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Career Development Tips

Everything You Need to Know About a Stay Interview

Posted by Glassdoor Team

Career Advice Experts

Last Updated Jun 29, 2021

Guide Overview

What does a stay interview mean?What is the objective of a stay interview?How is a stay interview different from other types of interviews?Benefits of a stay interview for employeesHow to prepare for a stay interviewCommon stay interview questions

Guide Overview

Overview of stay interviews

A stay interview is a management tool designed to promote better employee retention. Stay interviews attempt to discover factors motivating an employee's stay in a company and what can make them leave. With a stay interview, managers can detect employee dissatisfaction and remedy it in time. This removes the risk of employee resignation and keeps the workforce happy. How does a stay interview work and how is it any different from others? We will provide answers to how a stay interview work and how it differs from other types of interview.

What does a stay interview mean?

A stay interview helps employers understand why an employee continues to stay with the company. It helps management find out the things employees love about their job that make them continue to do it. The stay interview also finds out work-related factors that may influence the employee to take another job. In a stay interview, employees are asked structural questions surrounding job satisfaction. From the answers, the employer can formulate strategies to address concerns raised and increase worker retention.

What is the objective of a stay interview?

Stay interviews provide an opportunity for employers to gauge the satisfaction of workers and understand challenges they might be facing. They also give employees the chance to air misgivings and concerns about their job or the work environment. The overarching rationale for all stay interviews is to keep talent (employees) in the company. By noting concerns from employees and addressing them, managers make sure employees are satisfied with their jobs and have no immediate plans of leaving. Here are other reasons why managers conduct stay interviews:

Reduce employee turnover

The stay interview is designed to forestall issues that could cause a company’s top talents to resign. That’s why the stay interview asks questions surrounding work satisfaction. For instance, an employee shows signs of dissatisfaction with his job. The manager can discover the underlying reasons through a stay interview and make efforts to address them. Doing this prevents a situation where a high-performing worker leaves without notice. In today’s hyper-competitive market, no company can afford to lose its best people, especially when rivals are willing to hire them.

Decrease overall costs

Employee retention showing up as a key goal for many top companies because the cost of hiring top talent is expensive. Company executives have to spend thousands of dollars on placing job advertisements and paying recruiters. During this period, the company is losing money because it has a lower workforce, which affects productivity and profits. Thus, stay interviews are necessary to limit the rate of employee exits from the company. Reduced worker exits save the company money it would spend on hiring and training new staff.

Improve corporate image

Conducting stay interviews shows that a company is interested in the welfare and satisfaction of its employees. More so, addressing concerns raised in those interviews will inspire positive sentiment among workers. In an age where employees can leave anonymous reviews of employers, companies must make efforts to create a good image. This starts with keeping employees happy and satisfied with their jobs.

How is a stay interview different from other types of interviews?

A stay interview is different from other interviews conducted in the workplace. For example, it differs from a job interview, where the employer wants to know more about an employee. The stay interview is also different from an exit interview, although it’s easy to confuse both of them. When an employee tenders their resignation, the HR person may hold an “exit interview” to find out reasons for their decision. Thus, the exit interview is a means of obtaining feedback from a departing employee. Companies conduct exit interviews because they believe the soon-to-be ex-employee can provide constructive criticism to prevent further loss of employees.

However, an exit interview is unhelpful because the company will still lose the employee anyway. Thus, the exit interview does little to decrease employee turnover. In comparison, the stay interview works to find areas of employee dissatisfaction in advance. That way, the organization can address complaints and keep employees happy at the company.

The stay interview is not a performance review session. In fact, it is advisable to leave out matters relating to performance when holding a stay interview. A stay interview should focus on what the company can do for employees to raise their satisfaction and engagement. As a manager, you can have a separate interview-cum-meeting with employees to discuss job performance and related issues. If at all you must discuss performance, it must not be the center of discussion.

Benefits of a stay interview for employees

Just as stay interviews are beneficial for companies, they are helpful to employees as well. Here are some benefits of stay interview for workers:

Provides an avenue to air your views

Do you feel that certain aspects of the company culture should change? Then the stay interview is your best chance to let your employer know. This could be anything from a toxic work environment to unbecoming behavior from another employee. A stay interview allows you to provide objective feedback to improve your workplace.

Enhances workplace environment

The company leadership may be out of touch with daily happenings and remain unaware of problems in the workplace environment. Through the stay interview, you can expose such problems and contribute to the improvement in working conditions.

Promotes job satisfaction

If you are facing a challenge that makes staying at your job hard, tell the employer during your stay interview. Your employer can make efforts to address those challenges to make doing your job easier. That way, your job satisfaction and happiness will increase.

How to prepare for a stay interview

Both employers (or whoever carries out the interview on behalf of the employer) and employees must prepare adequately for stay interviews. Here are tips to help you prepare for a stay interview:

For employers

Here are tips to help employers prepare for stay interviews:

Ensure there is trust

The best people to conduct a stay interview are the human resources manager or the employee’s supervisor or manager. The choice depends on the type of work environment. In some companies, managers have close relationships with employees. However, sometimes, an employee may prefer an HR person because they don’t trust their manager.

Make it interactive

The standard stay interview is a structured discussion where the interviewer asks questions for around 20 minutes (or longer). A stay interview should be more of an interactive discussion than a staid interview. Interviewers must make employees feel comfortable enough to reveal their true feelings.

Inform the employee in advance

It is advisable to notify employees before the stay interview, so they know how to prepare. In most companies, stay interviews are reserved for top performers who may have an incentive to leave the company. During the interview itself, interviewers must be professional and listen intently to employee statements. Taking notes may help record particular statements, which will help when the employer wants to implement changes.

For Employees

Here are stay interview tips for employees:

Be honest

The most important thing in a stay interview is honesty. Lying on a stay Interview will only cause problems for you down the line. Say your manager is a bully, but you keep this from the stay interviewer for fear of retaliation. You’ll likely endure the bullying until it becomes unbearable, forcing you to resign. However, if you report your manager’s inappropriate behavior, management would likely remedy the situation. Lying on a stay interview is self-sabotaging.

Prepare adequately

You need to ask yourself the following questions before the stay interview:

  • Am I happy with my job?
  • Is my job fulfilling or not, and why?
  • What things about my work environment would I want to see change?
  • What do I want as an employee?

Developing well-reasoned answers to those questions will help you prepare better for your stay interview. It will put you in a better position to answer questions during the interview. However, you must consider the trust factor when agreeing to a stay interview. If the company has a history of targeting employees who share strong opinions, then giving generic answers may be better. That way, you don’t jeopardize your role at the company.

Common stay interview questions

Here is a list of questions that feature on most stay interview questionnaires. Employers can use this for inspiration in preparing their interview questions. Employees can also use it to prepare for the stay interview.

  • What do you like the most about your job?
  • Have you thought about finding another job recently, and why?
  • What accomplishments on this job have given you the most satisfaction?
  • What would you change about your current work structure?
  • What motivates you to continue working for this company?
  • What talents are not properly utilized in your current role?
  • What might make you switch to another company?
  • Do you think your efforts at work get enough recognition?
  • What would increase your satisfaction at this job?
  • What do you look forward to when you come to work?

A stay interview provides an employer and employee to provide feedback that will improve job satisfaction efficiency. Use this guide to learn how to prepare for stay interviews, whether you are the interviewer or the interviewed.

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