stay interview questions

Your Stay Interview questions are extremely important. But, with so many possible options available – where do you get started?

It’s important to get your Stay Interview questions right. Getting it wrong can mean that you invest your time, energy and resources into asking the wrong questions.

This can lead to poor retention data. If your data doesn’t tell you anything about why your employees stay – it’s a wasted opportunity.

At first, you will invest your time, energy and resources into figuring out which questions are most beneficial to your company. As a result, your data may be skewed for a short period of time. But, this investment will enable you to narrow down your questions to those which are most effective. It’s important to remember that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ when it comes to the right questions to ask.

Download our e-book for more great tips on stay interviews and how they could help your business

Here at some tips to consider, when forming your set of perfect questions:

1. What do you want to do with the stay-interview data after?

First and foremost, this is a battle between qualitative and quantitative data.

Do you want to collate all of the data into a graph at the end? Then consider using questions that translate into quantitative data.

Do you want to file a report on all of the reasons why your employees leave or stay? If so, open and probing questions will deliver more qualitative data.

In our experience, a mix of both may be the best option. Qualitative data can take a long time to analyse. Our clients tell us that, if there is one thing they are guilty of, it’s not taking the time to properly analyse the results.

Similarly, too much quantitative data can generate simplistic evidence – it won’t explain everything in as much depth as may be beneficial.

retention interviews

2. Your company values

You would like to think, considering this individual has a job at your company, that they are familiar with your company values.

Better yet – you would like to think that, whilst they are at work, they live and breathe your company values.

Many companies have a set of core values. Consider incorporating your company values into yourStay Interview questions.

Try basing some of the questions entirely around your core values. This will, indirectly, allow you to get a feel as to how engaged the employee is.

retention interviews

3. Avoid questions that contribute to the ‘Company Ego’

Having reviewed hundreds of Stay Interviews, we know that questions such as “Why are we the best company to work for?” are, without a shadow of a doubt, to be avoided. However, they still crop up time and time again. You don’t want to give the impression to the employee that the ‘Company Ego’ is more important to you – especially not in their Retention Interview.

Asking these sorts of questions generates extremely biased data and feedback – meaning that it’s completely invaluable to you. If you ask questions with the obvious answer, don’t be surprised if the majority of people tell you about how amazing your company is.

Questions that go for an extra level of depth can be much more beneficial. Try one of our favourites – “If you were approached by an external recruiter about a new role elsewhere, what reasons would you give them for wanting to stay here?”

This type of situational question is more real-life. Your new hire will have time to reflect. This should allow you to elicit much better evidence about the new-starter experience.

The Stay Interview questions are just one piece of the puzzle – it must be right, but the questions must also align with how and when you conduct the interviews.

Are you finding you have high turnover and want to find out why your staff might be leaving? Click here to find out how Cohesion can help you. 

Conducting Retention interviews is an integral part of your employee experience

Conducting Retention interviews is an integral part of your employee experience

Conducting Retention Interviews is a necessary part of your employee experience. Retention data is important – our clients tell us that, without clear data, they cannot make reliable decisions on which HR initiatives are likely to have the most positive impact on why employees choose to stay.

Employee benefits; such as better pay, better training, and a better benefits package – all come at a cost to your company. So, it makes sense that clear and robust retention data helps HR teams to pinpoint which initiatives will have the greatest impact. Conducting Retention Interviews in the way most suited to your company is massively important.

Choosing how to generate good retention data is key – get it wrong, and you’re unlikely to find out any more than you already know. But, how do you go about choosing the right tool?

Your preferred option should satisfy two needs – high response rate, and honest feedback.

So, what are your options?

  • Face-to-face

Conducting Retention Interviews face-to-face would, arguably, generate the highest response rate. Think about it – you can’t ignore your line manager, or your HR team, if they’re right in front you, can you?

This approach might, however, have a detrimental effect in terms of honest feedback – new-starters are less likely to point out the negatives with their Manager, especially if they have an issue which is directly related to their Manager. Consequently, conducting Retention Interviews face-to-face may be limited in delivering honest feedback.

Dependent on the size of your company, and staff turnover levels, face-to-face methods can put a lot of pressure on your HR or Operational resources. If you are unsure on whether you will be able to commit the resource to manage this internally, face-to-face might not produce the right outcomes.

  • Telephone

Another option is to conduct Retention Interviews over the telephone.

Arguably, telephone interviews may produce a similar amount of unreliable feedback as face-to-face interviews. However, this can be mitigated by addressing the lack of anonymity. You can do this by having them carried out by someone other than their immediate line manager.

Again, if the manager or HR team cannot commit to consistently conducting these interviews, the reliability of your data will suffer. The amount of people that you can speak to is directly related to response levels. In our experience, conducting telephone interviews outside of working hours is an effective way of driving the response rate upwards.

If you’re not convinced you can commit resources to constant telephone interviews, then your data is going to be just as unreliable. Another option, however, could be to collaborate with an outsourced provider. This will guarantee anonymity for the new-starter, improving the quality of the data whilst also gaining more of it – allowing your HR teams to make more reliable decisions. But, this option comes at a cost. So, be clear about your likely Return on Investment, before you invest.

  • Online/email

A third option would be asking your new-starters to conduct the Retention Interview via email/online. The response for this approach, as you may expect, can be considerably lower than the other two. Think about it – how easy is it to ignore an email?

However, much like the telephone interview, it can offer some form of anonymity. Therefore, this approach may generate good levels of honest feedback.

Your internal HR team, by all likelihood, will face a limited impact once you’re all set up.

Whilst it’s important to approach your audience in the right way – the best Retention Interviews will align with 3 components; the way you approach them; when you approach them, and; the questions that you ask.

From the point-of-view of an outsourced provider, we’ve tried and tested all three of these methods. Telephone Retention Interviews achieved by far the greatest level of response (achieving over an 80% average across our client base). They also produce a lot of actionable and honest feedback. This is why we don’t do it any other way!

How will you approach your employees? We’d love to hear in our comments below!

Conducting Retention Interviews

Writing Good Job Adverts to attract talent

Writing good job adverts is an integral part the recruitment process

Writing good job adverts can contribute to the success of your company, by attracting talented employees. With that being said – are you writing good job adverts?

Attracting the right applicants is a fundamental part of the recruitment process. Because of this, writing good job adverts is a skill in itself.

You may not have the luxury of hiring a great copywriter – so, we’ve listed our top tips for writing the best job adverts:

1. Find the right audience

It’s one thing to write a good job advert – but another to make sure that it’s reaching the right candidates. Try and put yourself in their shoes. This will allow you to determine the best place to reach them.

Creating an ideal candidate persona may seem far-fetched. However, doing so helps to better position your job posting to give you the best chance at reaching the right talent.

2. The Human Factor

A successful job advert is not one which receives the most applications – it’s the one which attracts the right type of candidate for the role.

Consider this: how would you describe the role to a friend? Let the candidate know what’s in it for them! Boring language and basic formats are the biggest no-no’s when it comes to adverts – use your personality to make it shine.

Adapting your tone or style of writing can make a huge difference in encouraging your candidates to apply. Therefore, you should check out what other adverts are saying – as a means of comparison.

3. “This fits just right,” said Goldilocks

Not too long, not too short. The length of your job advert should sit in the ‘Goldilocks Zone’, as well as helping them decide if they fit the role.

Reading over 1,000 words is more than enough to deter a candidate. Break up the content – use bullet points and short, punchy paragraphs to get straight to the point. Maybe even include a short video, so it’s not all text?

4. Paint a picture of what success looks like!

Tell the candidate what they can expect to achieve within the first 6 months. What skills will they pick up? What will they be able to do that they couldn’t do before? Candidates will want to know how the job is going to help them progress – in both a personal, and a professional capacity.

As well as highlighting the things that they will learn – give them a taste of the challenges they might face. You’d like to think they’ll know that the job won’t be easy. But, outlining some of the main things that they will have to deal with will help put this into perspective.

Painting a picture of what success looks like gives potential applicants the opportunity to understand whether or not the role is for them. Align their objectives with what they can achieve by working for you. This helps them to re-evaluate if they really want to join your business for the right reasons. Furthermore, it helps to filter out unsuitable candidates before you even begin the recruitment process.

5. Encourage your readers to apply

Good job adverts help a reader to determine if they would like to apply. Drive interested job seekers to the application process by providing clear instructions, links and a call to action.

A job ad is your opportunity to leave a lasting impression of your company. Hone in on why joining your company is in the candidates’ best interests. Taking our top tips into account will get you well on the way to writing good job adverts – helping you to start attracting great, new talent today.

7 Steps to the best Recruitment Campaign ever

So, you’ve made hires for your apprenticeship programme. The candidates which have made the cut will now be working at your company. How can you make sure they stay?

Most likely to be the first role the apprentice has been in – they will have had little to no experience of working in business. With the increase in students opting for the apprenticeship route, and with more companies offering programmes, it’s important to understand that attraction is only half the battle.

Here are our top tips to help you retain your apprentices throughout the course of their apprenticeship programme.


A key way to make sure that your apprentices want to stay is to deliver.

Many organisations make the mistake of overpromising and under-delivering – whether this is for apprentices, experienced hires or graduates – so, if you cannot guarantee an opportunity, then you shouldn’t use it as a way to draw in talent.

If the apprentice programme does not match up to what you have promised, you will end up with demotivated or even frustrated trainees who will start searching for new opportunities elsewhere.


Whilst apprentices are a great source of future talent , it is highly important to create a nurturing work environment for them to grow and develop in. Since they have no experience of working previously, it is up to you to create an open flow of communication and be responsive.

What we suggest is designing a personal development plan and having regular catch-ups. This allows opportunity for the trainee to raise any issues or concerns and provide a chance for you to tackle the problem with an achievable solution.


With competition for apprentices growing every year, it is important to understand how your organisation stands out from competitors. Do not be afraid to find out why your apprentices joined you in the first place. Why?

Understanding why gives you the knowledge of what it is you need to do to make sure the passion they initially had does not burn out. In addition to this, regularly measuring the success of your scheme against competition should drive your business to be more efficient.


Often overlooked, a vital reason as to why candidates opt for the apprenticeship route initially is the promise of progression. The potential to be at a certain status or earning a certain salary by a certain age is incredibly attractive for apprentices. Whilst they understand the importance of hard-work, apprentices are the self-starters, ambitious and keen to start learning and earning on the job. This should not stop once they complete their programme.

Near the end of their programme, it has proven to be really useful and effective to identify the successes and drawbacks of the scheme with each apprentice, but also to create a long-term plan for their progression. This actively demonstrates the value of their role, and how you would like to assist them in developing the skills and attributes needed to take their career to the next level.

There we have it – our top tips for retaining your apprentices. Underlying all the key elements of creating a successful apprenticeship programme is to understand their motivations to work and what they want to achieve. By doing so, you can create a successful formula to ensure that, when you invest in apprentices as future talent, you will be able to retain them for many more years to come.

Please contact us through our website if you would like to know more!

With the current migrant crisis sweeping the nation, there is a large speculation on the expected intake for the UK, with figures rising to 20,000. But what does the influx in migrants really mean for the UK job sector and recruitment within the next few years?

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) stated a poll of more than 1,000 British businesses were making a “rational decision” to hire foreign labour. This is due to findings that businesses who employ workers from the European Union were more likely to see their business growing within 2 years.

According to the CIPD, the most common reasons for hiring migrant workers have been stated as:

  • Better job specific or practical skills (56%
  • Work ethic (34%)
  • Better prepared for work (26%)
  • More work experience (25%)
  • Better qualifications (23%)

As well as the contributing factors indicated, HR professionals have also declared that foreign workers stay in jobs longer than UK workers. With 33% of UK employees job hoping or moving roles more and more frequently for different factors such as benefits, higher salary and new opportunities. Therefore, increasing the intake of migrants into the workforce means that not only stability is added but also a ‘long stay’ culture, which other employees can follow.

Culture Ethnicity Diversity Nation People Concept

Many businesses have also stressed that migrant’s offer the ‘something extra’, for example added skills such as numerous languages and understanding of different cultures. Furthermore, where the skills or values are used effectively it can result in a positive impact on business development, due to an increased level of performance from workers.

There are various industries that almost entirely rely on migrant work forces for their staff intake. Such as the security services within Birmingham, where the workforce is made up of 60-70% migrant workers. This is mainly due to the low application numbers from UK citizens and without the migrant intake hiring managers within the industry have speculated about an extremely high number of vacancies for unfilled roles.

But we have to ask how fitting migrant workers are with British business cultures? It can be thought that language barriers may have an impact on working relationship with colleagues and understanding of clients and therefore working relationships. However creating a more diverse workforce is at the top of any HR manager’s agenda and therefore accepting changes such as languages differences and cultures should be a part of a Western business environment and a step in the right direction for accepting the changes within today’s society. Migrant workers have also facilitated growth within the economy and also brought benefits to the tourism industry, which not only provides greater cultural links with nations but also helps in the growth of international trade

For more information on skills shortages within the UK and how to fill your ‘hard to fill’ roles, contact Cohesion on 0121 713 6956.

At a time when skills shortages are wreaking havoc, employment rates are creeping up and competition for top talent is fierce, it’s not enough to rely wholly on one element of your recruitment process to attract and retain the best people. It’s important to utilise a Total Recruitment Philosophy which incorporates all elements of the recruitment puzzle.

What is a Total Recruitment Philosophy? It’s a strategy focussed on reaching out to, and engaging with, the best talent for your business. It’s about having your finger on the pulse when it comes to attraction AND retention. It’s about understanding what good looks like now as well as predicting the employment needs of the future.

Our Total Recruitment Philosophy (TRP) recognises the journey recruitment has taken over the years – no longer is it enough to just look at attraction and assessment to find the best candidates. Our philosophy recognises the importance of employer branding, including its influence on candidates and how this needs to be reflected throughout the recruitment journey. It demonstrates that the journey doesn’t end once a person has been offered a position, but continues through the onboarding process and beyond. It is only through looking at all of these stages as a whole that you can truly influence your recruitment strategy to reach the right audience, engage with them in the right way and ensure you retain the best talent.

Our TRP is changing the face of recruitment by transforming the way companies approach and view the process, which results in them being able to both attract and retain talent in their business who are not only staying longer, but performing better.

We completely re-engineered recruitment processes for one healthcare organisation by working with them on a new online application form, introducing them to a range of new sourcing streams and moving them away from the more traditional and expensive advertising methods using conventional media.

We introduced values-based screening and assessment methods through the use of telephone and video interviews, which assessed candidates on their values and behaviours and how these matched the role, the client’s customers and the organisation. Candidates were engaged with throughout the process and had a regular point of contact. Managers were no longer interviewing irrelevant candidates and they saw a rapid decline in the number of ‘no shows’ – this was replaced instead with a high attendance of quality candidates achieving a 79% conversion rate at the face to face interview stage. By incorporating our TRP we were able to fill over 100 vacancies in 3 weeks, a tenfold uplift when compared to previous campaigns.

The feedback from our client speaks volumes:
“The service you have provided has completely transformed our healthcare recruitment process; we simply could not have achieved what we have without you”.

We often see recruitment campaigns fail where organisations do not have a TRP because they still believe recruitment activity can exist in its own silo. We often have to re-advertise roles for our clients- when we ask why, we are often told that the candidate did not start. After following up with the candidates we find this is because they have been left in the dark- sometimes waiting for 3 months or more with no contact from the company. In some cases, candidates have had to continually chase for updates. For example, they may have had a contract but had to chase for a start date.

There is simply no point in creating a fantastic recruitment experience, only for your onboarding and induction process to let you down. This can be one of the most frustrating parts of the process for the candidate – it requires engagement, consideration and reassurance.

Do you know what your onboarding process looks like? How often do you engage with your potential new starters? Do you know why they don’t start? What would your candidates say about their
recruitment experience with you? Time to think and reflect – have you got it right?

A total recruitment philosophy can be adopted by anyone, and it really works!


Written by Hannah Ratcliff, Marketing Executive