30 exit interview questions you should be ready for

An exit interview is a standard occurrence that can happen when you decide to leave a job. Sometimes, the last thing you want to do is talk to your current boss about why you’re leaving, but these 30 interview exit questions you should be ready for can help you be prepared for anything your employer might decide to ask before you go. 

Making the decision to leave a job might not always be the easiest thing, but the payoff is that once you’ve made up your mind, preparing for your future can be exciting.

Before you can officially make your next move though, you’ll likely have to talk to your current employer about your time there. 

Exit interviews help your employer understand what they may be able to do better for future employees. Oftentimes current employees are too afraid of losing their job to be honest when it comes time to give feedback. Exit interviews allow employers to receive honest answers without the fear factor.

Try to look at it as though the questions you answer could help alleviate some of the problems you experienced for whoever fills your shoes. Be honest, direct, and forthcoming, as well as give specific examples when possible.

Depending on your reasons for leaving, this conversation could run the gamut from an easy, pleasant chat to an uncomfortable grill session. No matter what, preparation is key before any interview — including an exit interview. 

1. Why are you leaving?

At the top of most employer’s list of questions to ask during an exit interview is “why?” Just answer honestly. If you found another job that pays more, it’s ok to say that. If you don’t see room for advancement with this company, explain that. 

Whatever your reason is, give your current employer a truthful answer as to what finally tipped the scales and made you decide to leave.

2. What prompted you to look for a new job?

This is definitely a question to put some thought into prior to your exit interview. Decide whether there was one specific incident that prompted your job search or if it was a culmination of things that led you to take action. 

Explain what was going through your mind, even if you think it might cause hurt feelings. This is valuable insight that could help whatever happened to make you want a new job not to happen to someone else.

3. Is there anything we could have done to keep you here?

Answering this question does not mean that your employer is looking to fulfill a request or make a change to make you stay. Asking this question in an exit interview simply allows them to gauge how they could have done better, so be forthcoming if there is something specific that could have convinced you to stay. 

If absolutely nothing would have convinced you to stay, it is perfectly acceptable to state that as well. 

4. Did you feel supported working here?

This exit interview question is designed to help provide insight into a company’s training, processes, procedures, and managerial structure. Be specific about the support you did or did not receive and whether or not you felt fully equipped to do your job.  

5. What does your new job offer that we could not?

With this question, your employer is trying to gauge what it is that is missing in your current place of employment. For example, if your new job allows you to work a more flexible schedule, this will tell your employer that they are lacking in that area and could be what they need to hear in order to change their company culture for the better. 

6. How would you describe the company culture here?

This could be an easy one to answer if you are leaving on good terms. However, if you experienced problems or toxicity in the workplace, it is of the utmost importance that you describe them when asked about company culture. Your answer here could help those who are currently afraid to speak up for fear of losing their job. 

7. What improvements could you recommend for your supervisor?

Remember all of those times you wanted to tell your boss how they could do their job better? Well, this exit interview is your chance. Take some time to think about things that your supervisor could have done to make your job easier or communication smoother. 

This isn’t a time to just all-out bash your supervisor though. You want to be respectful of your answer, but also honest. Give feedback, but always end on a positive note because at the end of the day that says more about your character than about your supervisors.

8. Did you feel that the job requirements changed from when you were hired?

It’s not uncommon — especially when an employee has been with the same company for years — for the scope of work in a particular role to shift a bit. Perhaps things were added to your plate after you were hired or maybe someone else was hired who took over certain aspects of your job. 

Either way, explain any ways that your role has changed so that your current employer can update the job description accordingly in order to hire the best possible person to fill your shoes. 

9. What could we have done better here?

This is a similar question to recommendations for improvement for your supervisor. Think of the company as a whole though and their policies. Were there company policies or procedures that hindered your performance? Perhaps their salary or benefits packages were lacking? It’s ok to give honest feedback to help the company grow.

10. What was the best part about having this job?

This answer will be unique to your personal experience. However, the purpose of this question for your employer is to look at trends among their employees. 

If you had a fantastic coworker that you could not have existed without, give them a shoutout. If you loved the camaraderie your team displayed to get through tough times, explain that. Even if it’s just the fact that you loved the coffee in the break room, find something you can say positive about your job.

11. What qualities should we look for in your replacement?

When preparing to answer this interview exit question, take some time to think about the soft skills that helped you do your job. If having patience with others and the ability to pick up on details missed by others were key qualities that helped you get through your daily tasks, be sure to let them know that these traits would be helpful for whoever takes your place.

12. What should your replacement know about this role?

This question is very similar to the one above, but tells a bit more of a story about your daily work life during an exit interview. Think back to when you were first hired. What do you wish you would have known then that you know now? That is the type of insight your employer is looking for here.

13. What was the worst part of this job?

You may have already discussed this when answering questions about why you’re leaving or what you thought could have been better, but it’s ok to dig in on this question and give your employer the rundown about what you absolutely could not stand when doing this job. 

Remember, what you say could help shift the company culture or even change the scope of your position for the next person hired. Just be honest, but be polite about it. 

14. Did you ever share your concerns about your job with others here?

It isn’t likely that your employer is asking this exit interview question to get intel on office gossip. What is more often the case is that they’re seeking insight into the company culture. 

If you reported incidents to HR that were not addressed, they need to know. Alternatively, if you only voiced concerns to your co-workers but did not feel comfortable approaching your supervisor or HR, this could help highlight issues within their chain of command.

15. Did you receive adequate feedback on your performance?

Your answer to this exit interview question will allow your employer to see where there may be a breakdown in communication. Even if you did receive adequate feedback, it’s ok here to also let them know if you would have preferred to receive feedback in a different manner, more or less frequently.

16. What would you change about your job?

Again, you likely have already addressed this topic somewhat with answers to questions about why you’re leaving or what caused you to look for another job. However, this specific question can help you frame your experience in a more positive way. 

Instead of saying “I didn’t like XYZ,” this question gives you the opportunity to describe how you would make improvements. This could impact how the scope of your role changes going forward when they hire your replacement. 

17. What could we do to improve training for your role?

When preparing to answer this question, think about tasks for which you felt unprepared to execute when you first started in your position. Was there anything that was left up to you to figure out? Would guidance in certain areas have helped you be more successful? Feedback for this exit interview question will again help improve the role moving forward. 

18. Can you describe your typical workday on the job?

Employers aren’t always privy to the day-to-day happenings of their employees. Sure, they know what should be going on, but that isn’t always what actually happens. It’s best here to just give them the rundown of your daily tasks including who you interacted with on a regular basis and what your workflow looked like. 

19. What did you learn during your time here?

In nearly every experience in the workplace, there is something to be learned. It could be a new skill, a life lesson, or even an area you were able to improve on during your time in your current role. 

20. Would you recommend our company to a friend looking for a job?

It’s quite possible that you were dissatisfied with some elements of your job, but not the company as a whole. If you’re just moving on to somewhere that is a better fit for you personally but don’t see any major red flags that would prevent you from recommending the company to a friend, it’s ok to say so.

However, if things are so bad that you wouldn’t want your worst enemy working for the company that you’re leaving, explain why you would not feel comfortable advising someone you know to work there.

21. Do you feel like your achievements were recognized during your time here?

With some jobs, you may get to a point where you feel compelled to leave because you’re performing above and beyond expectations with no recognition. This tiresome merry go round can wear on anyone. If this was the case for you, explain specifically which achievements went unnoticed.

22. What was your relationship with your supervisor like?

This is another question that some employers ask during an exit interview because they feel like they will receive a more honest answer from an employee who is already on their way out the door rather than someone who feels like their job is at risk. 

23. What was the biggest factor that led to your decision to leave?

This exit interview question is where you need to zero in on the number one reason why you can no longer stay employed with the company. Regardless of whether the reason is a negative strike against the company or something your new role offers that your old job cannot, be succinct and forthcoming.

24. Were you happy with the benefits and perks offered at this job?

Did your employer miss an opportunity to provide more flexibility in your schedule or was their benefits package lacking? Especially if the benefits and perks offered were deciding factors when it came time to make your final decision to leave, mention specifically what you did or did not like about what was offered. 

25. Did you get along well with your team members?

No, this isn’t an open opportunity to bash everyone you disliked at work. However, it’s perfectly acceptable to let them know who you didn’t jive well with or even personality clashes you may have experienced.

26. Did you experience communication issues with anyone here?

Again, no bashing needed, but feel free to let your employer know if you experienced difficulty communicating with someone at the company. It may also be helpful to provide details as to how you attempted to bridge communication gaps and instances where that was not well received. 

27. Do you feel like there were opportunities for advancement or growth here?

It’s pretty common for people to leave companies where they feel like they’ll never move up the ladder. If this was the case for you, explain what opportunities you wished would have been available to you. 

Alternatively, if there were opportunities for advancement or growth, but that was not a factor in your decision to leave, you can be upfront about that as well. 

28. Do you feel our company values were adequately reflected within the workplace?

Again, this interview exit question can help provide insight into the company culture. If your employer touts having an open and honest line of communication between employees and supervisors, but you were afraid to approach a supervisor with a problem, that does not accurately reflect an open and honest workplace. 

29. Did you ever experience discrimination or harassment in the workplace?

If the answer to this question is yes, be 100% honest about what happened. Speaking up could help prevent this issue from happening to someone else who may be too afraid of losing their job to speak up.

30. Would you consider working here again in the future?

Most exit interviews will help set the tone for a relationship between you and your now-former employer going forward. If you feel that there is a chance that you could work there again, let them know that you would and what changes would be necessary in order to make that happen. So, you could answer with something like, “Yes, I would. But, I would need to see more opportunities for advancement within the first year to do so.”

If you would not consider working for the company again, it is completely acceptable to explain that when asked. A simple “No, I would not” is sufficient, but follow up questions about why could be asked if those issues were not already addressed earlier in the exit interview.