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5 Exit Interview Questions You Can Ask Your Resigning Employees

5 Exit Interview Questions You Can Ask Your Resigning Employees

They say there is no such thing as a good goodbye. But while that may be true, there is such a thing as a proper exit. On the part of the employee, it means accomplishing resignation requirements in a timely manner. 

As an employer, an opportunity arises in the exit interview (EI). This refers to a chat between you and your resigning employee. But did you know that this means more than just a back-and-forth conversation? This actually holds much more resources than you might think. 

What do you say in an exit interview?

The pandemic’s long term effects brought about several changes. In the case of the workplace, it is the shift in priorities. Sometimes this leads to leaving one’s jobs, a phenomenon called “The Great Resignation.” 

According to employees, poor work-life imbalance, a terrible work culture, and unfair compensation are just some of the reasons why they resign--but there can be other reasons.

This is where your exit interview comes in. PeopleElement shares that 75% of companies make use of this, 

In fact a white paper by marketing research firm, Burke Inc. stated that 90% of Fortune 500 companies use exit interviews. What is its main purpose then? Here are some of the way EIs can benefit you:

  • Better assess the company’s areas for improvement--including management--with the aid of constructive criticism.

  • Address pressing issues therefore allowing you to reduce risks. For example, outgoing employees can provide information that can prevent potential workplace hazards.

  • Gain insight on how to better retain talent by refining your processes, including onboarding, training, among others.

  • Gain insight on the competitive landscape. For example, you can use the interview to mine information on the benefits and salary packages that another company offers.

  • Allow former employees to leave on a good note. In the long run, it is in your interest to not burn bridges. By keeping them as allies who may even potentially recommend other talents to your company.

To get you started, we have compiled the best five questions to ask!

What do you say in an exit interview? 5 key questions

Before anything else, you must be able to set the mood for the occasion. Remember: an employee might feel wary of sharing their real reasons for resigning, so crafting your questions carefully will be key to a more productive (and honest) conversation. 

One suggestion could be to create a casual atmosphere so that employees will open themselves up. Second, approach the session as more of a conversation than an interview. 

Remember, you are giving the spotlight to your employee. Hence, all of your questions should be directed towards them. Prompt them more than punctuate. Lastly take note of the answers you will get from these 5 queries:

  1. What made you decide on your new job over other opportunities? Phrasing is key with this question. Take note that this has the same meaning as “why are you leaving us?” But the latter adapts a victim mentality. You are framing your employee like they owe you a stay forever. This question is also a great interview opener. So, make sure you set the tone right here at the onset. Asking it in this manner can help you explore the reasons why they planned to leave. You can also trace the beginnings of why they started searching. Plus, you can already get preliminary data of what went wrong during their stay with you. This is especially crucial for your star employees who are due for promotion. If they search for a job that gives them that benefit, you can pursue deeper. Other examples of answers could be, “new environment, better work culture, etc.”

  2. Were there enough career growth opportunities for you to develop professionally? Several factors certainly have contributed to change, indeed. We can acknowledge the flexible work arrangements, the change in compensation, and the like. 
Mostly, employees understand that. While these could be prompts for them to leave, sometimes there are reasons outside that. Asking them to compare between their first and their current day at work can help you see the factors of consideration. You can go as far as ask them if they liked or disliked the changes that occurred. Aside from that, you can find out the change in their work priorities as well.

  3. What changes do you think should be made to the current pay and benefits policy? How is this different from the second question? Change is different from current responsibilities. Your employee can open up about issues they may not have shared since coming onboard. Without pinning them for an exact anecdote, you can see what went right and wrong. Whether it be because of long hours or a terrible supervisor, you can see the pattern here. Such patterns apply if you are interviewing a huge bulk of employees at once. During this part, you can also collect data about what future candidates can enjoy for this specific role. (Also read: How The Philippine Labor Code Protects Against Workplace Discrimination)

  4. What part of your job made you feel stressed or anxious? An important reminder here is to never be on the defensive. In this case, this question could have been, “What made us so terrible for you to leave?” On top of that, you should have a positive manner when asking. Take note that you are inquiring, not interrogating. Save the attitude for a police investigation. You can get to learn about the ins and outs of your company from their viewpoint. Be sure to cleanse yourself of any bias. This is their perspective now. The lenses you see through may not be the same pair they have. Here, you get a clearer perspective of the experience they had during their stay. That includes what worked, what did not, and what was not there at all. 

  5. What factors might convince you to come back to this company in the future? Just like the light that makes it through a window crack, hope is present. In this interview’s case, there is a window of opportunity for them to stay. But such are rare cases. You can find that out here. Sometimes, you can ask them and give them a plan to address such. However, if they shared and no improvements rose, you have your answer. To make the answers here fruitful, you can ask about the timeline of escalation. You can trace the beginning of the issue and the actions they took before surrendering. Aside from that, you can also collect information about the way your company resolves problems.

Goodbyes may be difficult, but they do not have to be. There will always be the inevitable pain of leaving. You will always have your share of disgruntled employees. But there are those you can part with on amicable terms. 

The most important thing here is to make use of the information you collect. Pay attention to what you heard and address them as quickly as possible. Some rules can be bent if you can work your way around it. 

That is not only how you survive The Great Resignation, but how you thrive after it. 

Apply your Exit Interview lessons and make use of the information now. Use Talent Search to access the largest talent database in Southeast Asia and find the best candidate for the job. For more advice and insights on how you can adapt your business to face today’s challenges, visit the Jobs and Resources Hub.

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