- Although many people are familiar with the concept of an exit interview, entry interviews can allow employers to better understand their employees and find the best ways to retain them over time.
- Some reasons to conduct entry interviews with all employees is because they help to prevent burnout, can improve company culture, and also help improve the company overall.
- During entry interviews, you should be asking questions about the employees’ values, interests, preferences, skills, and aspirations.
Many people experience an exit interview when they leave a job for one reason or another. But what would happen if "entry interviews" were conducted at the time of hiring? Leaders could sit down with new hires on their first day, and ask them some questions to determine how the company can best support and retain them.
At a Qualtrics experience management summit in Salt Lake City, Utah, Arianna Huffington, formerly of the Huffington Post, touched on the idea of entry interviews. At her newest endeavor, Thrive Global, they conduct entry interviews as part of their onboarding process, and as a way to gauge, as Huffington put it, "what is important to you and how we can support you to be able to do that and experience what you want in that area while you're good at work."
Huffington shared a couple of examples from entry interviews with recent hires. One employee said taking her daughter to school at 7:30 a.m. every day was important to her. In her previous job, her boss always scheduled calls at 7:30, so she was never able to share that time with her children that she so cherished.
Another employee said it was important that she attend physical therapy appointments every two weeks for her frozen shoulder. When Huffington asked her when she had last been to therapy, the employee said three months ago.
Knowing these things will only help you as an employer. Your employees will feel more appreciated and understood, which ultimately leads to increased productivity and loyalty to the company. There may be times when calls or meetings overlap with these important personal items, but if you give employees a chance to communicate that upfront, it is easier to accommodate.
Why conduct an entry interview?
Overall company improvement
Employee wellness and a company's bottom line are very closely related. Huffington talked about being able to take data regarding an employee's work habits and looking at business data from a similar time-frame to find a correlation.
"For a long time, employee well-being was considered a soft benefit. And now companies are realizing the direct connection between an employee's wellbeing and the bottom line," Huffington said.
Prevent employee burnout
Entry interviews are just one of the ways that companies can prevent employee burnout. Huffington noted that approximately 87% of employees are not fully engaged in their jobs, and employees who have reported feeling burnt out are 30% more likely to leave their job because of it. Employee retention is already so hard; why not do something that could help keep the employees that work hard for your company?
Improve company culture
So much of an office culture comes from the people who fill that office space every single day. If those employees are feeling good and satisfied with the work that they are doing, that is a great start. When an employee is not only feeling a sense of achievement and security at work but also feels like they still have time for all of the things they enjoy doing outside of work, they are going to bring that positive energy and attitude to their place of work.
Types of questions to ask in an entry interview
If you are wondering what types of questions should be asked at an entry interview, according to Wharton Magazine, some of the most important categories are as follows:
- Interests: One of the top things you should be asking employees about is their interests. This is because knowing what brings them joy will help you to better understand and bond you’re your employees. Some examples of questions concerning one's interests are: What are your hobbies? What do you do with most of your spare time? Do you watch television? What is your favorite movie? Who is your favorite artist?
- Values: Another important thing to learn about your employees is what their values are. This is because understanding their value systems will enable you to understand not only what drives them but what type of employee overall. Some questions you can ask about your employees' value systems are: What do you value most? What is your religious affiliation? If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
- Preferences: Another major thing to ask about when conducting an entry interview is their preferences. This is because it will allow you to more readily understand what makes them comfortable in life, as well as in the workplace. Some examples of questions to ask about preferences are: Do you prefer to work alone or in a group? Would you prefer micromanagement or laissez-faire management? Do you like to work with people who are talkative or do you prefer a quiet work environment?
- Skills: One major category to ask about is the employees' skill sets. This is because the skill sets of your employees are one of the major ways you ensure that you are allowing each employee to live up to their full potential. Some examples of questions to ask about skill sets are: Do you have any hidden talents? What would you say is the top benefit of having you as an employee? What are some skills you are hoping to develop while working for us?
- Aspirations: Lastly, understanding the aspirations of your employees is imperative to get them to stay for the long haul. This is because you must understand where they are planning to go if you want to be able to retain them as an employee. Examples of some questions you can ask about aspirations are: If you could have any job in the world, what would it be? Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years? At what age would you like to retire? What do you plan to do in your retirement years?