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Boomerang Employee

Did you know that the existence of boomerang (as one of the first flying objects designed by humans) was acknowledged in 1822.? A variety of similar tools was presented to us over the years, and the word boomerang managed to obtain numerous new meaning and connotations, especially lately due to the increased usage of social media and its special effects. However, one of the sequences often related to the term boomerang is actually in connection to hiring. Rehiring, to be terminologically correct. Yes, former employees can also move through time and companies according to a Boomerang trajectory. Is it a good idea? 

What is Boomerang Employee? 

To start appropriately analyzing all the pros and cons of hiring a former employee a second time around, let’s take a brief moment to define the phenomenon known as a Boomerang Employee. 

Boomerang Employee is a special term for employees who leave the company, but want to come back at some point.

Employees might start looking for a job opportunity elsewhere, and there are countless reasons for such a decision to be made. Some are driven by personal reasons, while others are directed purely by professional goals. Whether they’ve been motivated by a higher salary or by a particularly challenging project that awaits in this other company, the outcome is pretty much the same from the employer’s perspective. These two reasons, accompanied by intimate motives (family matters, moving to another location, etc.) are usually the most probable explanations why an employee might decide to leave the company. Of course, some are urged to quit working altogether. 

However, this is sometimes a temporary state of affairs. Some employees leave only for a certain period. And they make a comeback as a rehired employee. 

Do boomerang employees affect a good hiring practice? 

This one’s the definition of that (in)famous metaphorical sword with two sharp edges. Luckily enough, studies have been conducted, and Hiring Managers were transparent enough when it comes to this particular topic. 

One of the researches shows that more than 70% of HR experts would happily rehire a former employee. 

Metrics were a bit different when it came to the real former employees’ experience. HR Managers and Hiring Managers, although being generally in favor of Boomerang employees, actually rehired a significantly smaller number of formerly hired candidates. It’s been acknowledged that around 15% of former employees boomerang their way into a company. 

If you’re considering rehiring candidates, here are some pros and cons. 

The advantages of choosing Boomerang Employee

✅ You’re familiar with the candidate’s skill-set.

Yes, it’s very likely they’ve even managed to amplify their previous knowledge and skills. Their interests are possibly expanded as well, and this might be beneficial for your current team and their needs. 

✅ The onboarding process will be a piece of cake.

It takes next to nothing to introduce a rehired employee to your companies goals, values, processes, and methodologies. Rehiring will undoubtedly cut the onboarding time and the cost that this adjustment period usually implies. Things do change, but the essential duties and responsibilities remain pretty much the same. 

✅ Once a culture fit – always a culture fit.

Your old employee already knows what your company aspires to. They know their way around the company, and they will be compatible in terms of both social and business aspects. 

The possible drawbacks of rehiring

❎ Questionable ability to fit into the altered role

Although their performance was more than awesome the first time around, this might not be the case after rehiring. If some of the requirements have changed, this might cause confusion and trouble with adapting to new tasks and expectations. If there’s a new project involved, this might also mean their positive outcome might be uncertain. 

❎ So, they left once.

Who’s fault was it? If things didn’t end on good (“good” being the euphemism) terms, the future conflict is hanging by a thread over the newly established boomeranged role. 

❎ Bias. Loyalty. Coexistence? Trust issues. Trust issues everywhere!

Not that we’re judging. If an employee already decided to quit once, what will it take to prevent them from repeating the same behavioral pattern? There’s a massive percentage of a chance they will not go with the same action all over again. But will their teammates and employers ever be certain? And how will this deficit of trust be reflecting in the working environment? 

Questions to ask when rehiring 

Choosing to rehire a former employee over a new, unfamiliar candidate might seem like the safest option, but for the sake of the company, HR Managers or recruiters need to have some important questions in mind from the beginning of the rehiring process. Being able to ask these questions and collect sincere and objective answers in return represents an astonishingly important step. 

✔ Ask them about the first time they were employed at your company. The entire experience and their perception of your company are significant, but possibly the most important part of the story (in this case) is the way they left. The reasons behind their choice to leave the company are obviously noteworthy. The terms on which they left is crucial. Was there any bad blood, and how bad did it get? 

If the situation got as messy as a Hollywood divorce, the HR or recruiter must answer a set of inevitable questions. To themselves. Is the problem fixable, or should you completely forget about the boomerang employment this time?

✔ Their motivation to come back to the company. What makes them aim to be rehired? What do they expect to accomplish, and how? What do they offer to the company and the team, how will they contribute? What should be different this time? And more. These questions constitute the basic structure of the (re)interview. Each interviewer should modify them and incorporate them in an interview in such matters to gather all relevant facts and come to an unbiased conclusion. 

✔ What were they focused on in the meantime? It’s only natural to assume the boomerang employees come back with some newly obtained bits of knowledge and insights, and they can bring some new ideas to the team. 

Boomerang hiring with all of its ups and downs 

Hiring as such can’t be defined that easily. There are way too many factors that differentiate one employer from another. Each company has its preferences and priorities when hiring. And every company has a unique opinion regarding the rehiring matter. 

Whether you’re already more inclined towards one option, double-checking the facts before ultimately embracing one stable attitude on Boomerang employment should be in order. Facing all the perks and disadvantages with the same objectivity will always be the right choice.