Ask This, Not That: Sample Employee Exit Survey Questions

Exit Interview QuestionsFor the most part, turnover should be avoided like the plague. The cost of turnover is astounding, as the total cost of voluntary turnover in the U.S. is more than $536 billion per year. And it can take up to two years for a new employee to reach the same productivity levels as the exiting employee.

Unfortunately, turnover is a reality that can't always be avoided. And in the event that one of your employees decides to head for greener pastures, you need to discover why they're leaving and how you can prevent their coworkers from doing the same.

Want more than the basics? Read this Guide to Conducting an Exit Survey.    

This is where the exit interview comes in. If you move past the stale, boilerplate questions and start making inquiries that really get to the heart of the departure, you can uncover insights that will help you retain employees in the future.

This blog lists some of the most common exit survey questions, then revises them to invite more honest, comprehensive answers.


General Exit


Replace this:

Why have you decided to leave this company?


With These:
  • What caused you to start looking for a new job in the first place?
  • What does your new company offer that encouraged you to accept its offer and leave this company?
  • Have you shared your concerns with anyone in the company prior to deciding to leave?
  • What was the response?


Company Overall


Replace This:

What do you value about this company?


With These:
  • What will you miss about this company that you might not get with another?
  • Why would you recommend this company to a friend as a place to work? (or why not?)
  • What would need to change about this company in order for you to stay?


Role Alignment


Replace This:

What did you dislike about your job?


With These:
  • Describe some examples of time when your job was frustrating, overcomplicated, or unduly difficult.
  • If there were three things you could change about your current position, what would they be?
  • What makes your new job more attractive than your present job?


Manager Effectiveness


Replace This:

How was your relationship with your manager?


With These:
  • How would you describe your manager’s leadership style in three words?
  • Did you and your manager work together effectively?
  • How did you and your manager’s working styles complement or compete?
  • What two or three things could your supervisor do to improve his/her management skills?
  • What was your relationship like with your manager outside of work?




Replace This:

Were you satisfied with the leadership of this organization?


With These:
  • How would you describe this organization’s leadership style in three words?
  • What values do you think are most important to this organization’s leadership team?
  • What do you think they should be?


Your employee exit survey questions should invite honest answers that’ll give you the insight your organization needs in order to reduce voluntary turnover. Swap out your age-old (dare I say worthless?) exit survey questions for ones that’ll help you uncover the real reason why your employees are leaving.



Asking the right questions is just one element of an effective exit survey strategy. What else do you need to know? Download our our free guide, How to Conduct an Exit Survey, to get the whole story.

Complete Guide! How to Conduct an Exit Survey