills do you think were the most helpful?
An employer will find out if the employee thinks he or she was well-suited for the position or if something should have changed, such as more training.
16. Please tell me what you enjoyed most about your job and why.
The answer to this question tells the employer what was positive about the employee’s time at the company and what they found was best about the position.
17. Please describe what the worst part of your job was.
The answer can reveal what part of the job was challenging. The position may require modifications to the job duties for future employees.
18. Have you ever received constructive feedback about your job performance before now? If so, how often? Tell me about the feedback.
Here an employer can see how effective communication is through the management channels.
19. Would you say your workload was reasonable, too light, or too heavy while employed? Why? What could have fixed that?
The answer will reveal if the employee felt overwhelmed or bored during their time with the company or if the workload was satisfactory.
20. Why did you choose to work here initially?
The employer will find out what attracted the individual to the company in the first place and what makes people interested in working for their organization.
21. What would you say your most significant accomplishment was while working here?
This answer provides employers information about any outstanding achievements the employee had while employed.
22. Please describe the greatest challenge you faced in your role as a [job title].
The answer tells employers what aspects are challenging in that role and if adjustments are necessary or if future employees may need additional training to be successful.
23. Did you feel that our expectations for your role as a [job title] were reasonable? Why or why not?
If an employer places too much pressure on employees, adjusting these expectations for future employees may be necessary.
24. Do you feel that the expectations for your role as a [job title] were achievable given your work environment and training? Why or why not?
The answer will let an employer know if staff members felt they could succeed at their position or not.
25. Did you work best with your team or alone? Why?
Employers will determine if the role requires more team input or works well without much interference from other employees.
26. What elements make your new position better than this one? If you do not already have a new position, what would make a new position better than this one?
Here, an employer can determine what aspects make the other position more attractive to the employee. If it is benefits, work hours, or something else, realigning the corporate compensation may help to retain employees.
27. Would you describe your job duties as making you an effective part of the team? Why or why not?
The answer will tell employers if employees felt they were a valuable and contributing part of the team.
28. How effectively do you feel you performed your job? What contributed to this result?
Personal opinions on performance can be a good indicator of unmet expectations for the role or from the management team.
29. How long did you consider leaving your position before making a final decision? Why do you think it took that amount of time?
This question can give an indication of whether the individual had been considering leaving for some time or if it was a sudden move and if there were any sudden events that made it obvious that departure was necessary, or if there were certain factors making the employee hesitate from leaving.
30. Was there a part of your daily duties that was too stressful or caused recurring problems for you? If so, what do you think could have fixed that?
This question can help determine what difficulties employees face regularly and if adjustments are required for better employee job satisfaction and/or for improved workflow processes.
31. Did anyone ever put unreasonable demands on you during your role as [job title]? If so, please tell me about it.
The answer can indicate if employees felt unreasonable stress from a co-worker or supervisor during their employment. You can then dig deeper to find out if it is a regular occurrence, and what can be done to avoid it with other employees.
32. Did you handle any job duties remotely? If so, tell me about them.
How the exiting employee answers this question will help give you insight into whether they were appropriately tasked.
33. Were you successful in your position while away from the office? Why or why not?
Some organizations allow remote work, although it may not always be successful. The answer to this question gives employers the employee’s perspective on what worked and what did not when staff performed their duties working away from the office. You can then compare the employee’s perspective to that of his or her superiors to gain a better understanding of how well the supervisors communicated expectations and performance with the employee.
34. Please tell me about anything you would change about working remotely for a smoother transition from the office.
The answer can provide ideas on making remote work more effective for employees.
35. Did you play a part in any significant advancement within your role or your team? If so, what was it?
An employer can hear about any changes or advancements the employee helped bring to the organization for the role or within the team during their time working.
36. Do you think your team received your ideas or contributions to the company well? Why or why not?
The answer to this question tells employers if staff members received positive or valuable feedback for ideas and the part they played while employed there.
37. Would you recommend XYZ Company to others looking for employment? Why or why not?
The answer will help employers understand if individuals feel the organization is a good place to work for others they know and care about.
38. How would you grade the way our company was structured and operated related to things outside your actual day-to-day work, such as benefits, payroll, getting time off, etc.? What would have improved that grade?
Employee satisfaction ratings can indicate the ease of operating in the current organizational structure for the employees to do they things they need to do outside their actual daily responsibilities.
39. How do you feel the company can improve?
Answers may include simple changes that may make a big difference in how the company helps retain employees and create a better work environment.
40. Would you ever return to work here at ABC Company in the future? Why or why not?
Here, an employer is gauging whether an employee might return if the circumstances were suitable, or if they were so unhappy with their employment experience that they would never consider returning.
41. Would you consider staying on here in an entirely new role? If so, what would it look like? If not, why?
This exit interview survey question poses an alternative scenario to help retain employees in different positions or departments. Lateral moves can save a company time and money instead of training new employees.
42. Did you receive enough hands-on training while working here? If not, what was lacking?
Here, the company is looking to see if employees had enough support and training to succeed in their roles.
43. What would have to be different for you to return to your current position?
Employers can determine if there was anything that may change an employee’s mind to have them return to the position or keep it in mind for retaining future staff members.
44. Are there any unresolved situations we should be aware of before your departure? If so, what are they?
The answer can provide details into a problematic scenario that may have contributed to an employee’s departure.
45. Did you attempt any alternative resolutions for your situation before looking for another job? If so, what did you do? If not, was there something that prevented you from trying or did you just not think it would be possible?
If they are leaving due to an unsatisfactory work experience, employers should know if they tried to resolve the issue before looking for a job elsewhere. If they did not try and did not think to try, then the employer should consider implementing a resolution process and widely advertising it within the company so employees have an easy pathway to initiate the resolution of issues they face. It will be crucial the the employees feel that they can safely initiate the process without fear of retaliation or career damage.
46. Were you satisfied with the professional environment that you worked in? Why or why not?
The answer can indicate if the company was professional and employed high standards for work ethic from their employees.
47. Do you feel our company treats all of its employees fairly? Why or why not?
The perception of the organization from its employees can say a lot. If staff does not feel the company treats everyone fairly, there will often be low job satisfaction and no loyalty to the organization.
48. Did you feel that feedback and ideas were exchanged professionally while employed here? Why or why not?
How employees communicate with one another and conduct their tasks can indicate an underlying problem within a team or a branch of management.
49. Were there any company policies you did not understand or could not adhere to during your employment? If so, what were they?
Company policies that employees cannot follow can indicate inadequate business processes, procedures or training. Therefore, consider changing policies if employees cannot adhere to the current guidelines or implementing better training so that they can.
50. Are there any company policies you would change to make the organization better or easier to work for? If so, what are they and how would you change them?
This answer can help employers find more suitable solutions for their current and future employees.
51. Do you feel that your workplace environment was safe? Why or why not?
Workplace safety is critical for job satisfaction and employee retention, especially in specific industries, like the trades. Unsafe workplace practices mean that an organization must re-evaluate its current procedures and policies to protect its workers. Unsafe environments also mean an increased legal liability for the company. Unsafe environments range from accidents with heavy equipment, to spills from uncovered hot coffee or tea being carried through a hallway and spilled on someone, to tripping on uncovered electrical cords on the floor, to being a crime victim while walking to a car in a parking garage.
52. What would you change to improve our training practices?
Inadequate training can be the deciding factor for many employees looking for work elsewhere. If staff did not receive the proper training, employers should make adjustments.
53. Is there something you wish you could have known before starting your position here at XYZ Company? If so, what was it? If not, what contributed to you feeling like you had a good understanding of the position before starting?
This question dives deeper into the company’s operational practices and how they aligned with employee expectations once they started employment.
54. Would you say XYZ Company is a place for individuals to grow in their careers successfully? Why or why not?
The answer to this question can indicate if the company helps set up its employees for success or does not offer enough growth opportunities.
55. What is the first thing you would change if you owned this company?
This question provides a bigger picture of how an employee views the company and what changes may be necessary for a better work environment.
56. Do you feel that ABC Company regularly promotes teamwork and collaboration? Why or why not?
Feeling like employees are part of a team is critical for bonding and trust in the workplace. Therefore, employers should know of any shortcomings in this area that may need changes. This way, it will help to bring about a more harmonious workplace.
57. Who would you recommend from your team or outside of the company to take your place? Why do you think that person would be a good fit?
This question can help employers decide on a replacement if there is a shortlist of current individuals in mind.
58. If you had to select someone to replace you, what would be the top three qualities should they possess to succeed in this role?
The answer will provide a look into what qualities and attributes employees feel are essential for the job position to be successful.
59. Did you feel supported in your position by your co-workers? Why or why not?
A supportive work environment can be an indication of performance. If an employee is not supported, they may not be inclined to put their best effort into their job duties.
60. How would you describe your professional relationship with your co-workers?
How an individual got along with their co-workers can indicate a positive or negative work dynamic. If there are any concerns, employers may want to explore these situations to help current employees.
61. Describe your team relationship and atmosphere.
This question provides insight into if the team communicated effectively and had good relationships during the employee’s time at the organization.
62. Is there someone who positively impacted you while working at XYZ Company? If so, who and how?
Employers can get an idea of which employees helped to create a good, supportive working environment.
63. Is there someone who negatively impacted you while working at ABC Company? If so, who and how?
Here, employers can get a feel if there is someone not adhering to company policies or aligning with the company’s culture.
64. Do you think your co-workers enjoy working here? Why or why not?
Answers to this question can provide insight into how the staff feels about their environment and overall employee satisfaction.
65. Which employee from XYZ Company would you say works the hardest, or is the most valuable to the organization? Why?
This question gives employees the chance to tell employers who they feel is a terrific employee or someone that requires recognition for their hard work and dedication.
66. Which employee from ABC Company would you say does not contribute effectively or could better use their skillset elsewhere in the organization? Why?
This question is not to bad-mouth co-workers but to offer an employer information to look at some possible restructuring moves if employees are not working to their full potential.
67. Have you spoken to other employees about your upcoming departure before today? If so, what is their understanding of your reason for leaving?
Office gossip and politics can be devastating to some organizations. Here, employers can determine if a departure is common knowledge among the staff or if it will be new information.
68. Describe the most significant challenges you faced with your team while working at ABC Company.
This question does require all the negative aspects of the team dynamics, but rather what challenges made working with the team more difficult. This way, employers can explore alternatives for better work efficiency in their staff.
69. Did a specific person or specific event prompt your decision to look for a new job outside the company? If so, please tell me about it.
The answer would give employers an indication if there was a significant person or event that impacted how an employee wants to move forward in their career.
70. Do you think that the workload was fairly balanced? Why or why not?
An employee’s perception of whether they had to work more, or work more after-hours, can give you insight into a bigger issue within the team or with the employee’s supervisor.
71. What did you think of the types of assignments you were given compared to your coworkers?
An employer will want to know if the better assignments were being handed out unevenly or if there was bias shown.
72. Did you feel supported in your work by your supervisor? Why or why not?
An employer should know if their employees feel supported by their superiors in their work environment or if changes are necessary.
73. Is there something the management team could have done differently during your employment to improve your experience here? If so, what would it have been?
The answer may shed some light on communication issues within the company or some procedural problems that may require fixing to help increase workplace satisfaction.
74. If you could alter one trait in your manager, what would it be?
Here employees may offer suggestions to how the management team can better support the staff.
75. Were you happy with the way your supervisor managed you while here at XYZ Company?
This question gives employers a look into whether the manager was effective or had any shortcomings.
76. Please describe the working relationship with your direct supervisor or manager.
Professional relationships in the workplace can benefit or hinder productivity. Therefore, looking to see if any underlying issues contributed to an unsatisfactory work environment can be beneficial for future staff retention.
77. Did you ever have problems going to a superior with an issue or problem? What happened?
This question addresses the prospect of any issues with the conflict resolution process in the organization.
78. Is there any advice you would like to offer to your direct supervisor or manager as you leave?
Answers can provide actionable insights on how the supervisor or manager can better support the employees at the company.
79. Who would you seek out for guidance if you had questions or concerns about your job duties? Why did you seek out that person?
Looking for issues with the chain of command or confusing or problematic procedural tasks in the company is a proactive approach to raising employee job satisfaction.
80. Please describe your direct supervisor’s management style?
By indicating the management style, employers can determine if that aligns with the organizational culture and how staff should be managed now and in the future.
81. Do you feel that your direct supervisor’s management style was effective in helping you be productive? Why or why not?
The answer to this question gives employers an indication if the staff feels their superiors are effective in their job and if changes are needed to increase productivity and lower staff turnaround.
82. Did you receive regular performance reviews? Why or why not?
Regular constructive feedback is critical to help employees grow and learn in their jobs. If this aspect is lacking in the position, changes will be necessary.
83. Tell me about the performance reviews you had.
You want insight into whether the employee thought that they were being treated fairly, being heard, and being groomed for more responsibility on a career path.
84. Did you approach your direct supervisor or manager when deciding to leave? If so, what was the response?
Here, employers can determine if a supervisor or manager played a part in the employee’s decision to leave or if they took the initiative to persuade them to stay at the position.
85. Do you feel that management shows favoritism towards specific employees or team members? If so, who and why?
This answer can show employers if the staff feels there is uneven favoritism to some employees, which can cause workplace issues with productivity and morale.
87. Describe your most positive employee experience while here at ABC Company.
This question can let employers know what the staff feel are positive experiences to ensure employee satisfaction.
88. Describe your least favorite experience while employed here at XYZ Organization.
Likewise, this answer will indicate to employers what circumstances can create anxiety, stress, or dissatisfaction with the workplace.
89. Can you describe how you feel about our company culture?
Here, employers seek information regarding an employee’s comfort level with the existing work culture, if it aligns with their needs and wants, or if it may be the reason for a high turnaround rate in staff.
90. Did you agree with our company mission and vision? Why or why not?
Not agreeing with the company’s mission and vision could play a significant part in the staff finding work elsewhere.
91. Did you feel like you helped to make a difference in the company’s everyday operations? Why or why not?
The answer can tell employers if employees felt their contributions were effective to the organization.
92. Did you feel that you were a valuable part of the team here? Why or why not?
Employers want to know if the employee feels valuable or needed while working at their organization.
93. Have you ever faced any discrimination or harassment while working here? If so, did you tell any superior about it? Please tell me about the discrimination or harassment you experienced.
This question will give useful information into the treatment of the employees and if the company should address any major problems.
94. Do you think a remote work environment could help the company culture here at ABC Company? Why or why not?
Flexible work environments can help retain current employees and improve workplace satisfaction, rather than moving on to other organizations.
95. How would you help to improve employee satisfaction and morale here?
Employers can ask previous employees for ideas on improving the workplace for their staff.
96. Did you feel appreciated while working at ABC Company? Why or why not?
The answer will indicate how an employee felt overall working in their position and how they perceived their value while at the company.
97. Did you have a chance to participate in team-building activities while employed here? Why or why not?
Employers ask this question to look for an indication that employees are participating or refusing to partake in team-building activities that could help increase a better workplace environment.
98. Do you feel that XYZ Company encourages diversity and inclusivity? Why or why not?
The answer will tell employers if adjustments are necessary to ensure a diverse and inclusive work environment.
99. Have you witnessed anyone suffer from negative experiences due to diversity or non-inclusivity? If so, did you tell any superior about it? Please tell me about the situation.
This question helps to give employers information if there have been any significant experiences that negatively impact the employees and the workplace environment.
100. What would you do to change our company culture regarding diversity or inclusivity?
The answer can provide suggestions to employers on making the workplace better for the current employees and any future staff members.
101. Did you have any negative experiences regarding office politics while employed here at ABC Company? If so, did you tell any superior about it? Please tell me about your experience(s).
This question can provide a look into the organization’s background that many management teams do not see when it comes to office politics.
102. Did you feel that ABC Company listened to its employees regarding a healthy work and lifestyle balance? Why or why not?
Employers should know if any changes are necessary to provide a better work-life balance for their staff.
103. Do you think XYZ Company offers a healthy work environment? Why or why not?
The answer will provide valuable information to employers if the workplace is favorable for their staff. It also opens up a further detailed discussion into what may help to create a healthier work environment.
104. Did you enjoy coming to work each day? Why or why not?
Job satisfaction is essential for employee retention. The employee’s answer will indicate if there may be an underlying problem that needs exploring within the company.
105. Did you have enough opportunities to explore a better work-life balance? Why or why not?
Employers are more aware of proper work-life balance now than ever before. The answer to this question will give an idea of whether the company is doing a good job providing this balance or require necessary changes.
106. Did your position here ever interfere with your home life or outside experiences? Why or why not?
This question provides information if the employee’s work negatively impacted their personal life.
107. Did you ever have to stay late to complete your work or take work home with you? How often did this happen? What could have prevented this?
This question tells employers if excessive workloads are the reason for a high employee turnaround rate.
Compensation and Benefits
108. How did you feel about the benefits and compensation package you received as an employee?
This question provides more information to an employer if employees did not receive enough salary or if the benefits package did not suit their needs while working in the position.
109. How do you feel your benefits and compensation package here compares to other organizations in the industry?
Answers here will indicate how the organization stands up against competing companies in the industry, especially if there is a high turnover rate.
110. Do you feel that your salary was adequate for your job duties? Why or why not?
Employers should know if employees feel that the pay rate is not enough for the job duties. Typically, an employee will not state they were paid too much, but often it is not enough due to stress on the job or workload.
111. Were you able to use your benefits package while here? If not, why?
Employees who do not use their benefits package could indicate that it does not reflect their needs, and some adjustments are necessary to suit the staff.
112. Would you change any elements of your benefits package to better suit your needs? If so, please tell me what you would change.
From this answer, employers can examine if the current benefits package is adequate for the staff or if changes are necessary to suit the employees better.
113. Were there any bonuses or incentives you were offered for exceptional work while at ABC Company? If so, did you receive any and what were they?
The answer will tell an employer if employees received compensation for any exceptional work they did during their employment or if they feel there should have been additional incentives.
114. Would you change or introduce bonuses or incentives to employees for a job well done? If so, tell me about them.
Employers may be inclined to change the bonus or incentive program if it is a deciding factor for many staff members to seek employment elsewhere.
115. Were you satisfied with the growth opportunities while employed here? Why or why not?
One reason employees quit is the lack of opportunities. If an employer does not provide growth or further learning opportunities, they may have a higher employee turnover rate.
116. What elements make the ideal job?
A detailed answer can indicate what employees prefer in an ideal job. For example, an earned day off, modified work hours, additional vacation time, extra benefits, or other perks are favorable elements.
117. What was the deciding factor in choosing another position outside of ABC Company?
Here, employers can determine what the tipping point that helped an employee decide to leave their role was.
118. Did ABC Company help you with your career goals or aspirations? How or why not?
This question helps employers determine if the staff felt that they did not receive adequate training or guidance to help build or advance their career while at their company.
119. Do you feel that you met your career goals while working here? Why or why not?
The answer will reveal if the employee felt unfulfilled while working at the organization or if their leaving is to advance their career further.
120. What are your thoughts about the comfort and functionality of your office space? How would you have improved it?
Here the employer is trying to understand if there was a problem with where the employee worked that caused discomfort or prevented good working conditions.
121. What are your thoughts about the common spaces (such as the kitchen, eating area and conference rooms), and how would you improve them?
How the employee answers this question will give you an understanding of how at home the employee felt at the office, and how the shared spaces can be improved to benefit the existing workforce.
123. Do you have any additional concerns or comments to include? If so, please tell me.
This question allows employees a chance to provide any other comments or concerns they may want to include that you did not cover with the previous questions.
124. Can you provide some specific examples?
This follow-up question is ideal for getting more details into a situation or circumstance that came from another exit interview question. Asking for specific examples can provide concrete information rather than vague feelings or opinions, which is useful to enforce change within the workplace.
125. Is there any advice you would like to give to your co-workers or your team as you leave? If so, what is it?
Here, employers can get a feel of any unresolved issues or receive helpful advice to provide other employees to make their jobs easier.
An effective exit interview will encourage employee engagement in receiving both positive and negative feedback to help improve the workplace for others.
It should be a productive conversation between the human resources department and the outgoing employee to receive a valuable source of information in improving the hiring process, current business practices, and other essential elements of the organization.
Keith Miller has over 25 years of experience as a CEO and serial entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur, he has founded several multi-million dollar companies. As a writer, Keith's work has been mentioned in CIO Magazine, Workable, BizTech, and The Charlotte Observer. If you have any questions about the content of this blog post, then please send our content editing team a message here.