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Exit Interview Questions That May Help Prevent Your Next Vacancy

Author: Dave Rietsema - Matchr CEO

Turnover is costly for companies. Often, it costs as much as twice the employee’s salary. Productivity is lower because the employee is no longer producing work. Coworkers may be stressed from having to pick up extra work. The company has to spend the time and money to search for candidates, interview them, and then once someone is hired into the vacant position, train them. Then, it could be months or even years before the new employee is as productive as the previous one.

It’s best to avoid turnover in the first place. But how can companies find out what causes employees to quit? An employee exit interview can be an excellent source of information if you ask the right exit survey questions.

What Is an Exit Interview?

An exit interview is an interview, or survey, conducted with an employee who is leaving your organization. The purpose of an exit interview is to ask questions about why the employee is leaving, what made them look for another job in the first place, and more. The information gathered in the exit interview is meant to help companies address any problems that may have affected the employee’s decision to leave.

Exit Interview Questions

An exit interview is a prime opportunity for you to learn what your company could do better. Employees that already have at least one foot out the door are often more likely to be open and honest with you, as they have less at stake and aren’t looking to score brownie points. The following exit interview questions go above and beyond the standard “what did/didn’t you like about your job” and really get to the heart of what you can do better for your employees.

Why Did You Begin Looking for a New Job?

There is often one specific instance that motivated an employee to hit the job ads and start searching for a new place of employment. Encourage honesty in this answer, because the drive is often a disagreement with management. Whether it was a day with limited staff, a short-fused coworker, or a policy that didn’t click, the answers can all reveal how you can help prevent your next vacancy.

What Were the Most Important Factors in Your Decision to Leave?

There may have been just one specific instance that motivated an employee to look for a new job. However, there are often multiple factors involved in the decision to actually accept a new job and leave. This answer can help you learn what factors drew the employee to the other company.

Did You Feel Adequately Recognized for Your Achievements?

Recognition isn’t the only important factor but can go a long way in making an employee feel valued. If an employee that’s leaving answers “no,” find out what type of recognition they would have been satisfied with and why they feel the current system is inadequate.

Were You Satisfied with Your Salary?

Salary can be a major factor in an employee’s decision to leave. If they find a better offer elsewhere, other factors may not be able to convince them to stay. If an employee is unsatisfied with their salary, it’s a good idea to examine pay rates and ensure that your company is paying salaries at industry standard rates.

Were the Benefits Sufficient?

Similar to salary, benefits are a major consideration for employees. If another company offers better benefits, an employee may feel that they have no choice but to accept the other offer. Asking this question can help you understand if you need to reexamine your benefits packages.

Were You Sufficiently Trained for Your Role?

A large number of employees cite “insufficient training” as a reason for leaving a place of employment. There may be training gaps that you don’t notice that can be highlighted in an exit interview. Find out how training can be improved to more sufficiently prepare future employees.

Did You Feel Comfortable Talking to Your Manager?

If there is a problem with the manager, an employee may feel trapped and unable to resolve their issue. In some cases, it seems like the easiest scenario is to quit. While this isn’t the only reason for leaving, too many employees cite problems with management for you to ignore this question during an exit interview.

Were Your Work Assignments and Goals Reasonable and Well-Communicated?

Overwhelmed employees aren’t happy or satisfied, neither are employees that feel that expectations aren’t being communicated. Identify whether employees feel goals are clear and reasonable so that you can make adjustments if necessary.

What Could Have Influenced You to Stay?

While you won’t be able to accommodate every employee and convince them to stay, you may get an idea of what could be done better to reduce turnover by asking this question. If the employee is leaving to pursue a career in a completely different industry or type of company, their answers may not be completely applicable, but could still provide some insight. If their answers aren’t far fetched at all, you may just be able to win them back in the future.

Was the Company Culture a Good Fit for You?

Company culture is incredibly important to employees’ daily life but difficult to alter or nail down. It can be even more elusive for managers, as employees may alter their behavior when a manager’s eyes are watching. An employee that is leaving is the perfect person to give you the inside scoop on the true culture that may be hiding.

What Did You Like Least/Best About Your Job?

Even the most satisfied employees have things they don’t like about their jobs. Those who hate their jobs also may find things that they like. This exit interview question and answer can help guide you towards improvements, either in the workplace or in hiring.

Is There Anything Your New Company Provides that We Do Not?

Sometimes, it’s not something driving the employee away at your company. Sometimes, the employee’s new company has offered them something they can’t turn down. Finding out what that is can help you determine if you need to offer such perks yourself.

What to Do with Exit Interview Feedback

The overall goal for your company should be to retain your valued employees. Therefore, it’s important to know how to use the answers to the questions in the exit interviews of employees who leave. You should treat the answer to exit survey questions as feedback. You can also compare these answers to a survey of current employees. If there are patterns that emerge, such as low pay consistently being a reason for leaving, then it’s time to reevaluate company policies and processes.

If your company is looking for a HRIS to manage exit interviews, we can help you find the right software. Visit our vendor match page to start your search today.

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