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Exit Interview: Top 5 Questions You Must Ask

Asking for honest feedback from your employees may not seem as fruitful, considering that people are never completely sincere when they rely on you for their bread and butter. If you want honest feedback on your company culture, workplace environment, managers and other authority, or the social connections in your workplace, then you must look to people who are no longer your employees. In this scenario, an exit interview is what you’re looking for.

An exit interview is typically a structured or semi-structured interview with an employee who is going to depart a company and is conducted to discuss the individual’s reasons for leaving the company and their experience during their time there. The reason these are perfect for getting individual feedback of your company is that outgoing employees no longer work under you, and do not have any authorities to answer to. Since they have nothing to lose, they could be as candid as possible, and can therefore offer the kind of insight on your company that your present employees cannot, or rather will not.

These interviews can take place face-to-face, over call, or you can even have an exit interview service provider like InCruiter take up the interviews through their exit interview service. InCruiter offers a specialised platform for professionals to analyse your candidate’s technical abilities that they may require to take on their positions in your company.

If you’re looking to get the most out of conducting an exit interview, here are the top 5 important questions that you MUST ask during an exit interview.

1.     What made you consider leaving?

Here it is, getting straight into it. The big question that is probably waiting to be discussed, is why your employee has decided to leave.

While it is important to have this discussion in a diplomatic, formal manner, asking the question directly is even more important. Beating around the bush will do nothing but stall you from getting the answer to your “why”. If you’re more direct with your employee, chances are you’ll get an honest answer for why they’ve decided to leave.

Their answers could range anywhere from needing better pay, or not liking the work environment, to just…not wanting to work in this field or company anymore. This is where you take notes. Keeping in mind what their reasons are for leaving, you could perhaps implement policies or set up work environments that are better suited for your current and/or future employees to avoid this from happening again.

Another alternative to this question could be “What made you want to look for a new job?” or “What made you consider working for [xyz] company?” if their reason for leaving was to work in a different company. This can help give you insight as to what other companies are offering to their employees that yours might not be.

Whatever their response may be, it might serve to direct the conversation and generate ideas for follow-up inquiries.

2.     How can we improve?

One of the most important takeaways from any employee leaving your company should be “what can we do better?”

It is vital that as an organisation you take the necessary steps required to keep working on improving and progressing as the times change, and what better way to do that than to ask your employees themselves. This is when you will get the most paramount of answers out of your employee, in regards to what can be done to a) change their mind about leaving the company, and b) explore the possibilities of new policies to be implemented.

The reason asking this question to someone leaving your company is so important is because as an employee that will not be working with you anymore, they may even just feel comfortable enough to answer this question directly, and honestly. They may point out areas in their work duration that they felt the company was lacking in and can give better directions or suggestions as to how the company could adapt and improve.

3.     What qualities and skills should we look for in your replacement?

With this question, your employee might answer in one of two ways.

The first way is, they will suggest finding a replacement with the same qualities and skills as themselves. This helps give insight as to what exactly worked with the recruitment of this employee in regards to their job and the way they function in the workplace, and what you can look for when you next recruit someone to fill in for their position.

The second way of answering this question would be that they suggest skills that they might not possess. This is important to note because as someone who has worked in your company and filled that specific role, they will be able to pinpoint exactly what they might have been lacking in their job, and how a future replacement can come and fulfil the role exactly as needed. Employees usually give this answer if their reason for leaving was that they did not feel they were the right fit for the job or the role that they were given.

4.     How would you describe the work environment?

Getting a vague idea of what your company’s work environment is like is crucial since it is one of the most common deciding factors for employees who have chosen to leave the company. The work environment can be defined as anything, from the work setting, the social connections or even the physical conditions under which employees work.

Any company’s work environment plays possibly the biggest role in an individual’s work-life because it has the ability to affect the employee’s happiness, their workplace relationships, their work efficiency and even their physical or mental health. Your employee’s answer to this question would be indicative of what your company’s culture and workplace settings are like, and whether or not “satisfied” is the general consensus of your workers over the years in regards to the workplace environment.

This question also helps on the rare occasion that you to learn about any mishappenings or unfortunate incidents that may have taken place either amongst co-workers or between a worker and an authority. This will in turn help resolve or eliminate any issues that were taking place between the workers for the future.

5.     Did you, as an employee, feel valued by the company?

What this question brings out from your outgoing employees can tell you a lot about the management system of your company. There are 3 principal facets to this question that your employee could answer which would be indicative of the way the message is relayed to and from the employees and their team leaders or managers.

Recognition – it is essential that your workers feel seen and heard, not just as workers, but as human beings. This is why it is necessary to keep reward systems in place for your employees, in order to make them feel acknowledged and appreciated for the work they put in for your company.

Feedback – your employees don’t want to be stuck in a rut! Oftentimes people who don’t receive feedback on their work are the ones who feel that they are not being acknowledged or seen as an essential employee, and so constructive criticism is beneficial for both, the employee and the company. This is also the reason why appraisals are very important

Remedy – if their answer to this question is no, it might be something your company must look into, because there is a possibility that other employees may also feel the same way, and if this was the reason your outgoing employee has decided to leave, well…it could mean there’s a possibility that you may lose your other employees as well.

Asking the right questions is the most important part about taking an exit interview for your outgoing employees, and InCruiter’s exit interview service panellists are experts in conducting exit interviews, making it an excellent choice as an exit interview service provider.


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