25 exit interview questions template

Retaining staff can be enormously challenging, especially in highly dynamic, fast-paced industries. Ongoing, continuous and routine employee surveys help by providing a valuable communications pipeline, enabling personnel to express their concerns and suggestions.

Taking action based on staff survey feedback will make a valuable contribution toward staff retention, but if you want to get some valuable, honest feedback from people who no longer rely on your business for their income then you should be conducting effective staff exit surveys.

What are Employee Exit Surveys?

It’s a fact of life that the people who work for your business may, at any time, decide to leave. While losing an employee can be a painful experience, it can also be turned into a benefit for your business by providing valuable insight into the reasons behind their departure.

An employee who has decided to leave is a potentially valuable source of information and opinion on everything from your company culture to your car parking facilities. Since they have decided to leave they no longer have anything to gain by keeping their views to themselves. Employee exit surveys are intended to elicit valuable observations, experiences and opinions in order to improve the working lives of remaining staff members and minimise staff churn.

25 Employee Exit Survey Question Examples

Employee exit surveys are often conducted face-to-face with direct line managers or HR personnel. Discussion is initiated during which a number of relevant questions are asked to gain insight into why an individual is leaving. Form-based exit surveys are also often conducted, allowing respondents time to consider their answers.

Whatever format is chosen for the employee exit survey, it is vitally important to ask the right questions that will encourage respondents to provide useful answers. Here are 25 questions which will provide beneficial feedback from staff who are leaving.

1) Why are you leaving?
This is a nice open-ended question from which you will immediately learn whether your staff member is leaving for personal reasons, professional reasons or perhaps for a combination of reasons.

2) What made you start looking for another job?
This useful question should only be presented to departing staff who are moving on to other positions and not people who are leaving for other reasons such as travelling or family reasons. Understanding why different people begin to look around for alternative positions can highlight common issues such as commuting.

3) What does your new position offer that’s not available in your current role?
This question gets into the details regarding why your staff member has accepted an alternative job offer. It may be because of advancement opportunities, training, remuneration, holidays, location or even fringe benefits. Identifying the specific factors which influenced their decision can help an employer make changes that will support staff retention.

4) What aspects of your job did you enjoy the most?
Knowing what a staff member enjoyed about their role provides a basis for comparison with what they didn’t like and the reasons why they have chosen to leave.

5) What aspects of your job did you dislike?
Gaining insight into the specific role performed by departing staff members can highlight where failings exist. The day-to-day aspects of their job that they disliked will often be the primary reasons that prompted them to start looking for an alternative.

6) Describe the best day you had in this job?
Asking departing staff members to describe the best day they can recall having at work should provide useful insight into what it was that contributed toward them having their ‘best day’. This valuable data can be used to improve the daily experience of remaining staff members.

7) Describe the worst day you had in this job?
Having determined what factors contributed toward their ‘best day’, asking them about their ‘worst day’ will potentially reveal areas that can potentially be improved for the benefit of remaining employees.

8) Were you provided with what you needed in your role?
This probing question prompts the departing staff member to consider whether they were provided with the tools they needed, clear guidance, support, time, training and whatever else they considered necessary for their role.

9) Has your job description changed?
The job description of the departing staff-member may have evolved during their time in the role. This question provides a valuable opportunity for them to describe the changes they have experienced which might then be used to modify the job description.

10) How would you describe your relationship with your manager?
This open-ended question prompts the respondent to describe, in their own words, their relationship with their direct line-manager. Feedback can be beneficially used to improve that manager’s performance and identify those who build productive working relationships with their team members.

11) How would you describe your working relationships with colleagues and team mates?
It’s not only important to assess a departing staff-member’s experience with their manager, it’s also important to understand how they got along with their teammates and other work colleagues.

12) How would you describe our company culture?
Deriving feedback from departing staff members regarding their experience of the overall company culture can provide valuable insight, especially when combined with feedback from multiple staff members.

13) Did you feel like a valued company employee?
This question asks for a binary ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. If a respondent answers ‘no’ to this question then this should prompt for more probing questions to find out why. If there is one departing staff member who has felt under-valued then there is the chance that there are existing staff members who feel under-valued but have not yet been moved to resign.

14) What could we do to make this a better place to work?
This open question asks the departing staff member to provide their opinion on what practical changes could be made to improve the workplace. Their suggestions and recommendations should be considered as they might make a valuable contribution toward improving staff retention.

15) Were you provided with the training necessary for your role?
This is binary ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question which should lead to further, probing questions if the respondent answers ‘no’.

16) How would you assess the quality of the training that you received?
This question requests a qualitative assessment of any training that the staff member has undertaken. If the respondent is critical of the training they received then further probing should be carried out to determine exactly how the training might be beneficially improved.

17) Did the company provide adequate opportunity for advancement and professional development?
While your employee may have been provided with what they needed to carry out their job they may feel that opportunities to advance or develop their professional skills were limited.

18) Have you experienced discrimination or harassment in the workplace?
It’s essential that staff do experience discrimination or harassment at work. Exit surveys provide an opportunity to verify that these negative experiences have not occurred. If a respondent answers ‘yes’ to this question then it is vitally important that this is investigated further.

19) Were you happy with your remuneration package and benefits?
Asking departing employees about their pay and other benefits, such as healthcare insurance, will provide valuable feedback regarding how the package compares and what’s important to them. This can be used to ensure that wages and benefits remain competitive.

20) Were you provided with adequate feedback and praise for the work you have done?
This question relates to previous questions regarding working relationships with line-managers but also relates to remuneration and benefits. Most employees respond favorably to positive feedback and praise. It’s important to assess whether feedback was provided and the extent to which a departing staff member experienced this as positive.

21) What could we do to make this a better place to work?
With this question you are aiming to derive useful feedback from your departing staff members that might be used to help retain existing staff and attract new ones.

22) Can you make any suggestions that would improve staff morale?
This question relates to the previous one but is specifically about morale. Respondents might provide some creative ideas that would contribute toward improving staff retention.

23) Would you recommend our company as a great place to work?
This is another binary question to which people might answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’. If they answer ‘no’ then further probing might be carried out to find out why, if this reason is not apparent from other answers.

24) Would you ever consider taking employment with this company again?
This is very useful for human resources as an existing employee is very much a known-quantity. They may be leaving due to the absence of advancement opportunities in your existing business, but this situation might change in the future at which point you may want to re-approach them with a more senior job offer.

25) What could we have done that would have prevented your from leaving?
This is a great, open-ended, final question. The respondent is asked to describe what your business could potentially have done to prevent your employee from submitting their resignation. Their answer may simply be ‘nothing’ if there was nothing that would have prevented them from leaving. But in many cases there will be multiple factors that will have contributed toward specific staff members seeking alternative jobs. Learning what these are and taking steps to mitigate the risk of further staff departures is fundamentally what employee exit surveys are intended to achieve.

Employee Exit Survey Template

As noted, employee exit surveys will often be carried out in face-to-face interviews between the departing staff member and an HR professional or manager. But the interview process will aim to answer many of the questions listed in this article. These days many people are employed remotely, so face-to-face exit interviews may not be so convenient. In these situations form-based exit surveys may be more appropriate.

Employee Exit Survey Template Example

Here are the previously suggested exit survey questions along with proposed answer fields in a format which can be readily implemented as a form. If this were to be implemented in a form format it would normally be preceded with a few questions to ensure the respondent is correctly identified. For example

  • What’s your name?
  • How long have you worked for [the company]?
  • What was your job title?

Here are the suggested exit survey questions along with proposed answer fields.

1) Why are you leaving?

  • Consider offering a pick list of typical answers
  • Provide a text box for a descriptive answer.

2) What made you start looking for another job?

  • Provide text box for descriptive answer.

3) What does your new position offer that’s not available in your current role?

  • Text box(es) for multiple answers.

4) What aspects of your job did you enjoy the most?

  • Text box for answer.

5) What aspects of your job did you dislike?

  • Text box for answer.

6) Describe the best day you had in this job?

  • Text box for descriptive answer.

7) Describe the worst day you had in this job?

  • Text box for descriptive answer.

8) Were you provided with what you needed in your role?

  • Yes or no binary answer choice.
  • If answering ‘no’ – probe for more information.

9) Has your job description changed?

  • Binary yes or no answer options.
  • If answer choice is ‘yes’ – probe for more information.

10) How would you describe your relationship with your manager?

  • Provide option selection list (from really bad to really good).
  • Offer text box for deeper description.

11) How would you describe your working relationships with colleagues and team mates?

  • Offer an option selection list (from really bad to really good).
  • And a text box for more descriptive feedback.

12) How would you describe our company culture?

  • Perhaps offer a pick list with an ‘other’ option
  • Provide a text box for a deeper description.

13) Did you feel like a valued company employee?

  • Binary yes or no answer options.
  • If the respondent answers no – provide a text box and prompt for more information.

14) What could we do to make this a better place to work?

  • Provide a text box for respondent to enter details.

15) Were you provided with the training necessary for your role?

  • Binary yes or no answer.
  • If the respondent answered ‘no’ – prompt them to provide more detail regarding what they needed.

16) How would you assess the quality of the training that you received?

  • Provide an answer option list from ‘very bad’ to ‘excellent’.
  • Offer a text box for more descriptive feedback.

17) Did the company provide adequate opportunity for advancement and professional development?

  • Binary yes or no answer.
  • If the respondent selects ‘no’ – prompt them to provide more feedback in a text box.

18) Have you experienced discrimination or harassment in the workplace?

  • Binary yes or no answer.
  • If a respondent answers ‘yes’ they should be offered the opportunity to provide feedback safely without fear that their feedback might be shared or their identity disclosed.

19) Were you happy with your remuneration package and benefits?

  • Binary yes or no answer.
  • If a respondent answers no then they should be prompted to provide more details via a text box.

20) Were you provided with adequate feedback and praise for the work you have done?

  • Binary yes or no answer.
  • If a respondent answers no then they might be asked for more detail via a text box.

21) What could we do to make this a better place to work?

  • Suggestions may be submitted via a text box.

22) Can you make any suggestions that would improve staff morale?

  • Suggestions may be submitted via a text box.

23) Would you recommend our company as a great place to work?

  • Binary yes or no answer.
  • If a respondent answers ‘yes’ they may be asked to provide details of why they consider the company a great place to work.
  • If they answered no then its important to find out why.

24) Would you ever consider taking employment with this company again?

  • Binary yes or no answer.
  • If they answer yes then this should be acknowledged by those responsible for HR.
  • If they answer no then this status should be logged to their personnel records.

25) What could we have done that would have prevented your from leaving?

  • Encourage the respondent to provide as much detail as possible regarding what would have avoided their resignation.

Don’t Miss the Exit Survey Opportunity

As previously noted, deriving feedback from departing employees can be enormously useful and even more beneficial than routine staff surveys. Someone who has decided to leave is far more likely to disclose issues that exist in your organization that previously they may not have been comfortable in reporting. This knowledge can potentially prevent further staff losses by resolving the reported issues and making it easier for staff to raise concerns. Carrying out effective employee exit surveys enables you to improve staff retention and employee happiness – and happy employees are good for business!

Why not keep a finger on the pulse of how your employees are doing in plenty of time before they leave? Give Customer Thermometer a try and find out how they feel right now! You will quickly see how easily implemented, simple surveys deliver great response rates that will improve your retention rates.