Career Advice

51 Best Questions to Ask in an Exit Interview (Plus Tips for a Good Exit Interview)

Here’s a quick stat: Workers go through an average of 3 to 7 different jobs in their careers. So it’s no surprise to have a departing employee from the company.

When a current employee hands over their resignation letter, it’s wise to conduct an exit interview. But as the HR representative, you might not know what type of exit interview questions to ask. 

No worries. I’m here to help by giving you the 51 best questions to ask in an exit interview. I’ll also provide some tips on how to conduct a good exit interview. But first…

Read More: 18 Crucial Questions To Ask An Underperforming Employee

Why Should You Conduct Exit Interviews?

The human resources department is responsible for valuable information on why an employee is leaving. The company can then use this information to improve employee retention. 

Let me give you an example. Say the employee’s decision to leave is because the company culture doesn’t have a healthy work-life balance. To reduce turnover, the company can boost employee morale by allowing a hybrid schedule

Here are other reasons why exit interviews are important:

  • It provides valuable feedback from departing employees about their experiences, perceptions, and reasons for leaving.
  • It helps to end the employee relationship on a good note and gather helpful feedback on areas for improvement.
  • It identifies patterns and trends related to employee turnover, which can inform organizational development initiatives, training programs, policy revisions, and efforts to create a more positive and supportive work environment.
  • It improves the overall employee experience by allowing employees to give honest feedback, which can boost morale among remaining employees and improve engagement levels.

According to Robert Half, the owner of the world’s largest specialized talent solutions and business consulting firm:

“As part of the offboarding process, this meeting allows you to hear from people who are likely to be the most candid about their experiences with your firm. Departing workers can provide insights current workers may be reluctant to share.”

51 Best Exit Interview Questions to Ask Employees

To organize your employee exit interview questions, I’ll use Michelle Ercanbrack, the Senior Communications Manager at BambooHR, category format. This includes:

  • Questions about the reasons for leaving
  • Questions about employee experience
  • Questions about the employee’s role
  • Questions about the future 

So let’s look at the best questions to ask in an exit interview under each category. 

Questions about the reasons for leaving

To start, the first must-ask exit interview questions are about why the employee wants to leave the company. Here are the questions you ask for this:

1. Why are you leaving the company?

2. What things might have affected your choice to stay with or leave the company?

3. Did you bring up any of the concerns we talked about today with the company before you handed in your resignation?

4. Did you have a good relationship with your immediate manager?

5. Did you have a good relationship with your colleagues?

6. Was there anything we could have done to keep you from leaving?

7. What were the key factors that influenced your decision to choose another job? Was it primarily salary, benefits, time-off policies, company culture, or something else entirely?

Questions about employee experience

It’s important to ask an employee who is leaving about their work experience. These questions can help you identify flaws in the system that may need changing. For this category, here are the exit meeting questions to ask:

8. What are your overall thoughts on working for our company?

9. How did you feel about the management style?

10. Did you feel supported by your manager in achieving success?

11. Can you describe what your best day at work looked like?

12. Can you describe what your worst day at the job was like?

13. What were the most positive and negative aspects of your job?

14. Did you feel you had sufficient opportunities to improve your skills and knowledge?

15. What are your greatest values? Did the company culture align with those values? 

16. Did your manager provide you with regular, constructive feedback?

17. Can you recall a moment when you felt a sense of pride in your work?

18. How did you feel about the performance review process?

19. Did you feel that your contributions were properly acknowledged by management? If not, what do you think could be done to improve recognition?

20. How would you describe your work-life balance during your time here?

21. Do you believe that you were valued and appreciated within the organization?

22. How would you explain our company’s culture to one of your closest friends?

23. Which programs did you think were lacking in the organization?

24. Would you recommend this company to a friend? What are the reasons for your recommendation or lack thereof?

25. Did you encounter any company policies or practices that you found challenging or frustrating?

26. What were the top three challenges you faced while working at our company?

27. Are there any employee benefits that were not provided but you believe should have been offered?

Questions about the employee’s role

It’s a good idea to ask employee exit interview questions that focus on role-related issues. This is so that the future employee replacing the former employee will have a better experience. This is why it’s important to know the answer to this question:

28. Did you feel that your duties were well-defined? Were you aware of what was expected from you?

29. Did the position live up to your expectations?

30. What differences have you noticed or changed in your job description since you first started?

31. Did you feel adequately equipped with the tools, resources, and working conditions necessary to succeed in your role? If not, which areas do you think could be improved, and how?

32. Did you receive enough training?

33. How would you assess the level of collaboration and communication within your team, department, and the company as a whole?

34. How would you describe the ideal candidate to take over your role?

35. Did you have clearly defined goals for career advancement?

36. What could your manager have done better?

37. Did you find your role fulfilling, challenging, or too simple?

Questions about the future 

Get this: Asking about the individual’s future plans provides insights into their career goals and aspirations. In turn, you’ll have an idea of what employees in similar roles will want in the future. 

OK, it’s important to note that employees are not obliged to answer any questions about their next steps. Still, it’s a good idea to ask to see if they’re willing to give you that type of information. 

Not just that, you should ask questions to help the future of the company. In these cases, ask this question:

38. In your opinion, what are the primary risks that our company faces?

39. How do you envision your professional development in the next few years?

40. What are your career goals and aspirations moving forward?

41. What type of work environment or company culture do you believe would best support your career growth and job satisfaction?

42. Are there any industries or sectors you are particularly interested in exploring in your next career phase?

43. What does your new company offer that we don’t?

44. What steps do you intend to take to achieve your long-term career objectives?

45. What recommendations would you offer to the company for improvement?

46. Do you have any ideas for boosting employee morale?

47. What aspect of your new job are you most excited about?

48. What advice would you like to give to your team?

49. What situations, if any, would make you think about coming back to the company?

50. What improvements can we make to our training and development programs? Can you provide specific examples? 

51. Is there anything else you would like to add or any other concerns you would like to discuss?

Tips on How to Conduct an Exit Interview 

Now that you know what questions to ask in an exit interview, let’s go over some tips on how to conduct the exit interview process. 

  • If you’re an employer, it’s best to let the HR deal with exit interviews. This way, the leaving employee can be more honest with their answers. I’m pretty sure they won’t want to say anything too negative if the employer is the one interviewing them. This may take you nowhere. 
  • Exit interviews should take around 30 minutes to an hour. During this time, try to extract as much information from them as you can. If the answers go by pretty quickly, try to expand on each question. 
  • You should ask around 5 to 10 questions. Fewer than 5 might not give you enough answers to complete the purpose of an exit interview. However, more than 10 questions may be too long, and you won’t be able to expand on the employee’s answers. 
  • Schedule an exit interview by the end of their 2-weeks notice. As they are already leaving, they will provide more open and honest employee feedback. I mean, they no longer have to face you or the employer after that. Some companies even hold exit interviews once the employee has already left. This way, they will be even more open and honest. 
  • Let the employee know the main purpose of the interview. They might be a little worried about why they’re being interviewed when they are already leaving. But assure them that it’s only to help your organization improve for current and future employees. 
  • It’s best to hold the exit interview in person. This is because it fosters better conversation and more candid answers. Of course, if your team is mostly remote, you can hold virtual meetings. It’s not too big an issue with whatever you choose. It’s just that in-person is preferred if possible. 
  • Be a listener. Don’t have an opinion for their opinion. Worst, don’t argue with their answers. Simply listen to the answers you get and write them down. Of course, you can make them clarify or expand on something, but never try to go against what they’re saying. 
  • If you want the exit interviews to be super efficient, you can create an online survey with all the exit meeting questions. You can try SurveyMonkey or Google Forms for this. 

Final Words 

If employees are leaving all the time, it’s wise to understand why. This way, you can work to improve the employee experience, and thus retain your top talents, improve employee engagement, and more. 

To get answers, you should conduct an exit interview. Here, you have to ask the right questions to gain insights on employee satisfaction. 

For that, you can use any of the 51 best questions to ask in an exit interview I listed here. You should also follow the tips for a more effective and smooth exit interview. 

About Author

Founder of With over 20 years of experience in HR and various roles in corporate world, Jenny shares tips and advice to help professionals advance in their careers. Her blog is a go-to resource for anyone looking to improve their skills, land their dream job, or make a career change.

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