So, They’re Leaving Your Company: What to Ask During the Exit Interview

4 Minutes

With a record number of people leaving to go on to new positions, the exit interview has nev...

With a record number of people leaving to go on to new positions, the exit interview has never been so important. Whether you are losing someone who has been with you for years or a few months, an exit interview will allow you to receive a direct evaluation of the environment and culture of your company. 

What is the importance of an exit interview?  

The recruitment of top talent can be costly. Taking the time to gain honest feedback could lessen turnover rates and help your organisation develop for current and future employees. In other words, it will help you find chances to increase staff retention and engagement. 

No matter the size of the company, exit interviews give employees a chance to talk about the office culture, issues with management, or worries about misconduct. 

An exit interview allows you to talk to people who are more likely to be more open about their experiences within your organisation. The person who leaves can provide you with insights that current employees may not be willing to share. It will come as no surprise that the most helpful exit interviews come from people who have decided to leave your organisation on their own accord. However, it may be difficult to gauge genuine feedback from someone that’s been asked to leave. They could be less likely to cooperate, and even if they are, their comments could be clouded by negativity and emotion. This could provide you with a not so accurate account of their time with you. 

For the purpose of this article, we will provide you with ideas for questions to ask employees who leave you on good terms. 

What prompted you to start looking for a new position? 

Of course, the answer to this question will vary from person to person but asking this question to everyone that moves on will allow you to track common themes. Some of the reasons they present may be out of your control, but if they mention pay or lack of career development, you know that this could be something that your current employees are also thinking about.  You will want to look into a strategy to improve these factors. Salary increases, bonus plans, training and development are great places to start. 

Do you feel you had appropriate training to be successful in your role? If the answer is no, how do you think it could have been better? 

Whether they answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to this question, there are learnings to take from it. If the answer is yes, great! But don’t just leave it at that - ask them what aspects of the training they felt were particularly helpful. If the answer is no, and they give reasons as to why they feel this way, take it and learn from it. Put some changes into place, as your current employees could be feeling the same way. 

Do you feel you had the tools, resources and working conditions to be successful in your role? If not, how could we improve this? 

Answers to this question are endless. If the answer is yes, well done! You have succeeded! However, realistically, everyone will have at least one thing they think could be improved. These could range from working model to office temperature. Take note and make changes or adapt them. 

Do you feel the management team recognised your contributions during your time here? If not, how do you think recognition could be enhanced? 

Asking this question will identify areas for improvement in management development and succession planning.  

One of the sources of satisfaction in the workplace is being recognized for a well-deserved job. The answer to this question can indicate which employee recognition practices are beneficial, and which are not. Ask employees to specify certain times when they felt appreciated, and times when they felt disregarded or taken for granted. 

What part of your job here did you enjoy the most? 

The more interviews you conduct, the more likely you will hear some common themes. Pay attention to these endorsements, these are what make your company a good place to work. Utilise these points by highlighting them on your website or adding them to job adverts. Remember them and emphasize them during future interviews as well. 

Is there anything the organisation can do for improving employee morale? 

This is the perfect opportunity to hear how people feel about morale within the company. Employees are more likely to talk to each other than management. The departing employee will be able to provide you with an insight into the current state of the broader team, not just themselves.  

Do you feel as if there is anything the organisation can improve on? 

This open question could prompt the person leaving to share a suggestion that they may otherwise have not had the confidence to voice before. Be open to their suggestions. You never know, they may come up with a winning one for the organisation! 

Would you recommend a family member or friend to work here, and why or why not? 

An honest answer to this question can help you establish whether the cause for an employee's departure is personal, work-related, or business-related. If the answer is no, urge them to explain what the company would need to adapt.  

Is there anything else you would like to add? 

Whilst it is always good to have a structure for an exit interview, giving the employee one last chance to open up and speak their mind is valuable to both them and you. It will give them a sense of closure, whilst giving you the chance to enquire about any outstanding issues that you should be aware of. This can lower risk and reveal issues that might need prompt action. 

At the end of the interview, summarise what you have learned from them and ask for any clarification you may need. Be sure to thank them for their time within the organisation and remember to wish them the best for the future. This gesture will go a long way. 

If you follow a template for every exit interview you conduct, you will soon start to see if any trends emerge. With the information you have gathered, you will be in a much better position to hire a replacement and take steps to improve the workplace for current and future employees alike. Consider the benefits exit interviews can have for your business if you aren't already conducting them. 

If you are currently hiring ServiceNow professionals for your team, contact one of our Recruitment Specialists today who will be happy to help throughout your journey.  

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