What To Ask Before Employees Leave

By Eilene Zimmerman

Sep. 21, 2005

Companies that specialize in exit interviewing ask a plethora of questions, some as general as “Why did you leave?” and others as specific as “Can you give us names of those you believe are involved in criminal behavior?”

    The trick to effective questioning is to focus on areas where you feel you can improve the organization, says Scott Erker, a senior vice president in DDI’s Selection Solutions group. “Don’t ask questions if you aren’t going to use the information,” says Erker. “We see a lot of companies going through the motions of just asking the usual questions, rather than being strategic about it.”

    David Scarborough, chief scientist at HR consulting firm Unicru in Portland, Oregon, advises clients to interview the manager as well as the departing employee. “We ask managers ‘What was the impact of this person’s departure on your department?’ We are looking for patterns that relate to job performance, so that they can hire better qualified and better suited candidates,” he says.

    Here are some typical interview questions being included on exit surveys, according to several vendors (depending on the answers, most surveys include follow-up questions that hone in on specifics):

  • Did you find your new job or did it find you?

  • Were you satisfied with your compensation and benefits?

  • How did you feel about your supervisor?

  • How did you feel about the working relationships you had with members of your team?

  • Did you work give you a sense of accomplishment?

  • Are there things we could have done to make your job more fulfilling?

  • Did you feel you had opportunities to expand your knowledge and learning?

  • What are some things you would address that are problems in the workplace?

  • What competencies do you feel were required to do your job and did you have them?

  • What did you like about your job? What did you dislike about your job?

  • If there were an opportunity to return, would you do that?

Schedule, engage, and pay your staff in one system with