8 Common Exit Interview Questions (With Example Answers)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 17 August 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Most companies have their own unique process for conducting interviews with employees who have decided to end their tenure with their organisation. Meetings like this help organisations understand the nuances and context for someone choosing to leave, while also providing them with helpful and honest feedback. Learning about some of these interview questions can better prepare you to provide your previous employer with meaningful opinions. In this article, we discuss what happens in an exit interview and explore example questions and answers, including tips to help you prepare for your upcoming resignation interview.

Related: How To Prepare for an Interview

What happens at an exit interview?

At an exit interview, an organisation's human resources department asks a series of questions to an employee leaving the company. These questions seek to understand their motivations for wanting to leave and what their experience was like while they still worked there. A company then uses the answers from these surveys to make corporate decisions to boost employee retention rates. Honest feedback from former employees is invaluable information to help a company focus on their culture, improve the experiences of their employees and handle frequently made suggestions and concerns.

Related: How To Be a Good Interviewer in Six Steps (With Helpful Tips)

Examples of exit interview questions and answers

Here are some examples of exit interview questions with sample answers for you to consider:

Why are you leaving your position, or what led you to the decision to leave?

Your employer may ask this question to find out if you are leaving because you've received a better opportunity or for personal reasons. Try to maintain a balance between honesty and politeness when answering this question. If applicable, mention the skills or experience you're 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 something different. While I have learned much at this job and honed my skills and experience, I feel it is time to go in a different direction. I have gained invaluable experience for the future, and I feel the time is right to expand my experience and strengthen my abilities.”

Related: How To Write a Resignation Letter (With Examples)

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 your position from your perspective. Stay objective 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 there is room for improvement. Management sometimes overlooked the ways they could utilise my role, so I occasionally felt somewhat stagnant. However, if they empower new employees to feel independent from the beginning, we can get more innovative and new ideas from them to add value to the company's success. This seems like a more effective solution than waiting for directives.”

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, acknowledge what was good about your job. Remember that everyone likes to know when they get it right, including your supervisor.

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.”

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 didn't 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. To fully prepare new employees to meet the company's expectations, management might consider additional training or refreshers so new and current employees can meet their tasks to the best of their ability.”

Do or did you think the company supported your career goals?

When answering this question, let your employer know how they lived up to your expectations and 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 opportunity to advance my position or increase my knowledge and experience. While the company has given me opportunities to learn things 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.”

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 what they were looking for. A comprehensive benefits package would make the job more appealing.”

Related: Body Language Tips for a Job Interview

What aspects of your job did you like and dislike?

If this is a question you receive, it's important that you remain respectful while giving a completely honest answer. The employer wants to understand the pros and cons that you dealt with while working in your position. The only way they can improve on certain aspects is if you share your genuine feelings.

Example: "Overall, I enjoyed being an English teacher here. The best part about my job was definitely the flexibility I had to design my curriculum for my students. Instead of having to follow a rigid academic system, I could implement my style and make it really enjoyable and educational. One thing I didn't like about the job was the excessively long working hours. The working hours of this school are not typical for most institutions, so I've found it difficult to maintain some semblance of a work life balance. I would like to see fewer working hours going forward."

What would need to change for you to consider staying with us?

An employer might ask this question to resigning employees when their skills and talents are highly valuable and the company wants to retain them. If the company really wants to keep you, they might provide some additional incentives and a higher base salary or wage. Ultimately, they use this question to figure out what you're willing to stay for.

Example: "To be honest, the only way I would stay is if I got a higher salary. I think the skills I provide are worth that."

Tips to help you prepare for your upcoming exit interview

Review these tips and think about them when you begin developing answers for your exit interview:

  • Try to be as objective as possible. Try to think critically about their questions, so you can give the most objective answers possible. Focus more on the company as a collective unit, rather than an as an experience you had with individual people. Remaining objective ensures the employer receives information that they can use to create actionable goals to improve the company.

  • Practice a wide range of answers. One of the best ways to prepare for a resignation interview is to practice answering some of the most commonly asked questions. If you don't want to practice on your own, ask a friend or close colleague to help you prepare. These mock interviews are ultimately meant to help the organisation operate better, so try to give sincere answers.

  • Take lots of notes. It can benefit you to record the interview. This ensures that you have audio evidence of what you discussed with the human resources professional. You may need to use this conversation for future purposes.

  • Pay attention to your body language and nonverbal signals. Breathe slowly and try to calm your nerves prior to the interview. Calming yourself before the interview can help you focus and stay relaxed once it begins. This means sitting comfortably, looking at the interviewer when they're talking to you and keeping your breathing steady.

  • Consider declining the interview. You don't have to take part in the interview and it's within your right to decline it. Whatever your reasons may be, just make certain that you're respectful and professional when you reject the invitation.

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