The boomerang hire is making a comeback, so to speak. Over one third of HR Directors have recruited a former employee and just 7% would rule it out. Could rehiring one of your former team members be the answer to filling the skills gap in your business or a disaster in the making?
Rehiring a former employee isn’t as simple as welcoming them back into the fold with open arms. People and companies grow and evolve. What suited your hiring needs the first time around won’t necessarily be the perfect match the second time but with careful evaluation it could be a viable solution.
Boomerang employees are an additional source of qualified candidates to include in your hiring mix. The advantages of hiring an ex-employee include:-
- Reduced time to hire and cost of hire.
- A better cultural fit. Your ‘new’ employee already has in-depth knowledge of your organisation. Onboarding is also easier due to their previous tenure, making the whole transition from new hire to team member much smoother and faster.
- Boomerang employees who contact HR to discuss potential job openings want to work for you.
- The return of a respected employee may help to improve staff turnover. If your top performers are exploring the jobs market, the return of a popular former colleague may prompt them to think again.
Despite these advantages, a quarter of HR directors questioned by Robert Half stated they had hired a boomerang employee but wouldn’t do it again. Understanding the original motivation behind your employee’s departure will help to evaluate and support your decision to rehire them. People leave jobs for a variety of reasons, for example:-
Career advancement : These boomerang employees typically return to a higher paid, more responsible role and may have been away for up to five years.
The ‘now or never’ syndrome : People who have worked for your business for a long time may leave after reaching their ‘now or never’ moment. Sometimes this works for them, sometimes they realise the grass isn’t always greener with another company. Broken promises, poor leadership and unrealistic expectations may lead them to the conclusion that their old job wasn’t so bad after all.
Personal reasons : A major life event, relocation or health concerns can lead to the departure of a key employee.
The ‘continuous candidate’ : A new Manpower report ‘Always Looking : The Rise Of The Continuous Candidate’ (people who constantly search for a new job even if they are employed) found that 30% of UK workers fall into the ‘always looking’ category. They believe that every job is temporary. The continuous candidate may have had no other motivation for leaving your business.
To avoid potential problems with your boomerang hire, include the following steps in your hiring process:-
- Resist the temptation for a ‘quick fix’. Review your reasons for making the hire, together with the career history and performance of your former employee. You may be overlooking more qualified applicants in your recruitment funnel. HR analytics will help you to select the right candidate for your vacancy.
- Include former employees in the mix of candidates attending interview and use your recruiting software to assess them on an equal basis, through your ATS, online screening assessments and video interviews. Company culture evolves and people change. Ensure your new/old hire is fully aware of relevant changes within your business.
- Review the reasons given by your boomerang hire for leaving your company the first time. If a lack of on-the-job training or career development opportunities prompted their departure, your policies need to have changed or the outcome won't.
- Process your boomerang hire as you would all new hires to ensure their updated CV is an accurate reflection of their experience away from your business. Nearly two thirds of job applications submitted this year contain inaccurate information. Don’t skip the reference check.
- Address potential issues with your existing team. Loyal employees might feel resentment towards a former colleague who returns to the fold on a higher pay or position while they have shown commitment without being recognised. If it doesn’t work out a second time, you risk demoralising key staff members. To improve the probability of a successful hire, review the outcome of previous boomerang hires through your recruitment data.
- Wary of recruiting a potential ‘continuous' boomerang candidate’? Consider hiring on a contract or project based agreement.
- Carry out exit interviews for all departing employees to ensure a faster process if they prove to be a future boomerang hire.
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