Philippines’ Top HR Blog

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Skills series: 9 in-demand skills for designers

The skills needed to succeed in the modern workplace are evolving. This article is part of our skills series, which investigates what different roles and different departments need in order to do their jobs effectively and efficiently.

In this article we’ll be looking at the key skills a graphic designer needs to be successful at his or her job. These include both soft skills and technical ones, such as software and knowledge of typography.

9 Key Designer Skills


Content is usually a critical part of design. Whether it’s web design, a billboard ad, or a mobile app, the best designers will understand how different fonts play off of each other and the design, as well as how the spacing between letters and lines affect the reader. Typography is a study of multiple aspects that enhance and enable the design and its audience.


Your user interface (UI) is the side of your business your audience interacts with. User experience (UX) is your customers’ complete experience with your brand, from how well your UI works to how easy it is for your customers to figure out what they want to know. A good user experience is highly designed, because you want everything from your website to your mobile app to be intuitive and easy for your customer. Your UI and brand has to work, look great, and make sense to achieve good UX.


Designers must be detail-oriented to account for the many little mistakes that customers can make, and the many tiny misunderstandings that spiral into huge problems. An overlooked design detail can mean the difference between a happy customer and a confused would-be customer, who’s now a lost sale.

“The details are not the details. They make the design.” – Charles Eames

Information architecture

Information architecture is the design and organization of information in any brand material, but usually referring to websites and interactive media. It helps your users find the information they’re looking for, and organizes your information in a way that makes it easily searchable and intuitive to navigate. The navigation bar of a website is a good example of information architecture at work, as well as the headings and subheadings in a blog post. Good designers should be able to organize information elements in a way that makes sense to users.

Although information architecture isn’t the same as graphic design, it’s becoming an increasingly complicated and needed skill for designers and marketers alike.

Color theory

Did you know that the color blue implies trust? Color theory is the study of how color affects emotions and the best use and applications of different colors on design. It’s a complex field that a designer could spend years studying, but all good designers have a basic understanding of color theory and use.

Design software

All good artists have their tools, and graphic designers are no different. A good designer should have deep knowledge of how to use design software like Photoshop, Corel and the like. There are also a number of free tools that they can learn and utilize. Good graphic designers have a strong handle on the tools available to them, know how to use them to achieve exactly what they want, and understand which tools are best for what job.

Basic web design

This is an increasingly in-demand designer skill because almost all businesses should have a website. A graphic designer is needed to design the site using color theory, typography, a knowledge of information architecture, and more to ensure it’s visually pleasing and easy to navigate. Then, a developer builds the website, including the images and logos the graphic designer has provided, and an SEO specialist fills it with content.


Your designer needs to understand the brand and what you’re looking for from a project before he or she can deliver the best results. Good designers understand the need to communicate with their clients about a design, it’s functions, anything they don’t understand, and more to ensure a seamless project and deliverables that produce results.


For a designer, it’s sometimes tough to discard a design that they’ve worked hard on. However, there are times when inspiration and hard work isn’t enough, and a design just isn’t the right fit for a client. Instead of being stubborn and insisting that their design doesn’t need any adjustments, a great graphic designer will be able to view the design with a objective eye to see whether it needs improvement and in which areas. Their knowledge of color theory, typography, UX, and information architecture should lend them a credible voice when discussing changes.

Self-aware, if something looks bad etc why What design skills do you look for when hiring a designer? Share in the comments below.

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Skills series: 6 in-demand skills for leaders

The skills needed to succeed in the modern workplace are evolving. This article is part of our skills series, which investigates what different roles and different departments need in order to do their jobs effectively and efficiently.

This article goes over the key leadership skills to look for when hiring or promoting someone to management level. We’ll discuss leadership types and priorities according to our proven executive leadership report.

6 Key Leadership Skills

Innovating Strategic Initiatives

A good leader understands the importance of taking initiative, and is able to come up with and lead innovative and strategic initiatives to further the company. This means that they take the lead on projects, proposals, and processes that are new, high-impact, and aligned with the company vision and mission.

Maximizing Resources

Making full use of your team’s time, talent, and other resources is key for good leadership. Knowing where to allot which resources for maximum returns takes strategy, an understanding of your team’s strengths and weaknesses, and knowledge of your industry and how your business works. These are all marks of an excellent leader.

Utilizing Organizational Synergies

Organizational synergy refers to the various parts of an organization acting together seamlessly.

Like the human system, the organizational system only functions optimally if all of its interdependent parts are working effectively together. Do, for example, the processes, structure, people, metrics, culture and technology come together to support the strategy of the organization?

Organizational Synergies

A good leader will be able to utilize the different ways an organization works together, bringing their teams from simple interactions to effective implementation.

Producing Quality Results

Value depends on output more than input. High-quality input usually produces high-quality output, but when it comes to leadership you want to look at results. When evaluating leaders, look at whether their teams are happy, whether they hit their targets and deadlines, whether they produce results, and how high the quality of their (and their teams’) output is.

Mentoring Others

Being a leader goes beyond simply managing others. A manager will instruct and coordinate, a leader will mentor and train. Instead of taking employees and utilizing their skills, great leaders will equip and empower their team members to ensure growth for both their employees as well as the company.

Maintaining High Personal Standards

Great leaders set a good example for their team, which means continually striving to improve and raise the bar. A good leader “leads by example,” credits their team when things go well, and shoulders the blame (to improve later on) when things go wrong.

What leadership skills do you look for when hiring for a managerial position? Share in the comments below.

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Skills series: 7 in-demand skills for sales

The skills needed to succeed in the modern workplace are evolving. This article is part of our skills series, which investigates what different roles and different departments need in order to do their jobs effectively and efficiently.

Here are some in-demand sales skills that will win you brownie points if you can demonstrate them in an interview or previous experience. These are also skills that HR professionals should be on the lookout for during the hiring process.

7 Key Sales Skills


Patience is a vital skill in sales because the best salespeople know how to wait on a lead. Patience means not forgetting about that email lead who might become a customer in a few months. It entails knowing how to nurture a lead instead of rushing them. You also need to be patient to provide good customer service, as, needless to say, losing your temper with a customer should be avoided.


Good speaking skills are great to have for a sales position because they’ll need to know how to think on their feet, deliver a persuasive speech, and facilitate a comfortable conversation with a potential customer. If you’re a recruiter, look for experience that would indicate healthy speaking skills like giving lectures or seminars. If you’re a job applicant who wants to gain some speaking skills, try taking an improvisation class.


Salespeople must be self-motivated, because it’s rare for a customer to fall in your lap. Good salespeople implement inbound and outbound marketing to find and close deals, and don’t waste time waiting for the perfect lead to fall into their lap. Indicators for candidates with great motivation include initiating a successful project, leading a team, and having started a business or side project.


Resilience is an important trait for sales because good salespeople aren’t discourage when a sale falls through or a long-time customer leaves. Instead, they learn from their mistakes, improve, and remain persistent with their jobs. Look for indicators of resilience in stories of success. If you’re interviewing candidates, ask them to explain a time they overcame an obstacle, or when they demonstrated resilience in the face of a difficult customer.


Sales is all about telling a story; you want consumers to understand the benefits your product or service will bring to their lives, and you do this by painting a picture. Look at the storytelling skills your candidates display in their cover letters and interviews. Ask yourself: how convincing are they? Do they bring the story to life?

Can identify customer needs

One could argue that the best salesperson can sell a motorcycle to a bird, but great salespeople shouldn’t want to do that in the first place. To be successful in sales, you need to have an understanding of who your customers are according to their needs. If someone will not find your product or service useful or a good fit, acknowledge it and don’t sell to them. Instead, a good salesperson accurately identifies a target audience for whom the product or service they’re selling would be useful and welcome.

Good communicators

Look for good communication skills, whether via email, phone, or in-person. A good salesperson should be able to interface with a client on their preferred communication channel, stay on top of their messages so they don’t keep any client waiting too long, and know how to adapt communications for different channels.

What sales skills do you look for when hiring a salesperson? Share in the comments below.

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Skills series: 6 in-demand skills for HR

The skills needed to succeed in the modern workplace are evolving. This article is part of our skills series, which investigates what different roles and different departments need in order to do their jobs effectively and efficiently.

Today we’re looking at the skills needed for someone to be an effective HR professional. We’ll be going through why a marketing background could work to your benefit, and the staple skills like communications and employee relations.

6 Key HR Skills

Relationship and conflict management

All good HR professionals understand how to maintain relationships and resolve conflicts in the office. They’re good mediators and can demonstrate a history of finding resolutions that suit everyone to maintain business operations. When a team, even a team of star players, doesn’t get along with each other or are too focused on arguments, work doesn’t get done as well as it could. HR pros know this and are proactive at maintaining good relationships throughout the entire company.


This may sound like a skill more important for sales professionals, but someone in HR should know how to sell a job to great candidates. Marketing comes in handy for HR because part of the job is finding the right candidates to target. Someone who understands marketing will know where to look for top performers (because they can identify a target audience), how to reach them, and how to convince them to apply and accept positions at your company.


Onboarding is no small task. Someone who knows how to design an onboarding process is able to streamline operations, refine processes, and create a consistent experience wherein a new hire learns everything he or she needs to know to succeed at the company. Having experience overseeing or implementing an onboarding process is a valuable skill for any HR pro.


Having good communication skills is important for any role, and HR is no exception. Being able to communicate well, on multiple platforms (depending on what is most suitable), is an underappreciated skill. There’s a difference between just sending an email versus sending an email that is understood and incites action.


Time management and good scheduling skills are important in HR because their role involves juggling and prioritizing interviews, events, employee evaluations, and more. They have to handle the calendars and schedules to ensure everything that needs to get done for an employee gets done on time. Often, this also includes payroll and other paperwork.

Performance evaluation

Knowing how to evaluate employee performance and ROI is critical for HR. These are the metrics and results that show you who your top performers are, who you need to put on a performance improvement plan, who is ready to take on a leadership role, who needs a bigger team under them, and more. Someone in HR should be able to accurately identify the best paths for each employee, and what movement they should take within the company based on their performance.

What HR skills do you look for in your business? Tell us in the comments below.

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How to Recharge in 5 Minutes

When days get busy, you can find yourself low on time and high on stress. Here are some quick ways to recharge at the office when you only have 5 minutes to spare.

5 Ways to recharge in 5 minutes or less

Do eye exercises

It’s good practice to look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds, every 20 minutes to prevent eye strain from looking at a screen all day. In addition to that, doing some eye exercises is a good way to take a productive break from what you’re doing.

Clean your screen and workspace

Keeping your workspace clutter-free helps with focus. If you need a quick refresher at work, take 5 minutes to clean your computer screen, wipe down your keyboard, organize your desk, and sanitize your mouse.

Do a breathing exercise

A breathing exercise can help you calm your mind and refocus. Try this: breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth 10 times.

Relax your muscles

Sitting at  a desk for long periods of time can strain muscles throughout your body, like your shoulders. Start by focusing on the top of your head, down to your eyes, facial muscles, neck, shoulders, and so on, relaxing each area as you go.

Sip a beverage

Making yourself some hot tea on a cool day, or an iced coffee on a summer day gives you something to stop and enjoy while you work. If you find yourself needing a quick break, make yourself a beverage and enjoy it at your desk or in the break room before getting back to your desk.

Do you have a little longer than 5 minutes? Here are a few ways you can disconnect to recharge, from being out in nature to waking up a little earlier every day to give yourself a few hours of silence and meditation.

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5 Popular Work-Life Friendly Policies

Finding the ideal balance between work and personal life is a common struggle among many employees, and contributes to employee retention and satisfaction. It’s something that concerns your top employees, which means it’s something you should be paying attention to as well. Here are 5 popular work-life friendly policies that you should consider adopting in your workplace in order to retain your team members.

5 Work-life friendly policies

1. Offer flexible schedules or job sharing

Offering flexible schedules allows your employees to fit life in where it happens. For example, if you employ a parent who has to pick up kids from school, they can go pick their kids up and then head back to work when they can devote 100% of their attention to it.

Flexible schedules are great for work-life balance because it allows your employees to demonstrate their time management skills and work when they’re most productive. You can give them a weekly hour requirement, or only require core hours (ie. 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. for meetings and to touch base) and give them the responsibility to get the work done if it goes past that time.

In addition to flexible schedules, consider allowing them to work from home a day or two every month. Studies show that remote employees are more productive than their in-office counterparts. Having a few days they can schedule to work from home allows them to make important events or take trips (or stay home with a sick child), with the understanding that they’re responsible for keeping their output and quality of work consistent.

2. Utilize time tracking

Time tracking gets a bad reputation, because it makes it seem like employers don’t trust employees enough with their time. However, time tracking is a great tool to understand when someone is working too much, or spending too much time on a particular task.

If you use a time tracking solution, you’re able to see at a glance who your most productive employees are so you know who to hold on to and who to put on a performance improvement plan. Your top performers will thank you for cutting the team members who don’t carry their own weight (we’ve all had those group mates who didn’t do anything). Plus you’ll be able to help employees avoid burn out by giving them well-deserved time off when they’ve been putting in extra hours.

3. Make time for physical and mental health

Work so often takes priority in life, even at the expense of your employees’ health. To avoid having a team who focuses so much on work it takes a toll on their mind and bodies, promote health initiatives. You can sponsor gym memberships or discounts, provide healthy meals, and even have monthly fitness-centered culture building events like a self defense or yoga class. Some companies have sponsored sports teams, and others take their teams on optional weekend hikes to get out of the city.

What works best for other companies may not work best for your particular team, so spend some time getting to know your employees and what type of health initiatives they’re most likely to take part in.

4. Encourage learning and development

Learning and development programs allow employees to continue to grow their skillsets, but you can use some of this budget as an opportunity to foster hobbies among your team as well. If you notice some employees struggling with what to make for office lunches, offer a healthy eating and cooking class, or bring in someone to teach a quick course on nutrition.

Making sure your employees are engaged and always learning new things goes a long way towards both retention as well as maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

5. Provide paid time off (PTO)

Paid time off can replace paid sick leave, personal days, and paid vacation. General paid time off means you trust employees to spend that time wisely, and allot it where they want. Employees won’t have to worry about how to classify the time spent off, or what requirements are needed to qualify for a sick day (ie a doctor’s note or prescription).

Giving PTO encourages employees to take a certain number of days off a year, giving them an opportunity to rest and rejuvenate. Like flexible schedules, PTO also allows your employees to handle life events such as birthday and graduation parties, any family emergencies, or handling illnesses.


Keep in mind that it’s important to lead by example if you want your employees to treat PTO as true time off. When you take time off, set up an autoresponder for your email that says you’re out of the office so your team understands it’s okay to leave their inbox alone while they’re on vacation–just make sure their autoresponder explains who to contact in case of an emergency.

In the end, there is no cookie-cutter solution that will fit every company. Consider your options carefully, know your team, and select the policies that are most likely to benefit your employees the most when it comes to work-life balance.

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How to design a great employee experience: Tools and culture

In this article on designing a great employee experience, we go over best practices when it comes to the tools they use and company culture you build. If you haven’t already read our installation on onboarding and strategy, find some tips in our previous article.

Designing an employee experience


Top performers bring many things to your company; ideas, fresh perspective, innovation, and even some better ways to do things. They bring skills and experience, plus a great work ethic that contributes to your bottom line.

However, the company has to bring something more than a salary to the table. You need to equip your employees with the tools they need to succeed; this includes software and hardware, as well as a benefits package that will help them remain healthy and productive.

Questions to ask:

  • Do they have a computer that suits their needs? Is it quick enough, virus-free, and portable if needed?
  • Do they have access to all the software they need to operate well? Is it the most efficient, effective, and reliable software available?
  • Do they have a quiet workspace available where uninterrupted work can get done?
  • If their job requires regular meetings with clients or other team members, do they have a professional and equipped meeting space?
  • Do they have access to quick and reliable Internet?
  • If they’re required to interface with clients via the phone, do you provide a phone and phone plan with unlimited minutes?

Also good to consider:

  • Do they have a means to get to work? If many of your employees commute, can you provide bus passes? If they drive, do they have a convenient place to park?
  • If their job requires long hours at a desk, do you provide a gym stipend to ensure good health?
  • If your employees stay late, do you provide dinner or healthy snacks?


When you’re building a company, culture helps to ensure all of your team members have the same values and work ethic. Culture defines the employee experience as part of their day-to-day operations as much as the daily work.

Defining and fostering company culture is a challenge, and there’s no definitive guide to building company culture that’s perfect for your unique company. However, here are some things to get you on the right track;

  • Ask the right questions. Asking the right questions can reveal what your employees are uncomfortable with at work, if there’s anything that the company could be doing that’s low-cost and high-reward, and more.
  • Have occasional team-building activities.
  • Reward your team for jobs well done. If they got a big project finished early, consider getting them lunch or letting them have the afternoon off.

For more in-depth resources on building company culture, check out Kissmetrics’ article on The 4 Elements That Make Great Company Culture, Entrepreneur’s The 8 Essential Steps to Building a Winning Company CultureHow To Build A Great Company Culture on Forbes, and 8 Tips for Building a Great Culture on Inc.

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How to design a great employee experience: Onboarding and strategy

Designing a great employee experience takes time, effort, and attention to every aspect of an employee’s journey. In this series, we’ll be breaking down some best practices for designing a great employee experience to enhance productivity, motivation, and retention.

Designing an employee experience


Your employee’s journey begins even before they’ve been accepted into the company. It starts with how you found them (are they a good fit in the first place?) and how they’re treated during their interview process. Do you respect their time? Do you let them know about your decisions promptly? Do you ask the right questions?

To give you a place to start, here are some resources on finding the right fit to join your team.

Once you have your candidates picked out, interviewed, and hired, it’s time to work on your onboarding checklist. Successfully onboarding an employee is the first step to a good employee experience, as it sets the stage for their success.

Provide proper documentation of all the processes they will be handling. This includes how-to guides, training videos, recorded screenshares, and on-the-job training. Beyond that, here are a few keys to keep in mind for an especially helpful onboarding.

  • Don’t use yes/no questions when asking if they understand. Prompt questions with questions, such as “what do you have questions about?” and “what concerns you the most so far?”
  • Check in regularly while they’re learning the ropes, and have someone who was recently in their position train them. It’s likely they had some of the same questions.
  • Ask them to write down anything they don’t understand from their onboarding, and use those questions to improve your process.


A key part of your businesses employee experience is understanding of your company strategy. They should know the why of what you do. Start by crafting a one-page strategic plan, refine it, and share it out.

It’s important to keep this short to ensure your team reads and understands it. It’s good practice to have a comprehensive strategy document that’s also succinct enough for any shareholders to review and understand.

Tip: If your business is technical, ie. SaaS or a web app, be sure you train all your team members how to use it, even if they won’t be interacting with your software directly on a regular basis.

Check our blog for the next part of this series!

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HR Metrics: What you should be tracking

To manage a team effectively, you need to utilize data to recognize trends, identify best practices, and understand what isn’t working. Here are a few HR metrics you should be tracking and what they mean.

HR metrics to track

Cost per hire

How much does it cost your business in time and money to hire one person? This includes the cost of putting job ads out, the time/money cost of all the people who need to interview a candidate, any assessments and testing purchased, and how much it takes to onboard them.

Cost vs revenue

Look at how much one employee costs to maintain versus the overall revenue of the company. This would include salary, but also overhead costs such as office rental fees, electricity bills, hardware and software they need, and any transportation fees.

How long does it take to onboard a new employee

Beyond the simple monetary fee, take a look at how long it takes to efficiently onboard a new employee. Measure how successfully each employee is brought up to speed, and how long it takes at minimum to most effectively onboard someone.

Average response and issue resolution time

When someone lodges a complaint with HR, take note of how long it takes for your team to respond and resolve the issue. Your goal is to get response time as low as possible, meaning your team answers promptly and effectively. You should also aim for quick resolution time. If they’re taking too long to address an issue, find out why.

Offer acceptance rate

This metric could indicate how well you’re selecting good candidates in the first place. If someone who isn’t a great fit doesn’t take a job offer, that isn’t on them–that’s on your HR team for not finding out they’re a poor fit candidate earlier in the process.

How many people were fired within their first year

This metric shows you whether you need to reevaluate your hiring or onboarding process. If multiple new hires aren’t successful and are fired within the first year, there’s something wrong with HR. Either they are recruiting poor candidates in the first place, or aren’t equipping new hires properly for success.

Where your best and worst candidates come from

Are they referrals, from a particular job site, or applying directly on your website? Look at where your best and worst candidates are finding you, double down on your high-value channels, and eliminate or reduce effort into your low-value channels.


This metric is important because each day an employee doesn’t come in costs your team in productivity and efficiency. Even if you dock pay for unapproved leaves, the people left in the office may be stuck waiting on something from the employee who’s absent, and clients could be left hanging.

Job satisfaction

How happy are your employees with their work, work environment, management, benefits and compensation? Measure how satisfied your teams are, and identify areas for improvement.

Turnover and retention rate

Look at how many employees quit within the first year, and overall. Break it down by star employee retention rate, and low performer retention rate. Despite the belief that overall retention is desired, you should aim to retain your top employees and put processes in place that will weed out poor fit employees. In other words, if someone isn’t great for the company, you shouldn’t aim to retain them.

Salary increase vs revenue increase

Analyze salaries of your employees versus your company’s overall revenue, as well as how much revenue one employee brings in on average. Look at any trends and correlation between the two to find the salary sweet spot.

Cost to terminate employees

It costs time and money to hire and onboard a new employee, but also to terminate them. Measure the resources it takes on average to fire an employee, from dealing with a knowledge transfer, conducting an exit interview, any severance pay needed, or other factors.

Key indicators of a top performer

Learn what makes your top employees your top employees. You can do this by evaluating their work ethic, behaviors, values, skills, and education. HR professionals can also talk to their supervisors, colleagues, and teams they manage to identify what they’re doing right. You can also opt to use benchmark assessments to compare your top performers and see where they line up.

Advancement opportunities

Does your company offer enough opportunities for advancement to keep your team engaged? If your employees can’t see a future for themselves there, retention rates will fall.

Effectiveness of HR tools

This includes assessments, internal help desk software, and any rewards programs you provide. Take note of how effective they are and the return-on-investment for them.

Succession planning

Look at how many employees successfully were promoted to management level. Does your team do better when leadership is promoted from within, or brought on externally? You should also take a look at the key indicators for a good leader on your team, so you can plan accordingly.

What HR metrics are you tracking?

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Check all your boxes: How to conduct an exit interview

When someone tries to quit, it’s better to let them go instead of trying to convince them to stay. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t learn from their experience to improve your employee retention.

Conduct an exit interview with every employee who leaves your organization–even the ones who didn’t leave voluntarily. It’s important to identify anywhere your company’s weaknesses are and where you can improve.

How to nail exit interviews

Ensure honest answers

Your goal for an exit interview is not to be reassured that nothing is wrong. You want to get to the bottom of why someone is leaving, the good, bad, and ugly. Ensure honest answers by clarifying this, and asking non-leading questions.

Make it clear that you’re looking to hear their complaints, in addition to what went well. Provide a safe environment for them to voice their concerns, and conduct the exit interview in confidentiality. Make it clear that no negative consequences will come to them if they share poor reviews of their managers, or are brutally honest with their complaints.

Make it worth their time to participate

Making an exit interview mandatory is one option, but it’s also important to make it worth their time. Show that you appreciate them taking their time to give you full answers, instead of rushing through the exit interview, by providing snacks and coffee or providing lunch. If you’re operating in a startup, and a manager or founder conducts the exit interviews, you can also take the former employee out to lunch after their exit interview.

Questions to ask

Below are some sample questions you can ask in your exit interview.

  • When and why did you begin looking for a new job?
  • What are 3 things you didn’t like about working here?
  • Did you feel well-equipped to do your job with us?
  • Did you share your concerns with anyone else in the company? What was their response?
  • How would you describe our company culture?
  • Why did you decide to take the job offer at your new company?
  • What could we have done differently?
  • What was your relationship with your manager like? What about your peers?
  • Would you ever consider coming back to work with us? What would have to change?
  • What do you like about the company?
  • Did you get enough feedback about how you were performing?
  • Would you recommend us as a place to work?

Tip: Ask them if it’s okay to follow up, and if so, capture their personal email address.

Use what you learn

Finally, it’s important to use what you learn from your exit interviews to improve.

What are some ways exit interviews have shown you an area for improvement?

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