What Is an Exit Interview? (With Questions and Answers)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 30 August 2021

Exit interviews are ways for employers to learn why an employee is ending their time at a company. Employees can use these to express their opinions and offer suggestions for improvement. If you are leaving a company soon, consider preparing potential answers to exit survey questions. In this article, we discuss what an exit interview is and explore some common questions and example answers about this process.

Why is it useful to know the answer to "What is an exit interview?"

It is useful to know the answer to "What is an exit interview?" because it can help you prepare for the process. If you are leaving a job, your employer might ask you to complete an exit interview. These can be great opportunities for you to share your thoughts on the role and place you are leaving. It can be especially helpful to take part in these interviews if you have significant criticism for the business. This can enable the company to make positive changes and support future employees better.

Related: Ultimate Guide To Explore Many Different Types of Jobs

What is an exit interview?

An exit interview is a survey of employees who are leaving a company. Employers conduct these interviews to learn about why an employee is leaving and what their thoughts are on the organisation. Exit surveys can be in-person, over the phone, on paper or online, and they are often the task of a company's human resources department. They are great opportunities for employers to gain employee feedback on areas like:

  • Job duties

  • Training methods

  • Management styles

  • Workflow

  • Work culture

  • Team-building activities

  • Company policies

  • Company mission

Related: Tips and Examples for How To Format a Resignation Letter in India

Why do companies conduct exit interviews?

Companies conduct exit interviews primarily to determine the reasons behind employee turnover, the rate at which employees leave a company. If an employee is leaving because of issues they have with the company, it is helpful for an employer to know this so they can make improvements. They can track trends in employee satisfaction over time.

Because it takes time, effort and money to hire, train and pay employees, a high employee retention rate is important for employers. The longer an employee stays at a company, the better return on investment a company can get. For this reason, it is in the best interest of employers to make their company a place where employees want to work and continue working in the future.

8 common exit interview questions and sample answers

Here are some common exit interview questions with example answers:

1. Why are you leaving this position?

Your employer may ask this question to find out if you are leaving because you are accepting a better opportunity, dissatisfied with the job, managing a personal issue or another reason. Try to maintain a balance between honesty and politeness when answering this question. If applicable, mention the skills or experience you are hoping to get from your next job.

Example: “I have really enjoyed working here, and I have learned a lot over the course of my employment. However, I feel like I have accomplished all I can in this role and need a more challenging opportunity. While I have learned much at this job and honed my skills and experience, I feel the time is right to expand my experience and strengthen my abilities.”

Related: How to Explain Reason for Job Change (With Examples)

2. How do you feel about management and do you have any feedback or suggestions for how we can improve?

This question gives you the opportunity to help your employer see management from your perspective. Stay professional and fair when sharing feedback. Be specific and give your feedback in a positive way while keeping the focus on improving the company.

Example: “Overall, I am satisfied with the way management has guided me in my job, but I feel there is room for improvement. I could have benefited from more support from management, as I felt exhausted in my duties sometimes. I believe providing more opportunities for activities and breaks could better empower future employees to contribute to the company's success."

3. Was there a time when you felt proud of your work?

This is a great time to share a positive experience you had with the company. No matter your reason for resigning, try to acknowledge a goal you achieved in your job. You could also mention an aspect of management, your colleagues or the work culture you appreciate.

Example: “Yes. We worked on that last project a little longer than we expected, but the client was impressed with how detailed and thorough we were. It made me proud to be a member of the team.”

4. Do you feel you received proper and complete training?

Companies want their employees to feel prepared for their jobs. This is an area in which you can really help by sharing your candid experience. If you did not feel ready or if your training did not cover enough, let your employer know. Share practical ideas for improvement so future employees are better prepared.

Example: “The best thing you can do for new employees is to make sure they understand their roles and supply them with the tools they need to perform their job. I did not always feel as though I had the resources to do my job well, so I think new employees can benefit from more thorough and frequent training."

5. Do you think the company supported your career goals?

When answering this question, let your employer know how they supported you in your career path. Support might include providing training or education. Provide feedback on how or why you felt supported and when you did not.

Example: “When I came to work here, I was excited about the opportunities to continue to advance my position or increase my knowledge and experience. While the company has given me opportunities to learn skills I have aimed for in my career, I believe that I have gathered sufficient knowledge working with this firm. It is the right time for me to expand my skills at another company.”

6. Would you recommend this company to others seeking employment?

When you answer this question, be straightforward about why you would or would not recommend your employer to someone else. Consider offering suggestions that might make the position more attractive.

Example: “It would depend on which positions were open and what that person's career goals might be. I would recommend this company to friends or family if the position matched their needs. A comprehensive benefits package would make the job more appealing.”

7. What were your criteria for choosing a new employer?

Your answer to this question can help your organisation gain insight into why you chose a different employer or position. Share the specific reasons you searched for a new job. For example, your new role may include benefits not provided by your current employer.

Example: “In my new position, my employer will provide additional training so that I can advance my position. With the resources I will have available, I expect to earn my sales certification within six months.”

8. Would you consider staying?

Your employer might ask this question to discover whether additions to the job, such as benefits or additional training, might make it more attractive. Be honest in your response and consider whether you would truly want to stay and what factors might affect your decision.

Example: “I have worked here for a long time, and this company has provided me with valuable skills and learning opportunities. I have enjoyed working here, but I feel that with my expertise and career goals, I am a better fit for a new position. However, if I received the right offer, I would strongly consider returning.”

Related: Interviewing Skills: Definition and Examples

Tips to prepare for an exit interview

With the right planning, you can approach an exit interview with calmness and confidence. Here are some tips that might help you do so:

  • Stay calm: Exit interviews are often optional, and merely ways for employers to get employee feedback. Take deep breaths to remain calm, and remember that these are just simple conversations or questions.

  • Be honest: Employers who conduct exit interviews want honest answers so they can make real improvements in their organisation. Even if you have negative feedback, convey it in an honest and professional way so your employer has a chance to resolve it.

  • Suggest actionable solutions: If you offer criticism, try to suggest an actionable solution your employer can take for improvement. For example, if you have issues with the training methods, share your ideas for making training more effective for future new hires.

  • Be professional: While it is important to give honest answers, remember that you are still in a professional workplace setting. Make sure to use thoughtful, professional language, and focus on factual, work-related matters.

  • Rehearse your answers: Develop your own answers to potential questions your interviewer might ask you. Then, practise them by reading them out loud or speaking them to a friend so you can remember them better in the interview itself.

  • Keep a positive outlook: Try to be as positive and friendly as possible during an exit interview, and in the workplace in general. Maintaining a working relationship with your previous employer can enable you to ask for references if you need them for a future position.

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