4 Questions To Ask Your Employee Who Just Quit

Elizabeth Dickerson Elizabeth Dickerson, HR 1 Comment

Sometimes it’s a shock when a star employee leaves your company to pursue another opportunity. Sometimes it’s not (and you kinda wanted them to leave, know what I’m sayin’?)

Shocked or not, I’m sure you wonder why such a gem of a team member is leaving you in the dust. There must be a reason, right?

I’m a big believer in following your passion and bigger purpose in life—whether that means getting a new job, moving to a new state, completely starting over, going back to school, etc. And when someone quits your company to keep their own train moving in the right direction, save your time trying to talk them out of their decision. It’s too late. When an employee has decided to make a move, choose to learn why and how it can help you.

No matter how busy you get or how blindsided you are by the 2 weeks notice, do an exit interview to find out the motivation behind your employee’s decision and you might actually learn something. Start out by asking the following 4 questions to your parting employee to get the scoop:

Did you have the resources you needed to do your job effectively?

This one is major. You can’t provide incredible work without the right tools to make it happen. Ask this question to learn if your employee felt like they had everything they needed to get their best job done. Bootstrapping and figuring things out as you go is good when it comes to cutting costs, but how is it impacting your employee’s ability to deliver work to clients or your company? You’ll learn how supported your employee felt and what you may need to invest in in the future for the best work environment.

Did you feel your job aligned with your goals and interests?

This question assesses how your employee’s work fits in with their bigger vision of their life. Younger generations of employees value their personal passions and their “life purpose”. While this doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to change the nature of the work at your company, it would be great to explore the interest of your prospective employees at the start of the hiring process to learn what they are interested in and where their passions lie. Research shows that when an employee is able to tap into their personal and professional interests at work they are more likely to be engaged. This question could also provide insight as to what cultural initiatives you could start at your company—think a wellness program, yoga, community service perks, therapy benefits, etc.

How did your position match your expectations?

A major driver of employee engagement is how the actual day-to-day responsibilities stack up compared to how they were described in the job description or interview. This question can give you insight on how to sell the position more effectively to result in hiring the best talent for the role.

Would you recommend our company to a friend as a great place to work?

9 times out of 10 you’ll probably get a “yes” to this question because people don’t want to be insulting. But then ask them why they would recommend your company—this is also where you’ll learn about positive aspects you can tap into from a recruitment marketing standpoint. It’s worth a shot to ask, and of course you’ll hope that a solid team member would be an advocate and refer other great employees in the future.

Comments 1

  1. These are great questions, but I still wonder — how honest are people in exit interviews, anyway?

    I was taught a long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, that nothing good ever came from being honest in an exit interview. Better to whisper sweet nothings and not say too much of anything at all.

    Has that changed? What does a departing employee get out of being honest as they head out the door? Very, very little, I think, if anything at all.

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