How a ‘stay interview’ can help close the door on staff turnover…and avoid the great poach!

Drake Editorial



Here in Australia, we are facing the Great Poach! The unprecedented mix of stunted immigration, lockdowns, and other restrictive measures has created a supply and demand issue in favour of the worker. Employed or not, if the candidate has the necessary skills, they are being targeted by employers to fill their own talent gaps. Even the less experienced applicants currently have the pick of the market with opportunities that previously wouldn’t have been unavailable, now on the table.

A consequence of this talent scarcity is the poaching of competitor employees at record levels, with anxious employers offering never-before-seen perks and salaries in an attempt to attract and poach workers.

How can you mitigate this risk of the Great Poach?

Regardless of your relationship with your employees, right now, there is every chance that your top performers are in your competitor’s sights. Therefore, you must take a pro-active approach to staff engagement, find out their true feelings about your company and the bar of loyalty; what would it take to make them leave to a competitor? This is where the stay interview can be extremely helpful.

What is a stay interview?

A stay interview is almost like a performance review of the company from a candidate’s perspective. It is an opportunity to find out what the company is doing right and what can be improved upon.

By learning what is going on in the trenches, effective strategies can be formulated to increase engagement and job satisfaction amongst workers. In essence, it is learning what motivates the employee to stay engaged.

Why do I need to conduct a stay interview?

By the time your top performer hands in their resignation letter, it’s often too late to persuade them to change their mind. A proactive approach in the form of a stay interview will be a key element to minimising staff attrition.

Imagine a rival competitor calls your top performer tomorrow. They might ask the following questions:

  1. What is the current reason you are happy/unhappy?
  2. What do you like/dislike about your current role/organisation?
  3. What would some of the reasons be motivating you to leave?
  4. What are your plans for career progression?

By conducting stay interviews, you will have a good indication of how your employees might answer the above questions and develop some robust strategies for optimum employee satisfaction.  

How do I conduct a stay interview?

Treat the interview as part of your holistic HR practice. The secret to having effective stay interviews is having questions that allow an in-depth response from your employees. They are less formal in nature and are seen as a more proactive initiative and can be facilitated by HR or a direct manager.


Questions should include:

  • What do you like about your job role and/or organisation?
  • What part of your job would you remove if you could straight away?
  • Is there any training that you would like to undertake?
  • What would make your job even more satisfying?
  • Do you feel you’re getting clear goals and objectives?
  • Do you feel like you are valued and recognised for the work you do?
  • Do we have the right tools and resources to do your job properly? If not, what do you need?
  • Has there ever been another opportunity that has made you consider leaving this employer?
  • How do you think we could improve the workplace culture?
  • What are the type of benefits you would value most or like to see introduced?


Before the interview, emphasise that these interviews are to improve the working conditions for everyone. Encourage employees to answer honestly and let them know that any feedback will be treated with strict confidence.

Approach the interview from a competitor's perspective, as if you were trying to poach this staff member. By coming from this angle, you can ensure that you can offer the best industry perks and retain loyal, happy workers.

If you would like any guidance on conducting an effective stay interview, please get in touch with our team on 13 14 48.




At Drake, we have a team of expert recruitment consultants who can help you find your next job role. Call our team on 13 14 48 or explore our latest job vacancies.



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