What to ask in an exit interview? A question catalog.
As employee turnover continues to solidify its role as one of the biggest cost drivers for organizations, many HR professionals seek to perform exit interviews. There are many things to consider when designing an effective exit interview but you’ll likely find yourself assembling a question catalog sooner or later.
At Partwell we pride ourselves on designing the most effective exit surveys across industries. Naturally, we know a thing or two about designing exit surveys. Our standard exit interview consists out of 96 questions that are grouped into 9 modules and linked with various dependencies.
To help others design great exit interviews, we’ve decided to open-source most of our standard questions.
Double-check essential information.
- For how long were you considering leaving us?
- What was your level of seniority when you started working with us?
- What is your current level of seniority?
- Were you actively looking for a new job before leaving us?
- How long were you expecting to work with us when you began your employment?
Reasons & Future
Dig into the reasons behind the departure and find out where the leaver is headed next
- What is your main reason for leaving?
- What other reasons have contributed to your decision to leave?
- Please indicate if and how your direct manager has contributed to your decision to leave.
- Please indicate if and how factors concerning the entire organization (e. g. ineffective systems, poor leadership)have contributed 1. to your decision to leave?
- Please indicate if and how your team has influenced your decision to leave.
- Do you have any concerns about our ability to innovate our working environment and products?
- Did your concerns about our ability to innovate contribute to your decision to leave?
- Could we have done more to prevent you from leaving?
- Do you expect more people from your team or department to leave soon for reasons similar to your own?
- Have you already found a new employer?
- What type of organization are you joining?
- Do you aspire to stay in your current industry or looking for an industry change?
- Do you aspire a step up in your career for your next employment?
- What is the salary level of your new position?
- How does your new benefits package compare to the one you received here?
Processes & Structures
Get feedback on your internal processes
- Please rate the induction given by the HR team during your first few weeks with us (Scale from 1–5).
- Please rate the induction given by your team or department in the first few weeks of your employment (Scale from 1–5).
- Did the induction help you get started quickly and effectively?
- Please rate your overall experience in your first few weeks with us (Scale from 1–5)
- Do you believe your performance was measured fairly and effectively?
- In your time with us, did you encounter any examples of ridiculous policies, rules, or instructions?
- In your time with us, did you encounter any significant waste of material or effort?
- In your time with us, did you encounter a significant amount of redundant reports or meetings?
- In your time with us, did you encounter any processes that were handled especially poorly?
- Do you agree that we communicated organization-wide decisions effectively and clearly?
- How satisfied were you with the internal communication in your team or department?
- Do you agree that the organization is efficient in its operations?
- Was there sufficient staff to manage the workload?
- Do you believe your team improved during your time with us?
- Do you believe the whole organization became a better or worse place to work during your time with us?
- Do you believe your team improved during your time with us?
- Do you still have questions about open payments or benefits after your departure?
Job & Compensation
Ask questions relating to the actual responsibilities the leaver had in your organization.
- Do you agree that your job was challenging enough?
- Was the workload mostly manageable?
- Was your salary adequate in relation to your responsibilities?
- How satisfied were you with your benefits package?
- Do you agree that work-life balance was promoted and practiced?
- Did we do a good job of reducing work-related stress?
- Do you agree that your managers were open to feedback?
- Do you agree that your team or department was open to feedback?
- Do you agree that your skills were effectively used?
- Do you believe your work was meaningful to the organization?
- Did you understand the value your work provided to our customers?
- When you performed well, were you sufficiently acknowledged?
- When you performed below expectations, did you receive fair treatment and feedback?
- From the feedback we provided, how would you rate your overall job performance?
- Do you feel that you could have contributed more meaningfully to our organization had we given you the opportunity?
- Do you agree that you were managed well during your time with us?
- Do you feel your job could be significantly improved for the next person doing it?
- Did you have access to adequate training and development programs?
- Do you agree that learning and developing new skills was promoted and accepted by managers?
- Do you agree that you were paid on time?
Get data on how the leaver transferred responsibilities and tasks.
- Will your role be dissolved or will a successor take over your prior responsibilities?
- With whom did you or will you perform a handover of your work?
- When did you or will you start the handover process of your work?
- What would have been your preferred time and way to pass on your knowledge?
- Were you able to transfer all your relevant business contacts?
- During your offboarding period, were you able to hand-over all or most of your relevant knowledge?
- Are there any projects that have to be stopped or delayed significantly because of your departure?
- Do you believe that you have expert knowledge that you were not able to hand over, which will leave the organization after your departure?
- Who orchestrated the handover of knowledge, skills, and contacts before your departure?
- Do you agree that we did a good job of orchestrating the handover of your knowledge, skills, and contacts?
Get feedback on how your company culture was perceived.
- Do you agree that we provided a good and positive environment to work in?
- Do you agree that we did a good job of motivating you to do your best work?
- How well were you able to identify with the company’s values?
- Do you feel that our values were demonstrated well by leaders?
- How satisfied were you with our appraisal system?
- Did you feel comfortable discussing your reasons for leaving with colleagues?
- Did you feel comfortable discussing your reasons for leaving with your manager?
- Do you agree that you worked with people with diverse views and experiences at our organization?
- Do you agree that you worked with people from diverse cultural and economic backgrounds at our organization?
- Would you recommend us as an employer to a person from an ethnic minority group?
- Did you witness any of the mentioned behaviors?
- Did you personally experience any of the listed mistreatments?
- Do you agree that our organization is free of discrimination against its employees?
- Did you witness any unethical business practices in your time with us?
Find out how leavers experienced their workplace.
- Did you work with equipment and machinery that needed replacing, upgrading, or was not properly used for any reason?
- Do you agree that your workplace felt modern to you?
- Do you agree that your workplace offered optimal amenities for you to perform well?
- Are there any obvious ways in which we could improve workplace equipment?
Module 8: Involuntary Termination
Only ask these questions to leavers who have been terminated involuntarily.
- Were the reasons for your involuntary termination comprehensible and communicated clearly?
- Do agree that information about your involuntary termination was communicated to you in the right order?
- Do you feel as if the process should have involved more opportunities for your side to be heard?
- Do you agree that you were treated fairly?
- Was the process before and after receiving notice of your termination clear and easy to follow?
- Do you have expert knowledge that you were not able to hand over, which will leave the organization after your departure?
- Do you have important job-related contacts that you weren’t able to hand over to a successor or coworker?
- Do you have any unanswered questions regarding outstanding payments or benefits?
Conclusion & Overall Experience
Wrap up the interview by summarizing the overall experience.
- Overall, how would you rate your experience working for us?
- Have you recommended us as an employer to friends or family in the past?
- Would you recommend us as an employer now?
- Would you consider coming back to work for us in the future?
Wrapping it up ☄️
Using these questions you will be able to create an effective exit interview. Our data shows that the results will be best when leavers answer between 12–40 questions. Interviews should not be too long or too short. You should also include a way for leavers to decline the exit interview. This will lead to a cleaner data set. At Partwell, we integrate the exit interview in a much larger offboarding process, which has increased completion rates by 3x.