When an employee hands in their notice, it can be difficult for both the individual and the company. For the staff member, it marks the end of what could have been a long-term relationship with their employer. And for the company, it means losing an employee and all the knowledge and experience they've built.

But while it may tempt you to shrug it off and move on, there's value in conducting an exit interview. An exit interview can provide valuable feedback about your company, help you keep employees in the future, and improve your overall recruitment efforts when done correctly.

Here are ten questions that aren't a waste of time.

1. What Made You Search for a New Job? 

This question is possibly the most obvious, but still important to ask. Whether it's because of a change in circumstances or a desire for new challenges, there will always be a reason an employee is looking to leave. The answer may provide some insight into what's happening within your company and offer clues about how to improve the situation.

2. Do You Feel Your Manager Gave You What You Needed to Succeed? 

A good manager is essential to an employee's success. They should provide guidance, support, and opportunity. If an employee doesn't feel they had this at your company, it could be a sign that your management needs some work.

A study by Dr. Jason McPherson, a data scientist at Culture Amp, found that 12% of employees left their position because of a poor manager. The research found that above-average advantages for employees could override the damage from poor leadership. However, the biggest reason involves development opportunities. Take this information and use it to improve the way your company functions.

3. Did You Feel Your Achievements Were Recognized Throughout Your Employment? 

Everyone likes to feel appreciated. And employees are no different. If they don't feel the company values their accomplishments, it's likely they won't stick around for long. Use this feedback to ensure your employees feel valued and appreciated. For example, you could consider introducing a formal recognition program.

4. Is There Anything That Would Have Changed Your Mind About Leaving? 

This question is crucial to ask, as it can help you identify any potential red flags within your company. Maybe there's something small that's causing colossal problems. Or maybe there's a more significant issue that you're not aware of. Whatever the case may be, this question can help you get to the root of the problem and make the changes.

5. How Can We Improve Your Position for Your Replacement?  

An employee leaving is an opportunity to improve their role. Use this question to find out what changes they would make to the position to make it more successful. For example, the employee may suggest additional training or different responsibilities. The answer to this question may improve future hiring efforts.

6. Describe Our Company Culture? 

This question can help you spot any problems with your corporate culture. Maybe there's a lack of communication or support. Or perhaps the company culture is too focused on one thing.

Use this feedback to improve the way your company's perception. With the right response, you may find the information helpful during searching for a replacement. For example, you could use it to target candidates who would be a better fit.

7. What Did You Like Least About Working Here? 

This question can be challenging, but it's important to ask. The answer can help you identify any areas that need improvement. Maybe there's a problem with the way work is structured or a lack of development opportunities. This question can help you pinpoint the issue and make changes, whatever the case may be.

8. What Was the Most Challenging Part of Your Job? 

This question can help you understand what your employees are struggling with. Maybe they're feeling overwhelmed or under-qualified. Or maybe there's a problem with the way managers allocate work. Use this information to make changes that will improve the way your company functions.

9. What Was Your Favorite Part of Your Role? 

This question can help you understand what your employees value most about their job. Maybe they enjoy the autonomy or the opportunity to learn new things. Use this information to make changes that will improve the way your company functions.

The answer to this question can also help you with future hiring efforts. Your HR department or hiring manager can use this information to screen candidates and during interviews to attract top talent.

10. Would You Recommend Working Here to Your Friends? 

This question can help you gauge how your employees feel about the company. If they're reluctant to recommend the company to their friends, there's likely a problem. Use this feedback to improve the way your company is perceived. You can also provide information in interviews with potential candidates if the answer is positive.

How Can Employers Make Exit Interviews More Comfortable? 

An exit interview can be challenging for both the employer and the employee. After all, the employee leaves and the employer may feel betrayed. However, it's important to remember that the goal of an exit interview is to improve the company, not to assign blame. Here are a few tips to make the conversation more comfortable:

1. Schedule the Interview in Advance 

This will give the employee time to prepare mentally and emotionally for the conversation. It will also allow them to clear their schedule to focus on the interview.

2. Make it Clear That The Conversation is Confidential

The employee should feel comfortable being honest during the conversation. Assure them that their feedback will be used to improve the company and not to punish them.

3. Avoid Asking Leading Questions 

Leading questions are those that suggest a particular answer. For example, "Did your manager make you feel you couldn't succeed?" This question indicates that the manager is at fault and puts the employee on the defensive. Instead, ask open-ended questions that allow the employee to share their honest feedback.

4. Be Prepared to Take Action 

The goal of an exit interview is to improve the company. If the employee raises valid concerns, be prepared to take action. This could involve changing company policy or addressing a problem with a particular manager.

5. Follow Up With The Employee 

Once the conversation is over, follow up with the employee. Thank them for their feedback and let them know what changes you've made because of the exit interview. This will show them that their feedback was valued and that they didn't waste their time.

Use the Information to Improve Hiring and Onboarding Practices

The information from exit interviews can also improve your hiring and onboarding practices. For example, if you find employees are leaving because they don't feel appreciated, you can screen for candidates looking for a company where they will feel valued.

Or, if you find employees are leaving because they're not given enough autonomy, you can focus your onboarding efforts on teaching new employees how to work independently.

These exit interview questions can help you understand why your employees are leaving and identify areas that need improvement. You can use this feedback to improve your company and make it a more attractive place to work by asking the right questions.

You can have more time to focus on current employees and practices with a hiring agency. IsoTalent can help you with your hiring needs by finding qualified candidates who are a good fit for your company. Contact us today to learn more about our services.