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Best Interview Questions to Combat High Turnover Rates

Employee retention is imperative to a company’s success. High turnover rates can be a significant challenge for businesses. This article explores effective interview strategies and retention-focused questions that can help identify candidates who are likely to stay long-term, supporting a stable and committed workforce.

For example, the turnover rate for the construction industry was 55.7 percent in 2016, while the turnover rate in the leisure/hospitality industry was 73.8 percent, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Furthermore, the cost of turnover is staggering for employers. According to one study by the Society for Human Resource Management, the cost averages $4,129 per new hire. Needless to say, it’s in every employer’s interest to lower its high turnover rates.

While there are many contributing factors, you can begin your efforts to improve employee retention before you even hire your next hourly worker. If you’re involved in hiring, you undoubtedly have a few go-to interview questions you rely on to gauge a candidate’s potential longevity.

But it’s not an exact science, and there’s always room for improvement. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of sample interview questions that can yield additional insights about a candidate’s retention prospects. The more you ask, the more you’ll know.

Understanding the art of reducing turnover with interviews is crucial in today's competitive job market. We delve into employee retention interview questions designed to gauge candidate's long-term potential and alignment with your company's values.

Sample Interview Questions for Job Jumpers

Some hourly workers have a job-jumping history that’s clear from their resume or application. In that case, interview questions like these can help you see what’s behind the activity:

  • “Why did you leave this job? How about that one?” – If you ask this for every position listed, you can identify any patterns. If a candidate consistently blames past employers, that’s problematic, but if they are pursuing advancement opportunities--and that’s something you can offer—it’s another story altogether.
  • “I see you’ve worked in several industries. Which one did you like most—and why? Which did you like least?”
  • “Our goal is to hire workers who plan to be here a long time. How long is 'a long time' in your eyes?”

Sample Interview Questions that Gauge Stress Tolerance

If your work environment is demanding at times (and what work environment isn’t?), these behavioral interview questions can reveal how your candidate handles pressure:

  • “Can you describe a situation when you were asked to do multiple things at the same time? How did you handle it?”
  • “What was your most stressful project or experience? What made it stressful? How’d it turn out?”
  • “When you received multiple customer requests at once, how did you prioritize them?”
  • “Tell me about a time you had to meet a tight deadline.”
  • “Describe a disappointment you had at work—how did you handle it?”

Sample Interview Questions about Social/Cooperative Skills

Employees who don’t play well with others aren’t just high turnover risks, they can cost you customers and drive up turnover rates among other employees. So ask:

  • “Tell me about a recent experience working as part of a team. What was your role and how did it go?”
  • “Did you ever have to adapt to a coworker’s work style to get a job done? What happened?”
  • “Tell me about a difficult customer and how you handled the situation.”
  • “Were you ever in a position when you had to resolve a conflict?”
  • “Can you describe a time you disagreed with your manager? How did you handle it?”
Change is a constant in most work environments these days, and some hourly workers adapt better than others. These interview questions can help you determine who can go with the flow:

Sample Interview Questions that Measure Adaptability

  • “Describe a time when a project or goal was changed at the last minute. How did you handle it? Would you do the same thing today?”
  • “Tell me about a change that occurred that you couldn’t control, like getting a new manager. How did you react?”
  • “Did you ever have to follow a rule you didn’t agree with? What was it and what did you do?”

Sample Interview Questions that Reveal Retention Potential

One goal is to refine candidate selection for retention, ensuring longevity in hiring practices. This approach helps in identifying committed candidates who are more likely to contribute to a lower turnover rate. An employee who has an affinity for his/her employer, industry or the type of work they’re doing is less likely to contribute to high turnover rates. These interview questions can help reveal those ties that bind:

  • “Why do you want this particular job? What led you to us?”
  • “Where do you hope to be one year from now? Five years from now?
  • “If you found another job after we hired you, would you give us a chance to try to keep you?”

One More Thing that Goes with Your Interview Questions

One factor that contributes to high-turnover rates among new hires is that the job isn’t what they expected. Of course you want to paint the best picture of your company, but it’s important to provide candidates with accurate expectations throughout the hiring process.  Good communication is a two-way street—and it starts with the interview.

Adopting these strategies in your interviews can significantly impact your ability to combat high turnover rates. For more insights and tailored advice on structuring effective interviews for long-term employee retention, feel free to contact our HR experts.

Eager to Improve Your Hiring Process?

Managing an hourly workforce isn’t easy when it comes to hiring, turnover and retention issues. If your current HCM system doesn’t simplify the process or improve your results, find one that will—like Namely.

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