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6 Exit Interview Questions to Aid Recruiting

An exit interview helps organizations learn why employees are leaving, and how they can improve to become a better workplace—but it has many recruiting applications as well. The feedback your organization receives can be used to more effectively manage your employer brand, expand your talent pool, and close more of your top-choice candidates. If your recruiting team isn’t already reviewing exit interview questions and answers, you should be. Here are 6 exit interview questions you should try to get in front of every exiting employee.

  1. Why are you leaving? Leave this first question open-ended so your employee can tell you, in their own words, why they’re leaving. In some instances, the employee’s reasons for leaving could damage your employer brand if shared publicly, such as through a Glassdoor employee review. Provide employees the opportunity to share their insights with you first so you can properly address them.
  2. How satisfied were you with the following: salary, benefits, your manager, company leadership, internal communications, work/life balance? Use multiple choice answers (satisfied, neutral, unsatisfied) and allow the employee to expand by adding a comment box or asking “Why?” as a follow up question. You may find the employee is leaving for a specific reason (such as relocation), but has feedback in other areas (such as pay or benefits).
  3. What did you like best about working here? Asking this as an open-ended question allows your employee to speak from the heart and provide an unbiased answer. The answer to this question can be valuable information to share in your employer branding materials, and cold outreach emails. You could even add it to your job description to give backfill candidates some insights from the person who was previously in the role.
  4. What did you like least about working here? Asking this question is a great opportunity to find areas for improvement—particularly when it comes to things that affect your candidate close rates, like compensation. If this is a recurring issue for retention, it’s probably also affecting your ability to attract and hire top-tier talent. You may also uncover information to help you better screen talent during the recruitment process. For instance, if you hear that your organization is very detail-oriented, you can make this clear to candidates upfront. Different people thrive in different environments—and it’s so important to find those that are a culture fit for your organization.
  5. Would you consider a role here again in the future? The answer not only gives you an idea of the employee’s opinion of your company, it also helps your recruiting team understand if they’re open to future outreach. Boomerang employees, or those that leave your organization, work elsewhere, and come back to your organization, are rising in popularity as a previously untapped talent pool. Keep in touch with employees who answer “yes” to this question so you can re-engage them when the time is right.
  6. Would you recommend a job here to a friend? Again, this question is generally used to gauge your employee’s satisfaction level, but it can also be really useful for your referral program. Employee referrals are valuable because they can help screen for mutual culture fit, and can vouch for your organization as a great place to work. Alumni employees are no different. If they are open to recommending your future roles to their connections, you may be able to find great talent by sourcing candidates from their networks and asking for warm introductions.

There are valuable insights your recruiting team can glean from exit interviews—so try to get more involved in this critical stage of the offboarding process. The feedback your organization receives affects your ability to attract, close, and retain the talent you need to be successful.