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Employer Resources Interview Tips

Improve new hire retention with “stay interviews”

Interviewing an employee

Hiring can be a long and costly process, so once you’ve hired someone for a position you don’t want to do it again anytime soon. Your number one goal should be to make sure your team members are happy, successful, and eager to stay for years to come.

One of the best ways to ensure great people stay with your organization is to identify employee concerns before they become a problem. Try using a “stay interview” to learn how your new hire is doing and what you can do to make it better.

A stay interview is similar to an exit interview, but rather than trying to find out what went wrong after it’s too late, it allows you to get feedback early on in the relationship. When you should conduct the first stay interview will vary by organization and job role, but it’s a good practice to conduct a stay interview as soon as your new hire has had a chance to settle in. This will help ensure your new hire’s needs are being met right from the start. It may even provide you with new insights that can improve the overall work environment for all team members.

Questions to ask in a stay interview

Stay interview questions should help you better understand how engaged and successful your new hire is feeling in their new position. Here are a few sample questions to get you started.

  • On a scale of 1-10, how happy are you with your job?
  • What makes for a great day at work?
  • Does the job described to you before you started match with what you have experienced?
  • Do you have a clear understanding of the company’s goals and how your contribution fits into those goals?
  • Do you get help when you need it?
  • Do you have everything you need to do your job well?
  • Do you feel that your workload is manageable?
  • How do you feel about your job performance so far?
  • What has been your proudest moment/accomplishment recently?
  • Do you get helpful feedback on your work?
  • What is the most challenging part of your role?
  • How do you feel about your relationship with your team members?
  • If you could wave a wand and change something here, what would it be?
  • What could we do to create a better work experience for you?
  • What else would you like to share about your experience or performance so far?

Improve new hire retention with stay interviews

Keep it positive and constructive

Getting candid feedback from a new hire isn’t always easy. Be sure to keep things positive and listen more than you speak. This will help foster a safe environment that will encourage them to open up. It’s important to avoid becoming defensive. As a leader, it may not always be easy to hear negative responses, and conversations can be difficult when a team member shares a concern that can’t be resolved quickly or easily.

If a concern is expressed that can’t be addressed immediately, reassure your new hire that you’ll look into and get back to them. Then be sure to follow-up as promised. You may not be able to resolve every concern, but your new hire will appreciate your efforts on their behalf and be more willing to open up about other concerns in the future.

The long-term benefits of stay interviews

Stay interviews aren’t just for new hires. It’s a good practice to conduct follow-up stay interviews about every six months to help ensure your employees are happy with their work and the environment. When you regularly ask team members to share honest feedback, they’ll know you’re listening and value their opinion.

Regular stay interviews can help save high performers who are at risk of leaving and uncover opportunities for improvement that will benefit everyone. Of course, some employees may still eventually choose to pursue a job with different hours, higher pay, or a quicker commute. But when it finally comes time for that exit interview, you’ll be confident you’ve offered the best experience possible.


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About the author

Gerry Carpenter

Gerry Carpenter

Gerry Carpenter is the managing editor for CHG Healthcare. He is a 20-year marketing veteran who loves to write, edit, and play with words. He enjoys visiting new places, speaks fluent French, and is slowly learning Portuguese and Japanese.

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