7 Stay Interviews Best Practices

What is one best practice for stay interviews?


To help you follow best practices in conducting stay interviews, we asked CEOs and people managers this question for their best advice. From asking open-ended questions to showing sensitivity to anxious colleagues, there are several best practices that may help you conduct effective stay interviews for the benefit of your organization.


Here are seven best practices for stay interviews:

  • Ask Open-Ended Questions
  • Include Stay Interviews in Onboarding
  • Allow Employee To Start The Conversation
  • Listen and be Sincere
  • Focus On the Emotional Benefits of Staying
  • Conduct Stay Interviews Seasonally
  • Show Sensitivity to Anxious Colleagues


Ask Open-Ended Questions

Stay interviews are a proactive way for employers to gather information about employee satisfaction. One of the most important aspects of stay interviews is asking the right questions. Managers should avoid asking yes or no questions and focus on asking questions that employees can explain in further detail. After all, the focus of stay interviews should be on gaining insight. Questions like “What is your favorite and least favorite thing about working here?” are more informational than a closed-ended question like “Are you satisfied with your job?”. Make sure the interviews are conversational in nature so the employee feels comfortable expressing their true opinions. The answers will help HR gain valuable insight on how to retain employees.

Jeffrey Pitrak, Transient Specialists


Include Stay Interviews in Onboarding

The top-notch practice is to include stay interviews in onboarding. You can schedule 30-, 60-, and 90-day stay interviews as a leading part of an employee’s onboarding program. Such a core organized approach offers pivot points and insights during the vital time of an employee’s time at a new company.

These are highly effective when the hiring manager facilitates the stay interviews because this results in candid and trusting conversation. Also, you can know the key players who you want to retain. But you have to make sure they aren’t the sole ones you conduct stay interviews with.

Caroline Lee, CocoSign


Allow Employee To Start The Conversation

It’s best to start with a very open ended question of the employee and let them speak. Something along the lines of, “How is everything going?” works well. Don’t try to lead the employee, but instead let them guide the conversation to get to the heart of what’s really going well (or not) for them.

Ed Stevens, Preciate


Listen and be Sincere

Stay interviews can be a powerful motivator and increase employee engagement. It demonstrates that the leader cares about the employee’s job, career, skill development, opinion and engagement. An employee will instantly recognize a leader who is insincere and not actively listening, with the primary goal of “checking the box”. In these situations, the Stay Interview can do more harm than good. Be present, focused, and curious in the meeting.

Scott Baker, Stage 3 Leadership


Focus On Emotional Benefits of Staying

If you really value an employee and believe that they are a long term asset, then focus on the emotional benefits of staying with your company. Of course, you should outbid the competition. But also understand that people often leave for reasons other than money. They may feel stagnant, burnt out, or undervalued. Try to get to the crux of their emotional state, and then offer ways to address those issues. If someone feels stagnant, then give them a path towards career growth. If they’re burnt out or feel undervalued, then give them more time off and career counseling. Just remember that for this to work, your goals must be aligned. If your only interest is to keep your company afloat, then you’ll be lucky if they stay a few more months. But if you have a genuine interest in helping your worker in their pursuit of happiness and success, then you may find a way to keep them with you for the long term.

Dennis Consorte, Snackable Solutions


Conduct Stay Interviews Seasonally

Stay interviews ensure that the company is keeping workers satisfied and connected. As the workplace evolves, so do employee’s needs. They’ll consider leaving their role for a new opportunity with a solid living wage and employee benefits, such as student loan repayment.

These interviews should be conducted seasonally to align with ever-changing business models. Hold meetings virtually, not in person which isn’t as effective, so managers have the option to record the meeting and review notes later on. Questions such as “How can I best support you?” can connect leaders with their team members in a way that shows they care about their staff and their future ahead. Not only do these interviews give the opportunity for managers to connect with their team, but also encourages business growth for the future.

Natália Sadowski, Nourishing Biologicals


Show Sensitivity to Anxious Colleagues

If using an interview guide to ensure consistency from person to person, don’t be afraid to ask questions out of order. Some people are extremely anxious in an interview, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to stay in your company or pursue internal opportunities.

For instance, if the team member initially responds well as you discuss their role and experience, then starts to trip over their words showing signs of heightened nervousness, it’s okay to switch things up. Perhaps you come back to a question, share part of your own experience, or go off-script with a question about their observations, goals, and hobbies to lighten the mood. Interviewing for a job we already hold can be overwhelming, so when we keep the human factor in mind, we can make the right connections with our team by asking questions compassionately.

Benjamin Meskin, Cabrella



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