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When top performers leave the company, why do they leave and where do they usually go?

This is one of the tougher questions you can ask in a job interview with a HR representative or recruiter. The interviewer might at first glance not want to help you identify potential other companies that you could flee to. On the other hand, if you are a great candidate you probably already know where their talent is escaping. They should be proud of their own company and their own achievements, so showing you the competitive landscape should not be a problem.

GOALS

Discover Reasons Why Top Talents Leave: This question enables you to understand why top talent is leaving this organization. What are the reasons behind the potential brain drain of the organization? On the other hand, perhaps the employer is also so confident that they that top talent are not leaving, which is of course great, as long as it is also a realistic picture of the organization.

Evaluate Organization’s Self-Image: Do they know the world they live in? If you have done your own research on the topic, compare notes. Consider what you found out in your investigations and listen to what the interviewer tells you. If you feel the atmosphere allows discussion, then do jump in and discuss the topic based on your viewpoint. Adding new insight or giving new ideas to this topic could very well sway the human resource representative in your favor. This is of course only true if your observations are correct and the interviewer is willing to listen.

Identify Major Competitors for Talent: The objective is not to find other organizations you can approach for a job! We want to understand this issue. If you are a people manager, this can be a huge issue. If the organization is struggling to find talented staff, maybe you need to consider this when agreeing to goals with your manager for your understaffed team. Even if you are not in a management position, this is a relevant consideration. If the organization constantly loses staff, this is either a very reputable company that people are currently stealing talent from, but most likely it is an organization with some sort of “flaw” that are causing people to leave.

Why They Are Better than Competition: This is also a great way to understand why the organization thinks you should work for them instead of the competition. It can easily be turned into a discussion about advantages with this employer.

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MISTAKES

Not Doing Research: The biggest mistake for any question where you are trying to stimulate discussion or asking for tough answers is to not prepare for next steps. In most cases the HR rep will after explaining what they think turn around and ask “what do you think?”. A few recruiters could also on purpose paint a really strange picture of the world to see if the candidate is brave enough to object.

Being Rude or Disrespectful: Always when discussing or debating sensitive topics, remember to use the right type of tone and posture. Do not be rude or disrespectful or come across as the know it all. You are after all not a part of the organization. You do not know the reality in which they operate.

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EXAMPLES

All HR & Recruiter Questions to ask at an Interview