exit and retention questions

Why conduct exit and retention interviews?

Properly conducted Exit and Retention Interviews can be extremely beneficial for any organisation. They help to collect important information regarding the turnover and retention of employees.

What can you do with exit and retention information?

The outcome will help to shape future decisions across all areas of your business. These include: selection, training and employee engagement and satisfaction.

Even though often gathered under the same title, exit and retention interviews differ slightly, however work towards the same goal of attempting to rectify any problems or to improve and make changes within an organisation.

Download our e-book for more tips on conducting the best retention interviews!

The difference between an exit interview and a retention interview

From one perspective Exit Interviews are designed to focus on the exiting employee, try and think of it more like environmental scanning in HR; to provide feedback on various elements about the organisation.

A Retention Interview would be a formal discussion between the employer/HR and the exiting employee. This discussion would mainly focus on retaining an employee who has resigned or is in the mind to. This could include offering additional pay package, perks etc…

A detailed look at exit and retention interviews:

Exit Interviews

Retention Interviews

To identify what your organisation is doing wellHelp to retain talent who are either in training and starting with the organisation or existing members who may be considering leaving
Pinpoint areas where you can improve in your organisationAssists employees to understand how they can contribute to the business and their importance and role
Confirm the skill sets, experience, and attributes needed for the jobMaintains performance and productivity and creates stimulation for key employees
Capture useful knowledge, contacts, tips, etc. from the exiting employeeIncrease company and employee morale
Understand why the employee is leaving and to say good-bye on good termsLowers turnover to create a Return on Investment (ROI)

Getting the most out of your exit and retention interviews

To gain the most out of your exit and retention interviews, timing is everything. Soon after an employee resigns, ideally, Exit Interviews should be conducted.

New employees are more likely to remain with the business, if Retention Interviews are completed during training time. Or, as soon as an existing employee expresses signs of leaving.

Would you like to know what makes your employees more likely to stay at your business, or why they may feel inclined to leave?
Click here to find out what Cohesion can do for you.




Do you agree with recent discussions that the recruitment industry is “wasting time and money” with uninformative job adverts for candidates?

As a HR professional  – when it comes to attracting the right candidates, you know what’s important. However, are your job adverts working hard enough for you?

A report by the CIPD has discovered that 2 in 5 job adverts did not clarify details about the position such as full time or part time or temporary or permanent, whilst 21% found that the job advert suggested the role involved self-employment.

With unclear information being relayed to job seekers empty positions are less likely to be filled with the top candidates many HR professionals are searching for – having a negative effect for both parties.

Despite changes to application processes in recent years, the good old-fashioned approach to job adverting is still playing a big part in your candidate acquisition strategy. So what’s the show stopping secrets when it comes to job ads you may ask?  Follow our 5 easy steps to be in the know:

  1. Less is more

You have about 400 words to create an impact, which will hopefully result in an action and application from job seekers. Adverts often have word limits for a reason – they aren’t meant to be essays; instead should include relevant information to create an impact and desire, which in turn will create a high return of quality applications.

Bullet points are successful in allowing candidates to spot different information quickly, whilst also adding a good format to your adverts. Once you have a good structure – stick to it. There is no harm using the same arrangement over and over again. In fact this will add to your employer branding by showing there is consistency and attention to detail.

  1. Curiosity killed the cat – or did it?

There are thousands of job adverts out there, all trying to appeal to the best candidates. What you need to try and achieve is to give enough detail to appear attractive, however still keep the candidate engaged by allowing them to want more information. Ensuring basic information is correct and detailed will give a sense of security for candidates. A well-structured, thought out job advert will give a good reflection of your organisation as a whole. Remember, this is the first point of contact your candidates will have with the recruitment process and without sounding too cliché “start as you mean to go on…”

  1. Tone it down – No chance!

Finding the right fit is always a key factor for HR managers as this helps to ensure higher retention rates of candidates. Therefore your writing style is key to allow the personality of the company and culture to shine through in the job advert and will give candidates an idea if they are suited or not from day one. Take some time to create a fitting tone to your adverts and ask fellow employees if they were applying again if it would attract them.

  1. Share responsibly

Where you post is nearly as important as what you post. You’ve spent all this time creating impressive content to engage candidates – make sure they can find it! Using your social media accounts – especially Linkedin is a great way of advertising your roles.

However, don’t overdo it – seeing a particular role advertised too much may give off a bad perception to candidates and could result in a decrease in applications. linkedin

  1. Timing is off the essence

Put yourself in the shoes of candidates. If you were going to start looking for a new job when’s better than a fresh start on Monday morning? You’d be right! Research has shown that posting a job advert at the beginning of the week has a better response rate compared to that of a Friday afternoon.

The later part of the week can be used to draft out the following weeks adverts – making good use of time management and in turn ensuring a good success rate!

So remember when it comes to writing a top job advert to be concise but detailed, broadcast widely but not too far and hit the nail on the head with timing – Hardly a lot to ask for really!


shortlisting candidates

Shortlisting Candidates – How To

High numbers of applications can cause hiring managers to make uninformed and incorrect decisions, which in turn can have a negative impact on staff morale and the overall recruitment process.

A number of clients approach us because they simply can’t handle the sheer volume of applications they’re receiving. Many of them ask us:

    • How do I make time to screen candidates?
    • How do I ensure streamlined processes?
    • How do I find the right fit?
    • How can I make the shortlisting process easier and more effective?


Download our e-book for more tips on running a great recruitment campaign!

Here are our top tips on shortlisting candidates effectively and streamline volume recruitment:

1. Have a plan

How many candidates do you want to interview?
What time frames are you looking at?
When will the interviewer be available?
What resource do you have in place to be able to screen and assess effectively?

By answering these questions, you should be able to formulate a plan!

2. Build it and they will come- market your brand and the role

Never underestimate the value of the early stages of the process. You need to ensure that you’re reaching the right audience.

Think about the role you’re advertising in the same way a marketer would think about a product- think about your employer brand and consider your audience. What are you trying to sell? Who are you trying to sell it to?

This LinkedIn info graphic ‘The Modern Recruiter: Part Artist, Part Scientist’ gives a great example of how this works.

3. Technology

Do you use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS)? This should have a built in ‘culling process’ that allows you to eliminate the wrong kind of candidates early on in the process.

This should outline essential criteria and could be anything from ‘Do you have the right to live and work in the UK?’ to ‘Do you have a degree in Engineering?’ (This should all be relevant to the role of course!)

A good ATS means all of your applicants are in the same place and easy to screen and track. You will also be able to contact all of your contacts in bulk, via email or text message.

Ultimately, this kind of technology will not only reduce cost per hire and administration time- it will streamline the entire recruitment process and reduce time to hire.

assesment centre tips

4. Ask the right questions

Ensure that the questions on the application form reflect the essential criteria in the job description.

Have a bench marking system in place that allows you to score each section of the application, for example: qualifications, work experience and supporting statement.

This should allow you to eliminate unsuitable candidates from the process quickly.

5. Assessment Centre

Organisation is key at this stage. Candidates need to be prepped and prepared – this isn’t a time where you want to trip candidates up but help them play to their strengths so they can show their potential.

This can involve preparation calls – usually a week before the Assessment Centre, to inform the candidate what the day will entail; often including hits and tips.

For a time saving measurement conference calls can be used to talk to all the candidates at once – this also ensures the same information is relayed to each candidate.

6. The Offer

You should now have your preferred candidates in mind – making the offer should include details of the salary, job role and responsibilities.

This then initiates the on-boarding period and should focus on engagement with new candidates.

An established induction process will give confidence to the new employees that there is structure within your organisation – this is the time where expectations should be set and training takes place. Time spent on this stage can reap huge rewards further down the line.

7. Feedback

Candidate engagement is of the utmost importance. Do not forget that recruitment is largely candidate-led- you must impress them!

Whether successful or not, provide all candidates with feedback and update them on their progress, if you can give realistic time-frames around the process- even better!

Not only is this a great way of keeping candidates engaged, it means that they will rave about the service you’re providing and reflect very positively on your employer brand.

Are you thinking about running a recruitment campaign? Click here to find out how Cohesion can help




Written by Hannah Ratcliff, Marketing Executive


no shows at interview

‘How can I avoid no shows at interview?’–  is something clients ask me, usually before they start working with us at Cohesion. And with this, I wanted to share some simple yet effective tips that can prevent your time from being wasted.

As a HR professional your diary is full for the foreseeable future. You’re under pressure to maintain high levels of service delivery while reducing costs, and yet you still need to find time to interview for your next Support Worker intake.

Frontline recruitment is one of your biggest challenges, yet it always gets pushed down the priority list – because let’s face it; recruitment shouldn’t be a big part of your job, right?

Download our e-book for more tips on running the best recruitment campaign ever!

Recruitment is important – without the right staffing levels you can’t deliver a safe service, and you’re probably over-reliant on the use of agency staff which is eating away at your reducing budgets. So when you do find time to interview? The last thing you need is a wasted day of candidate’s failing to turn up.

1. Make the interview process simple

The assessment process needs to be purposeful and identify candidates who will thrive in your organisation. Challenging interviews are acceptable, but ensure the tools you use are relevant; pitched at the right level and appropriate for your audience.

If you’ve decided you want an assessment day format – don’t over complicate. In this setup, provide a company introduction to welcome candidates and relax them into the day, follow up with one or a maximum of two ability exercises, and round off with the interview.

If you’re keeping candidates for a longer period, be sure to offer refreshments, and a tour of your business if you can – see how they interact with others in your community and your team.

2. Engage with your candidates at every stage

Regular communication touch points from the date of application are vital. Recent CIPD research found that over 70% of candidates will decide whether to accept a job offer or not based on their recruitment journey with that company.

Get this wrong and you can wave goodbye to the star candidate who matches your company values and beamed with passion at interview.

A call to explain any unexpected delays, making full use of your ATS to update candidates via a personalised message, and sending a good luck text message before their interview are always a nice touch.

3. Explain the process and your expectations

If you’ve used the same interview format for some time, you’ll be confident that you know exactly what you want from the day ahead. Remember – candidates won’t share this knowledge.

Be sure to explain what can be expected from the interview, what they should research, and what type of questions you’ll be asking.

Don’t give too much away of course, but equally don’t leave candidates guessing or confused. Don’t forget to explain the steps that follow the interview to continue engagement and manage expectations.

no shows at interview

4. Ask candidates where else they are interviewing

This question may seem a tad brave, but it’s worth trying. If your candidate is interviewing for a competitor, you know they are serious about your sector.

By knowing what date their other interview is, you can ensure your interview date doesn’t cause you to miss out on a good candidate.

Ask them how much they want your position over another application – here you can judge their level of commitment and begin to build up a picture of a candidate’s motivations.

5. Have a contingency plan

Whilst here at Cohesion we’ve achieved great results with reducing no show rates for our clients, the reality is that there will always be candidates who don’t turn up for interview.

Don’t use a bad experience as a reason to overbook interview slots – chances are, everyone will turn up and a messy setup won’t give a good impression.

If you find yourself in this situation, why not spend some time talking to your staff about what they love about their job – this gives you plenty of ammunition for when you’re booking candidates for interview next time around.


Dave Beesley is a Client Relationship Manager at Cohesion who delivers our recruitment services to social and health care clients. If you can’t tell, interview no shows are a big ‘pet hate’ of Dave’s! Get in touch with him at dave.beesley@cohesionrecuitment.com or on 0121 713 8320.

So the question on everyone’s lips is – What’s involved in the “how to” of Assessment Centres?

Employers are continually under pressure to identify and attract the best talent for their organisation. With an ongoing war for talent, the candidate pool  is decreasing year on year, so it’s important that assessment centres are run effectively to produce the best results:

With our 6 easy tips you will be on your way to gaining a better understanding of Assessment Centres

1. Do you have an objective?

So you’re planning your assessment centre… but what do you actually want out of it? Acquiring high quality talent is a given. But you need to look deeper; spending time with your hiring managers is key, they know better than anyone about the role that needs to be filled and what qualities and values have worked for past recruits, or maybe some that have been lacking. Do you need a specialist to build your employer brand? Or someone that can manage your clients whilst winning new business?

Answering these questions will give you a better understanding of what activities will need to be held on the day.

2. Plan, Plan, Plan!

Assessment centres aren’t something you are going to be able to wing or think up a few days before. They require planning and dedication to ensure the day is a success. Not only for your organisation to reap the benefits of discovering top talent, but also for the candidates so they can see how great your employer brand is… you want to retain the best candidates, not lose them to your competitors. To attract the best you have to be the best.


“Save the date…” might be a popular terminology used when organising a wedding… but it’s equally important that Assessment Centres dates are cemented in advance. This ensures that candidates are well informed from the outset, whilst also guaranteeing that your assessors can attend as well.

This also helps you up your candidate engagement game. Ensure you send reminder emails, check in with them every now and then and, very importantly, give them a call before each stage of assessment in order to ensure they’re prepared.

3. Lots of room for activities!

So you’ve set the date, you know your objective… now you need to consider how you’ll get the best results.

Creating personal, bespoke assessment tools and criteria will mean better defined results than off the shelf tools, which aren’t specifically built for your requirements. We think it’s best to include a variety of activities that allows candidates to have the opportunity to showcase their full range of skills.

But remember, it’s important that the activities are built around your criteria and tailored to your requirements. There is no point asking your candidates do something that would not be required of them in the role.

Here is an example of a bespoke piece of material that we designed for Lafarge Tarmac, whilst recruiting their graduates…

4. You know the score!


Or do you? A simple ‘good’ or ‘bad’ isn’t going to cut it when evaluating candidates. You need a concise scoring system that will enable you to reflect and gain a clear understanding of who made the cut and who didn’t. Scoring matrixes are a great way to understand who’s hot and who’s not.

Briefing your assessors beforehand is vital- one assessor’s idea of an outstanding candidate might differ from that of another assessor. Giving a clear outline and examples of what is expected is necessary to keep a uniform recruitment process in place. As is using a mix of resource- utilising internal and external assessors will ensure that any decision made is not bias but well informed and fair.

5. Three, two, one …. Go!

A ‘welcome’ and introduction to the day is always a good start, as will including coffees and a lunch break. You should allow time for candidates, existing staff and assessors to socialise in a more relaxed environment. You will be able to assess how the day is running for the candidates, whilst allowing them to chat with existing graduates and meet the assessors.

A timetable and schedule of the day’s events is paramount. This will ensure the smooth running of the day by keeping the assessors and candidates informed of what’s coming next. Remember, this will most likely be a stressful and nerve-wracking experience for candidates, so allow them time for mental preparation, giving them plenty of time to think ahead will help relax a few worried heads.

6. Review, Evaluation and Feedback

This is usually a lengthy part of the process, but a vital one. How can you know what went well and what didn’t if you don’t have a review of the day?

If a certain part went well… great! Use it again. Maybe another area didn’t succeed- you need to discover why, so this mistake isn’t made in the future. Business is all about evolution and keeping up to date with the current trend; this should be reflected in your recruitment process.

Ensuring time is scheduled for assessors to come together and review the candidates at the end of the day will ensure accurate decisions are made whilst the information is still fresh in their mind. This will also reduce your time to hire- ensuring decisions are made promptly will mean you are able to inform candidates of your decision.

Providing candidates with feedback surveys is another great way of finding out how useful or challenging they found different parts of the day. This will help you to improve the following year’s selection process, whilst preserving your employer brand and proposition.

Are you planning an Assessment Centre soon? Do you know where to start?

Click here to find out more about what we can do to help with the smooth delivery of your assessment centre.

Written by Josephine Lester, Marketing Executive


Over the past few weeks, we’ve spoken to PhD student, John Barratt, about what makes the study so exciting, why it’s important to the sector and what it means to him personally.

This week we asked him why individuals working in the Social Care industry should be excited by the study and what it means for them.

“There are various reasons why individuals within the social care industry should be excited about this research. These reasons will differ from person to person, depending on what their respective role within the sector is.

The main reason to be excited is that this genuinely is ground-breaking research. This research will identify who the right kind of candidates are, what aspects to assess current workers on, and what aspects lead to long tenure. It will look to enhance the recruitment and selection process in care far beyond what is currently available.


This research also has the potential to be a huge cost-saving tool for providers. It will do this by addressing the following:

• Pin-pointing the key factors and traits of prospective candidates
• Highlighting the best assessment strategies
• Providing a robust way of ensuring that workers are being effective

Moreover, it will reveal which workers are not performing as desired and thus provides the opportunity to implement training and development plans to get workers back on track. With these points in mind, it’s clear that this study has the potential to enhance care quality by ensuring the workforce is operating at the right level.

For the provider this research will finally provide them with a tool to assess worker performance. This tool will be a robust and thoroughly tested tool, and the psychometric properties will be sound. Providers will be able to use this reliably to assess worker performance to ascertain if they are performing to the level that is desired.

This research will identify the most effective methods for assessing worker performance as well as what attributes, skills, competencies and traits to look for in candidates. This enhances the selection process and heightens the likelihood of selecting a candidate who will produce high quality performance outcomes.

In terms of recruiting care workers, the study will reveal exactly what attributes lead to effective performance. This may even provide a basis from which a training and development plan can be developed to help employees improve on the areas they are less adept in. Moreover it will provide them with clear performance outcome dimensions that they will be assessed on.

This is hugely beneficial because it will actually enable workers to be more effective. This lets them know what they need to do in order to be effective. There are no hidden aspects or tricks, just a clear path to produce high quality performance outcomes. Therefore, there is potential to enhance the experience and conditions of the workforce.”

For more exciting updates from John, click here.

In the meantime, why not take a look at some of our free Social Care ebooks which further explore the skills shortage, the future of the sector and values-based recruitment.

Stay tuned for more exciting updates!


Written by John Barratt, PhD student at Aston University