I interviewed for a company several of months ago (I got the job by the way) and I did some some online research and reviews on what past employees thought of the company.

I usually take these reviews with a grain of salt. The biggest thing that disgruntled employees had issues with was the high turnover rate. This was a concern for me was I like to stay with a company for as long as possible.

During the Q&A portion of the interview I asked: "What are the reasons that contributed to the high turnover rates during the last few years?"

Interviewer was shocked and wasn't expecting that question and sort of went into defensive mode. As an American living in the UK, I don't know the norms and customs here so maybe this is a thing in the UK? Do employers not like talking bad about their company?

  • 1
    Even if they might not like it, you may want to know the information.
    – sumelic
    Jan 14, 2017 at 19:26
  • Related: workplace.stackexchange.com/q/12516/325 Jan 15, 2017 at 5:09
  • How do you know that there was high turnover. Online research of people's opinions does not equate to fact.
    – cdkMoose
    Jan 28, 2019 at 18:12

3 Answers 3


I'd be surprised if any current employee would talk negatively to an outsider about their company during anything as formal as an interview - no matter what the location is. If word got out, they could be in trouble.

On the other hand - this is something that you need to bring up in the meeting - and their reaction is as much of an answer as the words they use.

There really is no better way to phrase your question, and I disagree with Keshlam's characterisation of it as "when did you stop beating your wife". The question is necessary.

Depending on the company (and the underlying reasons), they are either going to answer confidently or get flustered.

  • By all means: Ask Perhaps you could have phrased it differently-"What's the turnover rate like here?". "What are the reasons for the turnover rate(if there is some)?" The key is that interviewing is a two way street. I think the mindset that your goal in the interview is to "just get the job" is dangerous. I think the goal is to see if it "would be a good fit".
    – Ronnie W
    Jan 15, 2017 at 17:42
  • 1
    Exact question I asked: "I've done research on the company before applying and while I don't generally rely on reviews, the biggest thing that stood out to me was the complaints about turnover rates, this is a concern for me as I would like to stay with the company as long as possible." He was actually quite nice and knew about the reviews. Told me it was from different department and not the IT and it was due to the big hiring they had.
    – Noah
    Jan 16, 2017 at 3:52

Nobody likes hearing you talking badly about the thing they are trying to represent. There are ways to ask what you really need to know without phrasing it as "when did you stop beating your wife".

"I have heard that employee turnover in your company has been a bit high recently; is there any truth to that, or anything which might have been interpreted that way" is likely to get the same information (if any) while not sounding like you are looking for an excuse not to work there.

Employ tactical tact. Unless you are being brought in to fix a problem, or have a solution to suggest, leading with a direct challenge is probably not the best approach.


There is a thing called "tact". If you say something negative about my employer, you annoy me, one because it implies that I made a bad choice about my employer, second because I see it as a personal attack against me and my colleagues, third because it is an attack against the company, which I know much better than you do, so in my eyes you have no right to attack them (even if I might have the right and some reason myself).

Depending on what you say and how you say it during a job interview, it might cost you a job offer. It's certainly not helping.

Now your lack of tact in an interview (where I would expect you to show yourself from your best possible side), would make me think that you might do the same thing towards customers, or towards your colleagues, which could be a real problem.

  • 1
    If anyone has a right to ask about less-than-shining aspects of a company, it's someone interviewing to work there. The interviewer's response might tell the interviewee a lot about the company too.
    – J Bramble
    Jan 15, 2017 at 22:57
  • 1
    If I can't ask something I need to know to make a good decision, then it was not a good fit anyway.
    – David Cain
    Jan 17, 2017 at 23:47
  • Wow, there's so much wrong with this answer, I wish I had enough rep to downvote. The entire first and last paragraphs are incredibly presumptuous, and I would never want to work for someone who thinks like @gnasher729. There was also no lack of tact expressed by the OP... what in the world are you talking about?? An interview is a two-way discussion. I sure hope you are not an interviewer at your company.
    – user428517
    Feb 5, 2018 at 19:07

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