37 Best Questions To Ask Employees in Stay Interviews

Updated April 24, 2023

A person sits for questions from three interviewers.

Stay interviews are an opportunity for managers to speak with current employees about their satisfaction with their position or the company. During a stay interview, you can ask a series of questions to gain valuable feedback from employees about ways to improve a team, department or organization. Knowing some stay interview questions to ask can help you prepare for a productive conversation with an employee.

In this article, we discuss stay interviews with a list of questions you may consider asking employees to encourage thoughtful discussions.

What is a stay interview?

stay interview is a short meeting between a manager or human resources (HR) representative and a current employee. During this meeting, the manager or HR representative usually asks multiple questions to determine how likely an employee is to stay with the company. Many managers use stay interviews to solicit feedback from valued employees about improvements a department or company can make. Some benefits of holding stay interviews include:

  • Making sure employees feel valued and respected

  • Building positive connections between managers and employees

  • Improving morale and employee satisfaction

  • Increasing employee retention rates to keep top-performing employees

  • Identifying areas for potential improvement within an organization

  • Getting feedback to determine positive trends or concerns among employees

Related: How Can I Retain My Employees? (10 Effective Strategies)

Stay interview questions to ask employees

Here are some sample stay interview questions with explanations about what you can gain from asking them:

1. What are your passions?

One of the primary goals of a stay interview is getting to know the employee you're interviewing. This type of question provides a better understanding of an employee's values and beliefs. Knowing about an employee's passions can help you assign them tasks or projects that align with their interests.

Related: 12 Questions To Ask Employees When You Are a New Manager

2. Is it more important to you that your job is challenging or that you can excel in your position?

Knowing what motivates an employee can help you encourage them to do their best work. You can ask this question to gain insight into the type of work an employee feels comfortable performing. You can also determine whether an employee may benefit from receiving additional or complex tasks to challenge themselves in their role.

Related: 12 Motivation Questions To Ask Employees

3. How often do you prefer to receive formal performance reviews?

The review process is an integral part of employee retention and development. Different employees have various preferences for oversight and review. This question gives you an opportunity to learn an employee's preferred review schedule, which can help you determine how often to provide formal feedback.

Related: How To Conduct an Annual Performance Review

4. Do your long-term plans involve working at this company?

Often, employers hold stay interviews with high-performing or tenured team members to determine how to encourage them to remain with the team or company. This question allows you to gain insight into whether an employee plans to stay at the company in the future. Their answer can also help you understand what an employee may enjoy or dislike about their current role.

Related: How To Talk About Career Goals With Your Boss in 8 Steps

5. Do you feel like the company is providing you with opportunities for career advancement?

Promotion from within is one of the most effective ways to maintain consistency within a team or department. You may ask this question to identify employees who want to move into higher positions. This question can also help you express appreciation for employees' work by showing them you believe they can advance within the organization.

Related: What Is Career Advancement? Definition and Examples

6. Have you been able to find a healthy work-life balance in your role?

Employee happiness is a key component of maintaining high morale and keeping high-performing team members. This question can help you learn if an employee's job impacts their happiness outside of work. By knowing this information, you can take steps to address concerns while also acknowledging the employee's commitment to hard work.

Related: 6 Ways To Implement Job Flexibility in the Workplace

7. Can you tell me about a time you went above and beyond your usual responsibilities?

A stay interview allows you to learn how an employee behaves in different situations. This question gives you the chance to learn about a particular achievement an employee may be proud of and why the accomplishment matters to them. You can use this feedback to recognize an employee's actions and give them opportunities to succeed in similar ways in the future.

Related: 8 Types of Employee Recognition (And Why It's Important)

General stay interview questions

When conducting a stay interview, you can ask an employee some general questions about themselves, their work and their career goals. Some general questions you can ask at a stay interview include:

8. What's your dream job?

9. What do you think about during your commute to and from work?

10. What's most important to you when determining if a workday was a success or not?

11. What's your preferred method of receiving feedback?

12. Do you prefer working in a team or individually?

13. Given the choice, would you prefer to work in the office or remotely?

14. What's your preferred work schedule?

15. How important is it that you regularly experience new professional challenges?

16. If you won the lottery, what would you do?

17. What are your long-term career goals?

Stay interview questions about the employee's job

Other questions you can ask during a stay interview center on the employee's job and their experience with the company. These questions can help you identify areas where you can improve processes, procedures or workflows to support employees. Some questions to ask about the employee's job include:

18. What do you look forward to the most when you come to work each day?

19. What do you look forward to the least when you come to work each day?

20. Do you feel that the company effectively recognizes employees for good work?

21. What resources do you wish were available to help with your career progression?

22. How can we improve your experience with the company?

23. What feedback do you feel would be helpful that you aren't currently receiving?

24. What opportunities would you like that your current role doesn't provide?

25. Are there areas where you feel the company can be more flexible to improve your experience?

26. If you could change one thing at the company, what would it be?

27. What would you miss the most if you left your position for a new role?

Related: 8 Ways Supervisors Can Provide Support to Employees at Work

In-depth stay interview questions

In-depth questions can give employees an opportunity to express their opinions transparently. Consider asking in-depth questions about their work habits or thoughts about the company culture. Some in-depth questions you can ask include:

28. Can you describe your typical day at work?

29. Can you tell me about a time you've felt frustrated at work this year?

30. Since your promotion last year, what have you enjoyed most about your new job?

31. What do you miss most about your prior position with the company?

32. What skills and abilities do you possess that you don't use in your current role?

33. What's your proudest accomplishment in your time with the company?

34. Have you made a difficult decision at work this year, and what did you do?

35. Can you describe the biggest challenge your new position with the company has presented?

36. How do you feel empowered to be successful at your job?

37. What do you think is the most important responsibility you have in your current position?

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