5 Must Ask Exit Interview Questions

July 25, 2022

When it comes to attracting or retaining talent, it’s critical to construct a company culture where employees can thrive. Exit interviews are a great way to understand why your employees walk out the door. They uncover several issues that would otherwise stay hidden away. Whether it is a face-to-face conversation, a survey, or a questionnaire, exit interviews help enhance leaders’ listening skills, provide a more empathetic ear toward employee concerns, and reveal what works and what doesn’t work within the organization. 

The questions you ask during exit interviews bring hidden challenges to the fore, highlight opportunities, and boost valuable competitive intelligence. The insights gleaned through these questions enhance employee retention by turning the “soon-to-be-former” employees into company ambassadors in the long run. Here are 5 interview questions to help you make the most out of exit interviews. 

What Led to the Decision to Leave? What Could We Have Done Better to Retain You?

The answer to this question will help you navigate the unknown lanes your company couldn’t repair before. It could be benefits or pay. It could be how well the workforce operates. It could also be an unappreciation of the employee’s talents. 

Asking the employee about their decision to leave and hearing out their take on what could’ve been done better offers the right insight into how you can create a culture that employees will love. For example, when an employee suggests, “provide a room for professional development and make it easy for employees to reach out,” you already have two solid building blocks for better workplace culture. 

Were You Satisfied With the Way You Were Managed Here?

More often than not, management becomes a key factor that governs an employee’s decision to leave. A soon-to-be-former employee might be able to reveal the gaps in management that need immediate filling. This, in turn, will help you take preventative measures to avoid letting valuable talent leave in the future. For instance, if the employee says, “my suggestions were not valued here,” you now know there might be room to improve the performance and development of the manager in question. 

Were You Equipped with the Right Training?

An employee might struggle at the workplace when they don’t receive the right training. This question will help gauge how effective your training has been. Receiving feedback about training can, in turn, help retain other employees in the future. 

What Are Your Thoughts On Our Company Culture?

When the time comes to test the quality of ethics and compliance within your company, exit interviews can be the single greatest tool to uncover any issues. For instance, a departing employee might not reveal they’ve been a victim of workplace harassment due to the fear of retaliation when they’re still a part of the company – but they might be more willing to let it out when they’re about to leave. 

In some cases, you might not receive specific examples. But over time, you will be able to gauge the overall trend associated with your company culture. Some employees might have a negative opinion of the business while others might just be emotional. Regardless of some outliers, the fabric covering the damaged areas of your company culture will gradually start to fall off. 

For instance, if you have 70% of employees who say the company culture is honest and open and 30% employees who think otherwise, you will have a fairly good idea of where your company culture stands.

How Do Your Co-Workers Feel About Working Here?

When a child is upset, they might hesitate to have a conversation about it. But when you ask them how their stuffed animal feels, there might be a bigger possibility to extract an answer. While the child might refuse to admit she’s afraid to take that trip to the dentist tomorrow, she would eagerly mention how her stuffed panda is absolutely frightened of the dentist. 

This psychological truth remains intact even as we grow up. An HBR article suggests how interviewers can deploy this truth to find what the employee wouldn’t otherwise reveal. 

In some cases, a departing employee might be reluctant to reveal their issues with the company. The reason could be anything – they fear post-employment retaliation or expect their manager to write a favorable reference letter. In such a situation, a skilled interviewer would ask the employee how their co-worker feels about working here.


Sure, negative feedback can sometimes be hard to take. But only when employees share their genuine thoughts can you take the right steps to untangle the hidden challenges. Poor interview questions can become the single biggest roadblock when it comes to boosting retention and employee experience. Employees are most candid when they’re about to leave – this is the time when you can harvest the best feedbacks that can improve your company in the long run. 

ComplianceLine’s exit interviews help organizations like yours conduct secure confidential third-party interviews to help you make the most out of the process. To get started, connect with us today!