Exit interview questions and how to answer them

Exit interview questions and how to answer them
Jobstreet content teamupdated on 22 February, 2024
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If you're leaving your current job, your employer might want to ask you some exit interview questions. These questions differ from a job interview. Your current workplace ​is looking for​​​ honest employee feedback about your time working with the company. ​To navigate this, we have shared ​​what to say in an exit interview, explain​ed​ the best practices for how to conduct an exit interview, and describe​d​ some of the best exit interview questions along with how to answer them. We'll cover these topics: 

What are exit interviews? 

You may wonder, “What is an exit interview?” The purpose of exit interviews is for departing employees to provide companies with honest feedback and opinions about the workplace. These questions can cover a wide range of topics, such as your job, supervisor, and the company. A manager usually conducts the interview​, but an HR representative could be handling it as well​. ​The goal is to gain insights into your work experience and if it led to your decision to leave the company. ​Your answers may help guide improvements to the workplace environment. 

Here's a list of topics that interviewers usually cover during employee exit interviews in most workplaces: 

  • Why did you choose to leave the workplace? 
  • How was your experience working here? 
  • Did you receive frequent or constructive feedback on your performance? 
  • Did you receive enough training for your role in the workplace? 
  • What would make this a better place to work? 

Why are exit interviews important?  

Your exit interview answers may be pivotal for your employer, especially if you've been working with them for a long time. Here's a list of benefits that exit interviews may provide to employers and the workplace: 

Provides feedback 

The exit interview process provides your employer with honest feedback without needing to conduct investigations. They can gain valuable insight by asking you about your experiences and opinions of current employees.  

Improves the company 

Whether you've worked at a company for a couple of weeks or several years, you may still be able to provide valuable insights. No one knows the work environment better than the employees. Your employer can use your knowledge to improve the workplace, and they can appreciate your positive feedback, too. 

Encourages the employee to stay 

If you've worked at a company for several years, your employer may conduct an exit interview to have one last opportunity to ask you to stay. They may try to find out if you're dissatisfied with your salary or whether you've experienced bad management. They may look for potential improvements ​in these areas ​to encourage you to come back. 

Improves workplace culture 

It's no secret that workplaces can become toxic. This might be due to different personalities clashing or challenging management styles. Companies conduct exit interviews to find ways to improve the workplace culture and employee morale. This may even mean training managers on better management styles or restructuring teams.  

Improves management and leadership 

Employers may want your feedback about the management team and whether they might be causing the workplace to be less efficient. As an employee of the company, it's likely that you've had several encounters with management and have ideas on how to improve productivity. 

Helps in finding the best candidate for the position 

When you resign from your role, your employer has to find your replacement. Your employee exit interview can give them a better understanding of what and who to look for when filling the vacancy. Your constructive feedback can provide your employer with valuable insight into the demands of your former position.  

Exit interview questions 

If you're leaving your current workplace, your employer may have invited you to an exit interview. You may find it useful to go through some sample questions that are likely to appear in your​ ​ exit interview form. While questions may vary depending on the company, there are some standard questions that many employers ask during structured exit interviews. Here's a list of some of the most common​ questions in an exit interview template​, with suggestions on how you can answer them successfully: 

Why did you decide to leave the company? 

​​​I've really enjoyed working here and have learned a lot throughout my employment. I feel like I've accomplished all I can in this role and need something different. I've gained invaluable experience for the future, and I feel that now is the right time to develop my skills.​​​​ 

Can you describe your overall experience working here? 

​​​My overall experience working here has been positive. This company has believed in me and my skills. I hope I have done it justice during my time here. While every role has its ups and downs, my job here is one that I'll never forget. ​​​​ 

group with handshake

What did you enjoy most about your role and the company culture? 

​​​There's no doubt that my favorite aspect of this company is its culture of employee satisfaction. I know some work environments can be toxic, but the management team and my team members made my role very pleasant. I found the workplace culture and my responsibilities to be more than satisfying. ​​​​ 

Did you feel that the company supported your career goals and professional development during your time here? 

​​​I was excited to increase my knowledge when I came to work here. The company has given me opportunities to learn new things, and I believe I have gathered sufficient knowledge working with this firm. It's the right time to expand my skills at another company.​​​​ 

Would you recommend this company to other job seekers? 

​​​It would depend on which positions were open and what that person's career goals might be. I would definitely recommend this company to friends or family if the position matched their expectations. It would also help if the position had a competitive salary and benefits package. ​​​​ 

What were your criteria for choosing a new employer? 

​​​I wanted to choose an employer who would understand my need to advance my skill set. My new employer can provide me with additional training so I can advance in my role. I hope to gain enough knowledge so that I can adapt to a more advanced position. ​​​​ 

Was there a time you felt proud of your role at the workplace? 

​​​Yes, and I still do. I believe this company has helped me to grow, and I couldn't have done it without my role here. I'll always be proud of working for this company. I'll continue to support my ex-colleagues, even if I'm no longer working directly with them. ​​​​ 

Would you consider staying with us? 

​​​I've worked here for as long as I needed to. This company has provided me with valuable skills and learning opportunities. I've enjoyed my time here, but I feel that my new job better meets my career goals. However, I would consider returning for a promotion or the right offer.​​​​ 

Best practices for exit interviews

When giving an exit interview, there are some best practices to follow. This can make the entire experience more pleasant. These practices may differ for each workplace. It's still important to follow them regardless of the circumstances of your resignation. 

Here's a list of best practices to follow if you're going to participate in an exit interview: 

  • Be confident in all your answers. 
  • Avoid answering in a confrontational or argumentative manner. 
  • Be honest in all your responses for more accurate feedback. 
  • Provide enough details during the interview to better illustrate your experiences. 
  • Give your employer constructive feedback that they can reasonably act upon. 
  • Share your opinions about employee retention or a new hire for your role. 

Conclusion

Most exit interviews provide employers with valuable feedback on how to improve employee engagement. This feedback can ensure that the company's other employees have better workplace experiences. If you're leaving your current job or thinking of resigning from your position, it's a good idea to participate in an exit interview. Give your employer specific answers and honest feedback. You may be able to help them take steps to improve the work environment for future employees.  

FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions about exit interviews: 

  1. Is participating in an exit interview mandatory? 
    ⁠It's not mandatory to participate in an exit interview unless the terms of employment in your contract state otherwise. ​However, it's a good idea to participate in a structured exit interview. It may provide your employer with valuable feedback that can help improve the company. Depending on the circumstances of your employment, it may also give you closure​​​ 
  2. Can I decline to answer certain questions in the exit interview? 
    ⁠Yes. You don't have to answer any questions in the exit interview that make you uncomfortable. You also don't have to provide exit interview answers to any questions that you feel won't provide valuable insight. In this situation, simply tell your interviewer that you're unsure of the answer to the question and would like to move on.  
  3. How long does an exit interview usually take? 
    ⁠An exit interview can take ​15 minutes to one hour. The duration depends on how long you've worked at the company, how detailed your answers are, an​​​d how many questions the interviewer plans to ask you.  
  4. What happens after the exit interview? 
    ⁠A manager reviews your answers and considers all the insights you've shared. After the entire exit interview process is complete, they pass the information to your employer. They then work on making improvements and adjustments to the workplace according to the feedback you've provided. 

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