10 Best Exit Interview Questions To Ask (+ what comes next)

by Alumni Content in Corporate Alumni   |    Last Edited: 10th August 2021

What type of exit interview questions do you ask departing employees? The employee offboarding process is as important as the initial onboarding proceedings (if not more so!) in terms of HR management in 2021 and beyond. 

Get offboarding right and you pave the way for continued engagement through your corporate alumni program. The doors are opened to future collaboration in one form or another between the business and its former employees.   

Here is a list of ten questions your HR representative should be asking employees during the exit interview.

Ten Exit Interview Questions You Should Be Asking Departing Employees

1. What Inspired Your Move?

Every employee has a reason for leaving. Sometimes it’s personal. They may be moving with their spouse, or they may want to have more flexibility in their schedule. 

On the other hand, they may not have fit in with the prevailing culture or could have found their position too challenging (or not challenging enough). Whatever the case is, you need to know if there is more to the story.

2. What Is The One Thing That Might Have Convinced You To Stay?

This is an excellent open-ended question that allows the departing employee to share how their work environment or situation could have been improved. 

Even though it may be late along the line to do anything about it at this stage, you can still use this data to pave the way for better retention rates in the future.

Exit Interview Best Practices

3. At What Point Did You Start Looking For A New Position?

Some employees may have been actively looking for a new job for a while, while others may have been head-hunted for their unique skill sets. Knowing which is which will give you the tools and insight to identify would-be attrition more effectively in the future.

4. Was Your Job What It Was Advertised To Be?

One of the big reasons why employees are likely to leave a current position for a new one is because the job was not what they imagined it would be. 

If this is the case, your HR team needs to look at how they design job descriptions, as well as how they interview. When expectations are met in the workplace, employee churn is far lower.

5. Were You Offered The Opportunity To Train Or Upskill?

When employees are offered the opportunity for further training or to upskill to enhance their career trajectory, they are more likely to stay with their current employer. 

On the other hand, if there was no room for growth they are likely to seek greener pastures, especially in the wake of COVID-19 according to general sentiment

Find out where the person was positioned in this sense, to see if your business needs to focus more actively on carving out opportunities for career development.

6. Did A Specific Person Or Issue Drive Your Decision To Leave?

In certain instances, a shaky co-worker or management relationship may have triggered an employee’s decision to depart. This may be a personality issue, or it could point to a significant cultural problem. 

Keep track of names that pop up often, and see if there is a way that this disruptive influence could be tempered or kept in check.

Make Employee Exit A Positive Experience

7. Would You Prefer To Chat About Your Reasons For Departing At A Later Stage?

Sometimes a departing employee may not be overly forthcoming during their exit interview

If your HR representative encounters such a situation, they should ask whether the person in question would be open to a phone call at a later stage to discuss their reasons for leaving. This keeps the door open for another conversation at a later date.

8. Is There Any Chance Of A Hail Mary? 

If a star employee is leaving, you’d be remiss if you did not ask them whether there is anything you could do to convince them to stay. So ask away.

9. Would You Recommend Our Company As A Workplace For Family Or Friends? 

Your employer brand is dependent on good word of mouth, especially when it comes to your alumni. If a departing employee answers ‘no’ to this question, you need to know why. It is something that needs to be communicated ASAP if you wish to attract and retain top talent down the line.

10. Anything Else That You’d Like to Share About Your Experience At Our Company?

Always provide the departing employee with the opportunity to add something more at the end of the interview. You may receive some valuable insights that prompt change for the better internally.

What Comes After The Exit Interview?

Once you’ve gathered the information you need, take the time to invite your departing employee to become a part of your company’s alumni community. 

Reasons Employees Leave

Sure, there are certain instances in which a clean break may be best. Or some water may need to flow beneath the proverbial bridge before an exiting employee is ready to engage with your team once more. 

However, when an employee moves on for personal reasons like career growth, a family move, or making more time to care for their children, it can be hugely beneficial to keep them in the loop. This sets the scene for potential boomerang hires, positive word of mouth, future business collaborations, and so much more. 

It’s best to provide departing employees with a clear value proposition to join your alumni community, rather than just inviting them to join a glorified mailing list. This could be through access to industry resources, great events, networking opportunities, CSR platforms, and so on.

Final Thoughts

Asking the right exit interview questions can provide your business with a lot of valuable data on talent attraction and retention. Task your HR team to find out what inspired the departing employees’ move and if something could have convinced them to stay. Determine when they started looking for a new position and whether their current one was what it was advertised to be. 

See if they were offered the opportunity to train and whether a particular person/event drove their decision to leave. Also, provide them with the option to discuss their reasons for leaving at a later stage and to share any extra information or opinions they may have.

For more information on how an alumni program can work for you, get in touch with the EnterpriseAlumni team today.