Why You Should Consider Hiring “Boomerang Candidates”

By Guest blogger - Dec. 11, 2014
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Editor’s Note: This is a guest post written by Abby Perkins – Managing Editor at Talent Tribune, a SoftwareProviders.com blog dedicated to all things HR. 

Rehiring former employees, also commonly known as ‘boomerang candidates’, is a growing trend, especially in industries with limited or extremely specialized workforces.

Rehiring boomerang candidates has both real benefits and real potential drawbacks for your company. On the one hand, boomerang candidates already have experience in and knowledge about your company – and maybe even your competitors. On the other hand, they did leave your company for a reason – and that reason needs to be resolved before rehiring them.

We’ll take a look at why you should consider hiring boomerang candidates, and what you need to do to ensure it goes smoothly.

1. Employees leave their jobs for two reasons 

Why should you hire an employee who left?

Employees leave their jobs for two reasons. Either they were asked to leave, or they left of their own volition. Ideally, if you’re considering rehiring a previous employee, it’s the former. But there may be situations in which you want to re-hire an employee who was let go. In either case, you need to do your research and find out the circumstances of their departure.

Was the employee terminated because of poor work performance? In that case, you probably don’t want to take them on again. But if the employee simply left for a better or different opportunity, they may have valuable insights and experiences to bring back to your company – and it could be a great idea to re-hire them.

2. The pros of a ‘boomerang candidate’

The good thing about boomerang employees?

They already have a good understanding of your company – your business operations, your processes, and, most importantly, your culture. Training and on-boarding new employees can be time-consuming and costly. With boomerang candidates, it’s easier. In most cases, they can pick up right where they left off – whether they’re coming back to the same position or a new one.

When you hire former employees, you know what you’re getting into.

There’s less of a risk that it won’t go well, because you already have an idea of that person as an employee. You know their character and their work ethic. You can expect (and likely receive) a certain level of productivity. And, having worked outside your company, they likely have significant competitive or industry-specific knowledge they can bring back.

3. The cons of a ‘boomerang candidate’

On the other hand, there are potential drawbacks you might encounter when hiring former employees.

There may be underlying, unresolved issues that contributed to their leaving in the first place. Those issues could prove to be important, especially if you’re considering a long-term working relationship with them. It could be anything from an issue with a manager to a cultural clash.

But no matter what the problem is or how much time has gone by, if it hasn’t been dealt with, it’s likely to resurface. And you – and your boomerang candidate – will find yourselves back at square one.

You usually know what you’re getting when you hire former employees. But there’s an exception to every rule. And sometimes, it may not turn out the way you expect. Time can change people’s priorities, as well as their character and their work ethic. Before committing to re-hiring an old employee, get a good read on what they’re like now – don’t just trust your memory of what they were like then.

 4. Stay in touch with your best employees, even after they leave your company

The number one thing you can do to increase the probability – and profitability – of boomerang candidates? Stay in touch with your best employees, even after they leave your company.

Recruiting and attracting top talent is never easy. By keeping in touch with workers who have left a good impression on your company, you widen your pool of potential candidates. You may be sad to see your best employees go, but keeping them close can help boost your company’s workforce in the future.

The takeaway? Hiring boomerang candidates can be a great way to get top talent. But the decision to take back a former employee should be considered carefully. Regardless of the candidate, you need to make sure they’re a good fit for your current culture and organizational needs – not those of the past.

Have you ever hired a boomerang candidate? What was your experience?

Abby Perkins is Managing Editor at Talent Tribune, a SoftwareProviders.com blog dedicated to all things HR.


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