Top 13 Stay Interview Questions (Example Answers Included)

By Mike Simpson

The Great Resignation has shaken the business world to its core. In November 2021, a record-breaking 4.5 million people told their employers to take a hike, leaving companies in many sectors scrambling to find ways to secure the talent they need. One move employers are starting to use is stay interviews.

Stay interview questions aren’t like what candidates see when they’re trying to get hired. Instead, they’re designed to boost retention, making it less likely that a valued employee will leave the company.

Whether you’re a manager looking for questions to ask in a stay interview or an employee that wants to prepare answers to stay interview questions, here’s what you need to know.

What Is a Stay Interview?

Alright, before we dig into the stay interview questions, let’s talk about what a stay interview is in the first place. In the simplest sense, it’s a meeting designed to boost retention, allowing managers to learn more about how employees view their environment and what it would take to keep them on staff.

Stay interviews are becoming increasingly popular due to the Great Resignation. With professionals leaving their jobs in droves to find something that better meets their needs, companies are using stay interview questions to find out what they could do differently to keep employees on board.

Essentially, managers use stay interviews to discover how the employee is doing and if there are any obstacles between them and their goals. Then, the manager will use the information gathered to try to eliminate roadblocks and create conditions where the employee can thrive.

Unlike other interviews, the setting is pretty informal. It’s about having a conversation between managers and employees, typically in a one-on-one, private setting.

Additionally, managers need to remain solution-oriented. Negative feedback from employees is going to happen, and managers can’t get defensive. Instead, a willingness to change is essential. Otherwise, getting top performers to stay is going to get harder.

From the employee perspective, stay interview questions are an opportunity to discuss challenges they’re facing in the workplace. Negative feedback is allowed, but it needs to be presented in a professional way, ensuring that progress is the primary goal.

While stay interview questions are designed to reveal some potentially difficult truths, it shouldn’t be viewed as an opportunity to be insulting, hostile, or openly aggressive. Grilling employees to the point of making them uncomfortable isn’t going to work in the company’s favor.

Similarly, bashing the workplace won’t help employees. Both parties need to be open, honest, and direct, but also respectful. That way, the conversation remains constructive.

MIKE'S TIP: It’s important to note that stay interview questions and answers shouldn’t solely focus on the negative. They’re also a chance for employees to talk about what is working for them. By sharing aspects of the company and job that genuinely help them shine, employees could get more of the positive, which is beneficial, too. So, managers should ask questions about what’s going right, and employees should make sure they discuss what they enjoy about working in the job, leading to a more holistic picture of the situation.

Ultimately, stay interviews are powerful tools when used correctly. Plus, they have the ability to benefit everyone involved, leading to a happier, more productive work environment. In the end, that’s pretty awesome.

Top 3 Stay Interview Questions

While every company is going to have a unique set of stay interview questions, that doesn’t mean many employers can’t use the same ones. Sure, adjusting the questions to the role and environment is essential. But there are a few options that apply universally, making them a great starting point.

Generally speaking, managers should make sure that stay interview questions focus more on situational or behavioral interview questions than other types. Those help managers get a clearer picture of what the employee is after and how the employer can improve to keep them on board.

Since that’s the case, employees should spend a little time getting to know the STAR Method and the Tailoring Method. That way, they can provide straightforward, relevant answers that provide managers with the most helpful information.

Whether you’re looking for questions to ask in a stay interview, ensuring you’re ready for your next conversation with an employee, or want to make sure that you can answer what a manager may ask, it’s wise to look at some common stay interview questions. Here is a look at our top three.

1. What are your long-term career goals?

Technically, this question doesn’t focus directly on the employee’s job or the environment. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a critical one to ask and answer.

By asking this question, managers get a chance to find out about an employee’s aspirations. Since helping a worker achieve their goals can keep them motivated and engaged, it’s good for productivity. Plus, it can boost loyalty, which benefits retention.

For employees, answering this question creates a unique opportunity. You may get more support from your employer, increasing the odds that you can achieve your career goals as quickly as possible.

Ideally, workers should be specific when responding. Additionally, it’s wise to discuss how the company could factor into the equation.


“Currently, my main career goal is to shift into a management role. In this position, I’ve had a chance to spearhead a few projects, and I find that I enjoy the responsibilities associated with overseeing the work and guiding others toward success. Additionally, I’ve gotten positive feedback from project members about my approach, as well as insights that allowed me to improve with each one I oversaw.

“Ideally, I’d like to shift into a manager role within the next two years, preferably at this company. After that, I may set my sights higher, but I want to take that first step before I reevaluate my direction.”

2. What about your job keeps you coming in every day?

This question focuses on motivation. It allows managers to find out what employees appreciate about their roles or the environment. Plus, workers can openly discuss the positives of their jobs, increasing the odds that they’ll get more of what they enjoy.

If an employee isn’t sure where to begin, managers could refine this question. By splitting it into two – one focused on what they enjoy about their role and another that concentrates on what they like about the environment – you get a holistic picture.


As an employee, it’s best to touch on both angles if the manager asks a broad version like the one above. That way, you can outline the positives in each area.

“When it comes to the job itself, one of my main motivations is the opportunities I have to use my favorite skills. I genuinely enjoy coding, and I get the chance to put my programming skills to work regularly when we develop new applications.

“As for the workplace, what I enjoy most is the collaborative culture. I’ve had the opportunity to learn so much from my colleagues during my time in this position, and I greatly appreciate every interaction I have with them. Plus, they’re incredibly open to my ideas, which makes me feel valued.”

3. If you had a chance to change one thing about your job, what would it be and why?

Here’s one of the questions to ask in a stay interview that digs into what isn’t working. It lets managers find out about major points of concern since it limits the employee to a single problem. Essentially, it’s an ideal approach if managers need to find out about high-priority issues, including potential dealbreakers for workers.

For employees, this question is a chance to dive into one significant problem. While it can be difficult to deliver this kind of negative feedback, it’s an essential part of the process. Workers should outline the issue and discuss potential changes that could solve it. That way, they’ve given the manager actionable insights.


“If I could change one thing about my job, it would be the number of meetings. My presence is usually requested several times a week, with each meeting lasting an average of one hour. While participating in gatherings isn’t inherently an issue, many of these meetings don’t actually require my presence. I’m not needed for any input, and the information shared either isn’t wholly pertinent to my role or could easily be communicated after the fact in a quick email.

“The reason it’s problematic is that every meeting takes time away from my other responsibilities. It disrupts the flow of my day, often for a gathering where I’m not actually needed. Then, it takes time to get back into my rhythm after the meeting is over, making the experience detrimental to my productivity.

“Given the opportunity, I would limit the number of attendees to every meeting, ensuring only essential participants are present. Then, I would make sure that all critical information was shared promptly via email or another method once the meeting ended, ensuring everyone that needs to be informed of outcomes is, all without disrupting their day.”

10 More Stay Interview Questions

Here are ten more stay interview questions that companies commonly use when speaking with employees:

  1. Do you feel that you have a healthy work-life balance?
  2. Are you encountering any obstacles that are hindering your productivity?
  3. Do you feel welcome and valued by the company? What about your colleagues?
  4. Can you tell me about a time where you felt frustrated this year, either in your role or with the company?
  5. Are there any responsibilities you wish you could take on in your role? Are there any that you would prefer to give to someone else?
  6. Do you feel that you have a strong future at this company? Why or why not?
  7. Are you getting enough feedback from your manager? If not, how would you like to see the feedback cycle change?
  8. Now that you’ve worked in this role for some time, is there anything about your previous job that you’ve found yourself missing?
  9. If you left this position today, what about it do you think you’d miss most?
  10. What could we do to improve your experience at this company?

5 Good Questions to Ask at the End of a Stay Interview

When a stay interview draws to a close, employees usually get a chance to ask the manager a few questions of their own. This is an excellent opportunity for workers and managers alike.

For employees, it’s a chance to learn more about points that matter to them. For managers, it lets them find out where an employee’s priorities lie, giving them insights that could lead to meaningful change.

Ideally, employees want to have a few questions ready before their stay interview, ensuring they aren’t left scrambling. Managers should also review common questions to ask in a stay interview when the tables turn and employees get to do the asking. That way, they can prepare responses.

Here is a look at five good questions to ask at the end of a stay interview:

  1. What’s the company’s long-term plan for promoting better work-life balance?
  2. How does the company plan on ensuring compensation remains competitive?
  3. Will the company be able to support my professional growth and career advancement? If so, how will this be achieved?
  4. I’m interested in spending more of my time on projects that align with my preferred skills. Is that an option?
  5. What would need to happen so that I could take the next step forward in my career?

Putting It All Together

Ultimately, the stay interview questions above are common and apply to nearly any kind of role. As a result, they can be excellent questions to ask in a stay interview if you’re a manager. Additionally, preparing answers to them is smart if you’re an employee with a stay interview on the horizon.

In the end, stay interviews are opportunities for everyone. They let employees discuss their needs and preferences openly and honestly, while managers can gather insights that lead to meaningful changes that boost retention. As long as everyone approaches the situation with the right mindset, everyone stands to gain.

Good luck!

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About The Author

Mike Simpson

Co-Founder and CEO of Mike is a job interview and career expert and the head writer at His advice and insights have been shared and featured by publications such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, CNBC and more as well as educational institutions such as the University of Michigan, Penn State, Northeastern and others. Learn more about The Interview Guys on our About Us page.