Useful Exit Interview Questions To Understand Your Team


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It is quite common that some employees decide to leave their jobs. This may be due to a lack of interest or motivation from their employer. This is when the employer seeks to understand the reasons or causes for these actions.

Exit interviews are conducted for a better understanding of this situation. It is the best way to understand why employees are leaving. If you are about to participate in an exit interview, below you will find out more about it and also some useful exit interview questions.


  • An exit interview is conducted when an employee decides to leave his/her company voluntarily.
  • They are an excellent opportunity for companies to get feedback on what they are doing right or wrong.
  • The purpose of an exit interview is to get honest feedback from an employee who is leaving the company.

What you should know about exit interview questions

Maybe you are about to leave your job and your employer has requested an exit interview for you. So should you worry about this? Not at all! Exit interviews are necessary for many companies. Let’s take a look at the possible exit interview questions you may get.

What are exit interview questions?

Exit interview questions are knowledge tools. They allow a company to understand its employees. In particular, they identify the reasons why someone decides to leave. These can be related to working conditions, salary, immediate boss or manager, or the organization (1).

In addition, they help determine whether it is necessary to increase employee turnover. Especially in those positions where the employee tends to quit often. This also avoids costs that include hiring a new employee (2).

What are exit interview questions for?

The main objective of a company is to retain valuable employees (3). In many cases, these are the employees who have been with the company the longest. However, when these workers decide to quit, companies need to know why. The best way to do this is to ask different questions in an exit interview.

Thanks to these interviews, companies will be able to improve the work climate for workers (4). They will be able to develop strategies to retain their employees. This way, they will provide greater satisfaction and commitment to employees (5). Here are 3 reasons why a company wants to conduct exit interviews.

(Source: Angie Guacan/ Gitnux)

Who usually asks the exit interview questions?

HR department is responsible for these questions. An HR representative will be in charge of conducting the interview. It is recommended that these interviews are formal and involve questions about events related to the company (6).

Often these interviews are conducted for employees who hold positions of authority. That is, managers or directors, since they have much more knowledge of the company. In addition, they understand their competitors.
Read about Employee Engagement Ideas

How many questions should be asked in an exit interview?

An exit interview takes between 30 minutes to 1 hour. This will depend on the length of time the interviewer spends analyzing your exit. Within this time, 5 to 10 questions can be asked. The HR representative should give you time to talk and make you feel comfortable.

It will also depend on the way this process is conducted. While it may be a face-to-face or online interview, you can also be sent a survey by mail. Often mail surveys are preferred, as you get much more honesty from the employee.

How can we be honest about exit interview questions?

As we mentioned earlier, to increase your commitment to this interview, HR representatives might decide to send out an electronic survey. This way you can feel more comfortable sharing your experience or whatever is needed. However, if this is not your case, and you have to attend the interview in person, there are different strategies.

For example, interviews are conducted by second or third-line managers. Since in the organizational hierarchy of the company, these positions are closer to the employee’s role. Additionally, you should keep in mind that these interviews are conducted long after the employee has left. This is to avoid any links with the company affecting their answers.

What you shouldn’t say in an exit interview?

First of all, keep in mind that this interview is an opportunity to share your experiences in the company. This is important for everyone involved.

Also, your current bosses could be your bosses later in other companies. So it is better to maintain mutual respect. That is why here are 10 phrases you should not say in your interview.

This company is going bankrupt

Avoid sounding selfish and maintain a polite posture. If you feel that something is not right in the company, don’t create more uncertainty among your employees. It is better to remain calm and wish your former colleagues well.

My boss was the worst

While this interview is not done by your direct boss, there are other ways you can share your displeasure. With phrases like, “This situation could be improved by implementing this” or “Managers or bosses should do certain additional activities.”

I never liked my colleagues

Attacking your colleagues is never nice and may not reflect well on your personality. It will not benefit you and could indicate that you were a difficult person to deal with.

Good luck running a business without me

This is not the time to brag about how good you can be at your job, since you are the one who decides to quit. If you have any negative comments, turn them into constructive ones.

Never again!

Even if you are very sure about something, avoid saying that you will never return to the company. Despite being upset with the company, remember to leave a positive impression and make a real impact.

Do not contact me again: You are free to set boundaries. However, it is best to be open and available to help whenever something comes up.

Let’s keep in touch

While you would like to maintain relationships within the company with your former colleagues, avoid proposing this to the HR interviewer. It can be interpreted in different ways.

You should also leave

Even though you feel you should warn the others. However, this can be interpreted as disrespectful.

I was never the problem

You may want to expose the people who create all the problems.

I don’t need help

We know that you can quit for any number of reasons. This is why quite often the interviewer might offer you help. Whether it’s job search or transition. The best thing to do is to accept the offer and contact them when you need it most.

4 sample exit interview questions by role

Depending on the position you have held in a company, HR department will want to know what the company needs to improve. While many questions are general, certain questions may provide additional detail. Each employee has different needs depending on his/her job. Therefore, here is a list of questions based on the types of roles you may encounter in an exit interview.

(Source: Angie Guacan/ Gitnux)

1. Exit interview questions for interns

This provides information on whether interns return. Especially if you’re looking for full-time employees. Additionally, find out what can be done to continue to improve internship programs. Some of the best examples we have seen are:

  1. What are the three most important things you have learned from your internship?
  2. Did you feel that your mentor provided adequate instruction for you to perform your duties?
  3. What did you like least about your internship?
  4. What do you think could be improved in your internship?
  5. How would you describe the culture of our company?
  6. Is this the type of company you see yourself working for in the future?
  7. What could we change to make our company more attractive for you?
  8. Do you feel you were provided with all the resources and instructions you needed to succeed?
  9. Would you like to work for us in the future?

2. Exit interview questions for managers or leaders

Managers of a company are of great help to a company. Since they direct their employees to fulfill their roles. That’s why these roles are harder to replace. Some of the best examples we have seen are:

  1. What made you decide to look for a new role?
  2. Were there any obstacles that made your work here especially challenging?
  3. What were the key factors that led you to seek a position with another company?
  4. What factors made you choose your new company over competitors?
  5. Could we have done anything to prevent you from seeking a new position?
  6. Did we provide you with all the resources you needed to succeed? If not, what could we have done better?
  7. Were salary and benefits an important factor in your decision?
  8. What could we have done to prevent you from changing companies?
  9. What are three areas where you think our company needs to improve for preventing people in your role from migrating to other companies?
  10. How could our company change to keep you coming back in the future?
  11. Do you think our company is going in the right direction to remain innovative and competitive in the marketplace? Why?

3. Exit interview questions for specialists or technical roles

These roles often seek to fill a management position. This results in higher compensation for their work. However, if there is something additional going on in a company, that’s good to know. Some of the best examples we have seen are:

  1. How would you compare our salary and benefits packages with those of your new company?
  2. How could we have changed your technical role to ensure you will stay with our company?
  3. What was your biggest motivation for seeking alternative employment?
  4. How would you describe our company culture? What are some ideas you have to make it more enjoyable to come to work every day?
  5. Were you given enough responsibilities and autonomy to make working here rewarding and enjoyable? If not, what could have been improved?
  6. Did you feel you had a clear path for professional development here and opportunities for growth? If not, what could have been improved?

4. Exit interview questions for nonprofit organizations

Generally, nonprofits are very attractive because of their cause and missions. If there is any wrong perspective, or something that does not follow these principles. These interviews are usually very relevant. Some of the best examples we have seen are:

  1. Why did you initially choose to work for our organization?
  2. Did you feel passionate about our mission and your work? Please explain.
  3. What was your primary reason for seeking alternative employment?
  4. How would you compare our salary and benefits to the roles you were evaluating?
  5. Did you experience any problems with our work culture? What are some ideas to further improve our work culture?
  6. How could we improve your role and others to prevent more excellent employees like you from seeking alternative employment?
  7. Did you feel you received enough accountability and support to be successful? If not, please explain.
  8. How might our company change in the future to bring you back?
  9. Would you recommend our organization to a friend or other colleagues? If not, how can we improve to be a place you would recommend?
(Source: Angie Guacan/ Gitnux)


As employees leave their jobs, employers will also look for the best candidates to replace them. In the same way, they will make necessary changes to improve their working conditions in the company. Exit interview questions are a great opportunity to generate these changes.

For this reason, it is important to be honest in these interviews. You will be benefiting future generations of employees. Remember that you will not be judged if you propose some ideas. This could also reflect on you and analyze what you are looking for in a new company.


1. Reynoso C. Exit interviewing: a paradigm shift [Internet]. Researchgate. Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores de Occidente; 2015 [2022]

2. Spain E, Groysberg B. Making exit interviews count [Internet]. Harvard Business Review. 2016 [2022].

3. Spain E, Groysberg B. Making exit interviews count [Internet]. Harvard Business Review. 2016 [2022].

4. Kulik CT, Treuren G, Bordia P. Shocks and final straws: Using exit-interview data to examine the unfolding model’s decision paths [Internet]. Wiley Online Library. HR Science Forum; 2012 [Nov]

5. Frias Castro P, Kausel E. Engagement and job satisfaction as tenure factors for generation Y [Internet]. Academic Repository. University of Chile; 2014 [2022].

6. Mangia Farfán Romina Maria. Propuesta De Entrevista De Salida Para Una Compañía Multinacional Del Sector Asegurador [Internet]. Universidad de Especialidades Espiritu Santo. Faculty of Liberal Arts; 2017 [2022].


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