8 Must-Ask Exit Interview Questions (With Answers)
Updated August 25, 2023
Two women are sitting at a table with a mug and pen. One woman is extending her hand. There is a list titled "Exit Interview Questions" with the bullets:
• Why are you leaving?
• How do you feel about the management?
• Was there a time you felt proud of your work?
• Do you feel you received proper and complete training?
• Did you feel supported in your carer goals?
• What were your criteria for choosing a new job?
Many employers conduct exit interviews at the end of an employee’s tenure at their organization to gain context around why an employee is leaving their position. This meeting is an opportunity for employees to provide feedback and offer suggestions for the company to help them improve.
In this article, we will review some common questions interviewers ask during an exit interview and how employees can prepare thoughtful answers.
Why do companies conduct exit interviews?
Companies conduct exit interviews so to hear an employee’s opinions about their job, supervisor, organization and more. An exit interview is a conversation between an employee and their employer—likely a human resources representative. This is an opportunity to discuss job satisfaction or offer feedback on policy and direction. Employers can conduct an exit interview in person, virtually or via an exit interview form.
Exit interview questions and sample answers
Whether an employee is leaving due to a new career change, better opportunity or dissatisfaction with their job, it is wise to answer thoughtfully, objectively and with a professional tone. Here's eight standard exit interview questions that could be asked during an exit interview, along with example answers.
1. Why are you leaving your position, or what led you to the decision to leave?
Employers may ask this question to find out if employees are leaving because they have been offered a better opportunity or for personal reasons. Try to maintain a balance between honesty and politeness when answering this question. If applicable, employees can mention the skills or experience they're hoping to get from their next job.
Example answer: “I have really enjoyed working here, and I have learned a lot over the course of my employment. However, I feel like I have accomplished all I can in this role and need something different. While I have learned much at this job and honed my skills and experience, I feel it is time to go in a different direction. I have gained invaluable experience for the future, and I feel the time is right to expand my experience and strengthen my abilities.”
2. How do you feel about management, and do you have any feedback or suggestions for how we can improve?
This question gives employees the opportunity to help their employers see their position from their perspective. Employees should be objective and specific when answering this question and give their feedback in a positive way while keeping the focus on improving the company.
Example answer: “Overall, I am satisfied with the way management has guided me in my job, but there is room for improvement. Management sometimes overlooked the ways they could utilize my role, so I occasionally felt somewhat stagnant. However, if they empower new employees to feel independent from the beginning, we can get more innovative and new ideas from them to add value to the company’s success. This seems like a more effective solution than waiting for directives.”
Related: Exit Interview Do's and Don'ts
3. Was there a time when you felt proud of your work?
This question gives employees a chance to share a positive experience they had with the company. No matter their reason for resigning, it's a good idea for employees to acknowledge what was good about their job.
Example answer: “Yes. We worked on that last project a little longer than we expected, but the client was impressed with how detailed and thorough we were. It made me proud to be a member of the team.”
4. Do you feel you received proper and complete training?
Companies want their employees to feel prepared for their jobs. This is an area in which employees can help by sharing their candid experiences. If they did not feel ready or if their training did not cover enough, this is their chance to let their employer know. Leaving employees can share practical ideas for improvement so future employees are better prepared.
Example answer: “The best thing you can do for new employees is to make sure they understand their roles and supply them with the tools they need to perform their job. I didn’t always feel as though I had the resources to do my job well, so I think new employees can benefit from more thorough and frequent training. To fully prepare new employees to meet the company’s expectations, management might consider additional training or refreshers so new and current employees can meet their tasks to the best of their ability.”
Related: How to Quit a Job the Right Way
5. Do or did you think the company supported your career goals?
When answering this question, employees can let their employer know how they lived up to their expectations and supported them in their career path. Support might include providing training or education. This is a chance for employees to provide feedback on how or why they felt supported and when they did not.
Example answer: “When I came to work here, I was excited for the opportunities to continue to advance my position or increase my knowledge and experience. While the company has given me opportunities to learn things I have aimed for in my career, I believe that I have gathered sufficient knowledge working with this firm. It is the right time for me to expand my skills at another company.”
Related: How to Find a New Job While Employed
6. Would you recommend this company to others seeking employment?
When employees answer this question, they should be straightforward about why they would or would not recommend their employer to someone else. Employees who are being interviewed can consider offering suggestions that might make the position more attractive.
Example answer: “It would depend on which positions were open and what that person’s career goals might be. I would recommend this company to friends or family if the position matched what they were looking for. A comprehensive benefits package would make the job more appealing.”
7. What were your criteria for choosing a new employer?
An employee's answer to this question could help their organization gain insight as to why they chose a different employer or position. Employees can share the specific reasons they searched for a new job. For example, their new role may include benefits not provided by their current employer.
Example answer: “In my new position, my employer will provide additional training so that I can advance my position. With the resources I will have available, I expect to earn my sales certification within six months.”
8. Would you consider staying on?
Employers might ask this question to discover whether additions to the job, such as benefits or additional training, might make it more attractive. Employees can be honest in their response and consider whether they would truly want to stay and what factors might affect their decision.
Example answer: “I have worked here for a long time, and this company has provided me with valuable skills and learning opportunities. I have enjoyed working here, but I feel that my expertise and career goals would be highly prioritized at my new position. However, if I received the right offer, I would strongly consider returning.”
Tips for employees preparing for an exit interview
If you're an employee who is leaving, keep the following points in mind when preparing answers for your exit interview.
Be objective. Keep your focus on the job. Talk about the company as a whole instead of its individual employees.
Practice your answers. Consider asking a friend or colleague for help.
Take notes. Creating a record of the exit interview helps you remember what you and the interviewer said or agreed upon and gives you an accurate backup if you need it.
Consider nonverbal signals and body language. Take a few deep breaths before the interview, and consciously relax. This will help you remain calm and focused on the interview. Try to keep your body language open, which will help you feel more comfortable throughout your exit interview.
Although companies conduct exit interviews primarily for the benefit of the employer, it is still a good opportunity for employees to give valuable feedback and resolve any differences or issues.
Nonverbal communication is one of many tools that can help you make a good impression in interviews and in your professional life. However, candidate assessments should be based on skills and qualifications, and workplaces should strive to be inclusive and understanding of individual differences in communication styles.
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