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Top Tips for Stay Interviews

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This content was originally sourced from Sara Eddington. You can find her work over at

I recently shared some tips on how to avoid the great resignation.

One of those was about asking your people about their intentions.

I received some feedback with leaders asking me – I’m happy to talk to my people, but what do I ask though?

It’s a great question and leads nicely into the topic of “stay interviews

You’ve likely heard of exit interviews – but instead of waiting for people to leave to find out what changed, these ones are about focusing on your people in the here and now.

I’m a HUGE fan of them.

I've done lots of reading in this space and here’s a round up of potential questions you could ask:

  • What do you look forward when you come to work each day?
  • Within the past year, what was a day that caused you anxiety or frustration?
  • Within the past year, what was a ‘good day’?
  • What do you want to do more of at work? Less?
  • Do you feel your talents and strengths are being used?
  • What do you like most about the company?
  • If you were manager for a day, what would you do differently?
  • What can I do to make your experience better?
  • What would make you leave?

Tips for doing a stay interview:

  • The purpose is to learn about the person and LISTEN – don’t give answers
  • It’s always done by the person’s Direct Manager – this isn’t for ‘HR’ or an ‘EA’
  • Don’t go formal – this should have a conversational feel to it.  If you’re able – go out for coffee for a relaxed feel
  • Don’t include this as part of a performance review – choose a time outside of this process/time of year
  • Allow an hour – the person will likely need time to process your questions and craft a response
  • Do something about the feedback – this is your opportunity to demonstrate you were listening, they were heard and you’re prepared to do something with that feedback 

Your box of chocolates (an assortment of tasty finds and things I've learnt)

  • Often when I’m coaching the concept of perfectionism arises. Lots of discussion inevitably ensues about its’ role and impact on our lives.  If you not sure how much of a perfectionist you are, here’s a quick quiz you can take to help understand the role it plays in your thinking.
  • I’ve started studying psychological safety and found this podcast by Adam Grant called Is it Safe to Speak Up at Work? which breaks down the role psychological safety plays in preventing errors, innovation and inclusion. A fascinating listen.
  • Communication is one the great skills leaders need to master, and this Forbes article talks to 9 communication habits that great leaders use – and why they are so good.




About the Authors

Giles Pearson FCA was a PwC Partner for 18 years before jointly setting up Accountests.  

Steve Evans has a whole career dedicated to enabling employers to attract, recruit, develop and retain talented individuals and teams, with particular expertise in candidate testing and assessment before setting up Accountests.

Accountests deliver the world’s only online suite of annually updated and country-specific technical knowledge tests designed by accountants for accountants and bookkeepers. 

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