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At times when it is difficult to find qualified candidates, employers often turn to boomerang hiring. Quite simply, this is hiring back employees who have previously worked at your company and have the desire to return. But there is a bit more to it than that.
Because as tempting as it can be to simply hire the employee you know and who knows your company, there are a few questions to ask yourself first. Here’s a quick guide to rehiring former employees.
First, the primary reason for hiring boomerang employees is that they are often a known entity. If they previously aligned with your company culture, they have the knowledge and skills to do the job, and they did it well, you can be fairly certain they will be a good fit.
There are other advantages too:
Of course, all of these reasons don’t preclude the fact that you still need to interview the returning employee, and you’ll likely have some questions for them. Here are a few you should be sure to ask.
There is a difference between someone who has left your company and will probably never return and someone who is a possible boomerang employee. In large part, this has to do with why they left the company.
If an employee left for an internal reason they are likely a “permanently former employee.” This includes things like deciding the company wasn’t a fit for them, a personal issue with co-workers, or a need for a career change. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, but generally, if an employee left because they were dissatisfied, chances are they will be dissatisfied at some point again.
The opposite could be true if the employee left for a better opportunity, for an extended parental leave to spend time with family, or for some other external reason. In other words, the employee did not have any issue with the company in the first place but instead left due to external circumstances.
The reason the employee left the company can give you a hint about whether or not they would return and stay this time. Consider this carefully in your rehiring process.
A factor of the potential need for training, consider that a person who left the company six months ago for family-related reasons can probably jump right back into their old position or a similar one with little trouble. Probably not much has changed.
But if an employee left several years before, there may be a lot of training for you to do. Technology, processes, and even positions may have changed significantly. It’s not that this eliminates that former employee as a good candidate, but it can be a factor in the overall cost of bringing them back into your team.
However, if they have been in another similar position, this training gap could be narrower. This is an important question to look at, but it shouldn’t be the primary deciding factor.
A former employee knows your culture and may have been a good fit. But you should also look at whether current employees missed them. Were they liked by peers, subordinates, and supervisors? While they might have once been a fit, that doesn’t mean those who stayed after they left missed their presence.
Have honest, open-door conversations with your employees, and ask them questions like, “How would you feel if [NAME] came back to work for us?” You don’t want to bring someone back who will disrupt the satisfaction of those already working for you. You want to hire someone who enhances your workforce rather than disrupts it.
While these can be challenging conversations at times, that doesn’t make them any less valuable. But there is a final question to look at.
Why does the former employee want to come back? How did they react when you contacted them with an offer? What has changed in their lives or in your company that will enable them to return to work for you?
When rehiring former employees, it is important to look at the boomerang goal and motive. What are their goals in returning? What do they want to achieve by rejoining your company? And why do they think this is the place where they can and will accomplish their goals?
Hiring boomerang employees has some definite advantages, but it is still a process. If you follow this guide, you’ll be more likely to rehire those who will enhance your culture and your team, and be a part of your company for years to come.