With annual turnover regularly surpassing 100 percent in hourly industries, preventive retention begins the minute you first eyeball an application. And it carries into the interviewing, assessing, selecting and hiring.

Asking yourself if Applicant ‘A’ is a good candidate for your job is one question. Asking yourself how long he’ll stick around is a whole different one.

As the job market opens up in and workers feel a bit more confident sprucing up their resumes and swapping gigs, you need to be thinking about retention 24/7 – even when you’re hiring.

Job seekers are savvy. They know to give a robotic nod and a quick “yes” when you ask them if they’ll be a loyal and long-term front-line foot soldier.

So don’t ask that question. Instead, ask these questions:

5 Interview Questions to Expose Job Hoppers
  1. If I told you we want to hire people who plan to be here “a long time,” how long would you define “a long time” to be?
  2. If you find what you consider to be a better job after I hire you, will you give me a chance to keep you?
  3. What do you want to be doing five years from now? What about one year from now?
  4. How long do you think someone in this position should work before getting a raise and/or promotion?
  5. Do you keep in touch with past co-workers or managers?

The more specificity and commitment applicants can pack into their answers to these questions, the better. If they’re wishy-washy, evasive or just too eager to please, keep probing. If you don’t get the answer you’re looking for – no matter how strong the candidate may be – be wary of hiring.

Remember, it can cost as much as $8,500 to replace an hourly employee. New uniform not included.