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Employee Interviews Often a Missed Opportunity

sharlynlaubyThis excellent guest post is courtesy of our board member, Sharlyn Lauby.  Sharlyn is author of the blog HR Bartender and president of ITM Group Inc., a South Florida based training and human resources consulting firm focused on working with companies to retain and engage talent. 

“I have no regrets. I don't believe in looking back. What I am proudest of? Working really hard…and achieving as much as I could.” ~ Elena Kagan, U.S. Supreme Court Justice

Living with no regrets can be a very productive way to live our lives and conduct business. Always move forward. Focus on the future. But it also means that we need to take advantage of opportunities when they are presented to us.

One of the biggest opportunities we have in business is the interview.

When we think of the word “interview” as it relates to work, most of us think of the job interview. It might be as a candidate debating should I go to that interview? Or what should I say in the interview? Another way to think of “interview” is in the human resources or recruiter role asking the question, “Should I call that applicant for an interview?” Or what questions should I ask during the interview? Even hiring managers go through the same process.

But there are other interviews to consider. In some cases, these other interviews are as important - if not more important - than the job interview.

Skip level interviews are when an employee interviews with their supervisor's boss. These conversations are usually kept at a high level and focus on organizational effectiveness. Employees get the opportunity to discuss what works well and opportunities for improvement without fear of retribution. Managers can use the information to identify trends and get an employee perspective.

Stay interviews are conversations between an employee and their supervisor designed to learn the reasons that an employee stays with the company and/or the conditions that might cause them to leave. Managers have the opportunity to hear directly from employees what's important to them and the specific benefits and working conditions that matter.

Exit interviews are discussions that happen when an employee is leaving or has left the organization. While there might be several factors involved in the employee's decision to resign, the purpose of an exit interview is to find out what caused the employee to start considering another job. The organization has the opportunity to use this information to make improvements in the workplace which, hopefully, prevent others from leaving.

Now that we're in a candidate-driven job market, interviews are more important than ever. The interview not only helps us to find great talent, it helps us to engage and retain employees. Interviews should be a part of the entire employee life cycle, not simply the conversation that gets them hired. In fact, we can take it one step further and say the interviews that employees participate in during their career impact them even after they've left your organization.

It's simply a part of business that employees will leave your organization. Sometimes they will leave for reasons you can control. Other times, it will be for reasons you don't have the ability to influence or change. However, those interview conversations remain with employees and help them to decide if they will remain a raving fan of your organization. Interviews tell employees what matters to organizations and whether they should refer a potential candidate or customer.

Oh, and one other thing…those interviews tell former employees whether they should consider reapplying for jobs. According to a new study released by The Workforce Institute at Kronos and WorplaceTrends.com1, 76 percent of companies responded that they were open to hiring boomerang employees (those who left but now want to return). It totally makes sense. Rehired employees know the organization and the organization knows them. In order for this strategy to be successful, two activities must take place:

  • Human resources must put a plan in place to maintain relationships with former employees after offboarding has taken place. Over 80 percent of former employees in the same survey said companies do not have a strategy in place that encourages them to return.

Employee interviews do more than just hire people. They create the atmosphere where employees can excel and engage in their roles. Interviews also allow employees to leave, grow professionally and return to the organization with greater experience and knowledge.

1 Research findings are based on a survey fielded in the U.S. between July 14 and July 22, 2015. For this survey, 1,807 respondents were asked about their thoughts regarding various aspects of corporate culture and employee engagement. The study surveyed three separate groups: HR professionals (601 surveys); people managers (604 surveys); and full-time, non-managing employees (602 surveys). The survey was completed through Lightspeed GMI's Global Test Market double opted-in panelists who have registered to participate in online surveys. All sample surveys may be subject to multiple sources of error (i.e. sampling error, coverage error, measurement error, etc.).

What happens at your organization?  Do you spend time on employee interviews in order to understand improvement opportunities?

Share your insights!

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