Hiring Wisdom: Why You Need to Be Doing Retention Interviews

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A retention interview is not a performance appraisal; it is not about how the person is doing his or her job. It is not a job satisfaction or employee engagement survey.

A retention interview is about what the company is doing (or not doing) that frustrates their top performers.

If you’d like to create your own retention interview, here are a few pointers to keep in mind:

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  • A retention interview is not about talking to everyone. It is about talking to the key people you want to keep on-board.
  • One purpose of this interview is to make the people you talk to feel important and included.
  • It has to be a conversation, not a form to fill out.
  • Create your question set. (You may be hesitant to ask some of those suggested below, but better to ask before they leave than trying to close the barn door after the horse is out.)
    • Why did you leave your last employer?
    • Why did you take this job (or come to work for us) in the first place?
    • Is your job living up to your expectations? Is it better or worse than you thought?
    • How has the job/department/company changed since you joined us? Is it better or worse now?
    • In your opinion, what is the dumbest or least sensible company rule or policy?
    • If we could do one thing to make your job easier or help you be more productive, what would it be?
    • What is the one thing about your job that frustrates you the most?
    • On a scale of 1 – 10, how would you rate the company’s management team? Why did you give them that rating?
    • Fill in the blank for me: “I would start looking for another job if _______.”
    • What would it take for one of our competitors to hire you away from us?

Now, identify your key players and schedule what may well prove to be some very enlightening conversations.

This was originally published on Mel Kleiman’s Humetrics blog.

Mel Kleiman, CSP, is an internationally-known authority on recruiting, selecting, and hiring hourly employees. He has been the president of Humetrics since 1976 and has over 30 years of practical experience, research, consulting and professional speaking work to his credit. Contact him at mkleiman@humetrics.com.

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