stay interview

Mastering Stay Interviews: With 10+ Questions And Best Practices

Everyone knows that stay interviews are essential when it comes to the decision-making process of hiring new employees. But what exactly is a stay interview, and why do they matter? In this blog post, we’ll be exploring all of these questions in detail and sharing tips on how to make the most out of stay interviews. We’ll also provide a list of questions you can use during stay interviews to help you better understand the candidate’s suitability for the job. So read on and let us help you get the best from your stay interviews!

What is a stay interview?

Staying ahead of the curve is essential for any company, including keeping employees engaged and active. One way to do this is by conducting stay interviews – a great way to get to know someone better and assess their fit with your team. It’s also a great opportunity to ask questions about the person’s experience, skills, and traits. The goal is to understand what makes your best employees stick with you. In analogy, you also understand the potential causes for leaving for your team members.

In the run for hiring the best talent, managers turn a blind eye to their existing pool of employees. Stay interviews are a great practice to gather insights from your team and can become a part of your retention and engagement strategy when used effectively. Typically, the stay interview is a casual conversation between a manager and an employee, where they discuss things related to work and the workplace. It can cover all the aspects, from good to bad and everything in between.

Why do stay interviews matter?

Stay interviews matter because they engage your team. Managers and leaders need to focus on their teams before they start hunting for more people to join. Stay interviews are important for a few reasons –

  • Retention: They add to the retention and engagement strategy. Regular discussions with managers about what the employees like or not liking in the workplace will help cultivate a sense of security at work.
  • Relationship building: Similarly, stay interviews help in building a relationship with your team. Through these conversations, you can help them create an optimal experience at work, based on which managers can establish mutual trust.
  • Feedback: These conversations are the source of valuable feedback from employees. Based on these reflections, you can change your people management strategy to achieve better results.
  • Build employer equity: Stay interviews help you identify features that managers can develop into components of your brand equity. These elements put you forward as a great potential employer and help you attract better candidates.
  • Identify weaknesses: On the flip side, stay interviews will help you identify your weaknesses too. With these insights, you can work can issues that can cause attrition if allowed to fester unchecked in your team.
  • All in all, it helps you retain employees in the longer run. It is especially crucial in the wave of great resignation and the tumultuous external environment that organizations are increasingly facing.

10 best questions for stay interviews in 2022

Stay interviews are an important part of the employee lifecycle. They bring immense value to the team and the managers. Here are some questions that you should use in stay interviews and why –

  • What motivates you to show up every day?
This question does not have any particular right or wrong answer. But, it will help you see the best things about the workplace according to the employees. It can be the great team they work with or the opportunity to work on new projects before anyone else. You might identify some great features of your organization that are attractive to potential hires by going through many answers.

  • Do you feel some of your talents are not being used in your role?
The answer to this question will help you understand how you can make your employee’s role more enriching. If the scope of the role is limited, the employee might feel that they can do more with their skills at another place. This will help you identify opportunities for their job growth within your team. Moreover, you can also select candidates for advanced training and upskilling if their skills are not sufficiently developed for an active role.

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  • What changes can I (the manager) make?
Many of the issues of the employees can be resolved directly by their manager. This question presents a great opportunity to discuss any bottleneck both parties face and reach a middle ground on the subject. Encourage the employees to point out things that can improve their experience at work. For instance, it could be a more liberal work-from-home policy or lesser micromanagement.

  • Is there something that will make your job more satisfactory?
Again, this question is similar to the previous one. But here, the scope is wider. Job satisfaction could run low for many reasons, ranging from a dull environment to a lack of opportunities. This question will help you identify areas that need work to increase your team’s productivity.

  • How would you describe the company’s culture? 
Your company’s culture is a unique attribute. It can become the identifying feature of your team. Hence, you need to understand how employees perceive the team’s culture. You can develop a general understanding by analyzing the answers of multiple employees. Afterward, you can compare these observations with your defined vision and check how well they align.

  • What would be your reason for leaving?
The reason for leaving can come from both inside and outside the team. It can be several internal factors, such as – hostile culture, limited learning opportunities, inability to see growth in career, etc. Or the reason can be entirely external, like an amazing opportunity with better pay, moving to a different country, etc. You can take note of resolving the internal reasons to secure their loyalty.

  • How good are the support and resources provided for working? 
This question will give you a direct idea of some areas to improve. It will also highlight the pros of working in your team. Support can encompass resources needed for the job as well as emotional and social needs. Many jobs can turn unsatisfactory in the absence of proper support. The need for logistical support and training will be evident here, and you can work accordingly.

  • Which part of work would you prefer to avoid? Why?
It will help you identify the bad parts of your team’s work. You can identify some areas in which many people do not like working. You can cut these parts, automate them, or distribute them better across the team.

  • Do you feel you get enough opportunities to develop professionally?
It is not a hidden fact that employees seek professional development. If they feel that their career growth is stagnating in their current role, they are more likely to switch to something more exciting and valuable. This answer will help you understand where the employees want to move next on their career path.

  • Would you recommend the company to others? Why?
The simple answer to this question will show what the employees like the most about the team. It will also highlight factors that are great not solely to the employee but to others as well. You can gather points that enhance your reputation as an employer in this answer.

stay interview

Tips for conducting stay interviews effectively

Always arrive prepared for the interview

Be clear about what you want from the conversation, and be willing to share your expectations. It will help in developing a mutually beneficial relationship with employees. You can shortlist a few relevant questions and prepare a rough structure for the interview.

Be mindful of body language

Your posture, facial expressions, and breathing all reflect how engaged you are in the conversation. Make sure your presence is positive and enthusiastic about creating an atmosphere of trustworthiness and openness between both parties.

Keep the conversation chill

Do not begin the conversation with a serious question. Instead, start by explaining your intent and build on the answers provided by the employee.

Gather a summary

You might spot trends and similarities in their answers when conducting interviews with several people. These factors carry a major impact, and you need to be aware of them.

Listen and act

Listen to the feedback provided by employees carefully. Take note of concerns and attempt to resolve them after careful analysis. You can ask further questions to get a more in-depth answer. Asking about issues will be a meaningful exercise only when you act on them.

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Check out the 10 examples of interview feedback for managers too!


Stay interviews are an important part of the employee’s life cycle, as they allow you to get to know employees better and create a better experience for them at work. By asking questions that probe beneath the surface, you can uncover any potential issues or concerns that may need to be addressed. Make sure to have a list of questions prepared, and interviewees will appreciate the opportunity to answer them in an open and candid way. Thanks for reading!

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How to prepare for a stay interview?

A stay interview is a good chance to set the boundaries and express your opinion on the team to the manager. Before the interview, take some time to think about your priorities and how well the team is helping you achieve your goals.

Who conducts a stay interview?

The stay interview is typically conducted by the team manager or the direct reporting manager as they are most likely to be aware and understanding of the employee’s concerns.

What is another name for a stay interview?

Stay interviews are also known as retention interviews as they try to understand the reasons that keep retained employees engaged and things they want to change.

What are the benefits of stay interviews?

The major benefit of a stay interview is that the manager can find challenges and issues felt by the team members directly. It also ensures that the relationship continues to be mutually trustworthy.

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