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Should I be honest in a stay interview?

Unlike exit interviews that occur at the end of your time with an organisation, during the offboarding process, stay interviews happen during your time and they offer up an opportunity to provide your employer with insights into what it’s really like in your role, what motivates you and what you’re looking for in the future. 

The big question is: should you be honest in a stay interview? 

Of course, lying is not the way to go, but just how much of the truth should you share? Here are some things to consider as you decide whether you’re ready to open up in your stay interview.

1. Employers conduct stay interviews with their best and brightest employees 

If you’re getting ready for a stay interview, it’s important to remember that organisations only conduct these interviews with the employees that they:

Having a stay interview scheduled in your calendar means you are highly valued by your organisation. Unlike performance reviews or weekly check ins, you can go into a stay interview confidently, knowing that your employer is keen to hear what you like about your role, what you want to do more of and what’s motivating you to stick around. 

While you should remain professional at all times, your employer is looking for honesty – even if it’s negative. It’s one of the only times when your real and honest opinion is being sought after. 

2. Better insights drive change 

Communication is key. What your employer doesn’t know, they can’t fix. The fact of the matter is that everyone has different values and goals – it’s impossible for an organisation to tick every single one of your boxes, and the boxes of your colleagues, without missing the mark somewhere.

Your stay interview can help your employer to understand what’s motivating you, what they need to do more of, and what they might need to do less of. 

It’s important to remember that your feedback will not necessarily create change automatically – and it almost certainly won’t happen quickly – but there is a much better chance of change taking place when you’re able, to be honest.

3. Third-party interviews foster honesty 

One of the biggest factors inhibiting honesty in stay interviews is the person conducting the interview.

Naturally, if one of your biggest frustrations at work is your manager, you’re unlikely to want to open up if they are the one conducting the interview. This is why it’s important to advocate for a third-party provider to take the lead. 

A third-party interviewer will be able to hear your feedback and relay it back to your organisation in an accurate and sensitive manner to ensure that all insights are taken on board and acted upon appropriately. 

Being open and honest in your stay interview is a good idea – take the opportunity for what it is: a chance to share your thoughts and see change as a result of your feedback. 

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