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Exit Interview Question Guide for Employees

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After handing in your notice it’s likely you’ll be asked to do an exit interview. Exit interviews are usually held with a member of the HR team, or in smaller companies, it could be your manager.

The point of an exit interview is to for your employer to get constructive feedback on your experience and to understand why you’re leaving. For you, it allows you to give feedback in a structured and more formalised way.

Exit interviews aren’t legally confidential which is important to keep in mind. They can be nerve-wracking, but if you do a little preparation, you’ll leave your job with closure and hopefully a strong working relationship.

Common Exit Interview Questions

When did you start looking for a new job?

This question helps employers understand if a certain situation or relationship motivated you to move.

Why did you decide to leave this role?

Although like the above question, this exit interview question gives you the opportunity to share your specific reasons for leaving. For example, you were offered a job with a much better salary or closer to home.

What was your relationship with your team like?

Social connections and the dynamic of a team are incredibly important to employee happiness and poor relationships can often push people to search for a new role.

If you didn’t get along with your team, or certain members of the team, explain why. Did your personalities clash? Did you find their communication style hard to work with? Similarly, if you enjoyed working with certain team members voice this too and share their strengths.

What was your relationship with your manager like?

How you feel about your manager really matters and can impact your performance hugely. What your relationship was like with your manager can be valuable information for HR so be honest and objective.

Some things to think about – did you feel your work was recognised? Did you have regular meetings with actionable feedback? Did your manager provide upskilling opportunities? Did you feel your manager supported and respected you?

What did you like about your role?

Exit interviews shouldn’t be all negative. Before your meeting think about what you enjoyed about your day to day work and the people you interacted with.

What didn’t you like about your role?

This is your time to voice any challenges you experience in your role. This feedback can then be used to help improve the role for the next person. Examples could include – ineffective communication, lack of resources, poor team dynamics, a feeling of being overworked, lack of appreciation, monotonous or overly repetitive work.

Can you tell me about your new role, and what is that enticed you to accept it?

This is another way for employers to figure out what was lacking in your role and your main motivations for leaving. For example, you might answer that they have great flexible working options, and this will demonstrate to your current employer that you felt you had a poor work/life balance.

Do you think you had the right supports/systems to do your job well here?

Sometimes a company’s facilities could be a leading factor in them leaving. If you feel you didn’t have the right supports in place to do your job let it be known so that in future these systems are put in place.

What improvements would you like to see in the area where you worked?

Similar to the above questions, this question is asked to get feedback on what you would change and what areas your employer needs to work on. As this is quite a broad question it gives you the chance to talk about any areas that you think need work – whether this is related to facilities, budgets, supports or the people you worked with.

Who were the people who influenced you most during your time here?

We always ask this question when someone is leaving Cpl. For employers, it’s a nice question to ask to get a feel for the company culture and who within the business is positively contributing to the workplace. This is also a nice opportunity to give positive feedback on the people who helped you through your time in the role.

If you ever returned to work here what would you like to see changed?

When asked this question don’t say you’d never work here again. Instead offer feedback on your ideal working scenario in the company. For example – a change in management, a more open culture, an investment or change in strategy within the department you worked etc.

Exit Interview Tips

No matter what question you get asked non-emotional feedback is the goal. If you are too emotional the feedback will be viewed as personal and might not get implemented or heard properly.

If you have any pent-up feelings towards the role of your manager try and vent them beforehand to a friend or impartial person. This will help you keep your answers fact-based and professional. The last thing you want to do is let loose and rant.

No matter what the relationship is like don’t be rude, you never know when you might like to return or when you might work with a colleague in a different company.

A good way to do this is to frame your answers as though you were trying to help whoever will take on your role next. Where possible include some positives too.

For example, did you enjoy working with your co-workers? Did you love the company culture, but the salary just wasn’t enough? Was the work-life balance great, but you weren’t challenged enough? Did you like the role, but the location just wasn’t working for you?

An exit interview is your chance to give an honest insight into what it’s like working for the company you’re about to leave. Take the time to prepare, keep your emotions under control and you’ll leave without any lingering resentments or regrets.

If you’re about to start a new job and are looking for advice visit the Starting a New Job section of our website where you’ll find articles designed to help you succeed.