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The business world is abuzz about the benefits of hiring boomerang employees. Doing so offers several benefits, like a cheaper and faster recruiting and onboarding process. But there are also a few things you need to consider before hiring a boomerang candidate.

Why did they leave your company, and why do they want to return? These are valid questions that need answering before considering their suitability for your latest job openings. Even more crucial is the time lapse since they left. Your company, and your former employee, may have undergone some changes.

To help, we have put together this guide to hiring boomerang employees. Our tips for rehiring a boomerang candidate will help you address all these issues so you can make the best choice for your organization.

You will also learn why a corporate alumni platform like Aluminate for Enterprise is the key to staying in touch with your alumni and rehiring boomerangs.

What are boomerang employees?

A boomerang employee is someone who returns to their previous place of employment at a later date. This can be weeks, months, or even years later. When they return, they bring with them knowledge about your company’s processes, as well as skills they acquired during their time away.

Over 40% of employees who resigned during what was termed ‘The Great Resignation’ regretted their decision and felt they were better off at their previous employer. And the same research shows that about a quarter of those employees ‘boomeranged’, returning to the companies they left.

Is this a passing phase or a lasting trend? 

This is not a passing phase; the boomerang trend shows no signs of disappearing. Boomerang employees have always existed. It has just become more common in recent years and we now have a name for this phenomenon.

Fortunately, rehiring boomerang employees offers even more benefits for the company than the former employee. Let’s examine the most compelling reasons why you should consider hiring a boomerang candidate.

boomerang candidate

3 reasons you should rehire a boomerang candidate

Unsure about why you should hire a boomerang candidate? Here are the top benefits:

1. Time and cost savings

Recruitment is rarely a speedy process. HR professionals know they can save time and up to $50,000 when rehiring a former employee. Your corporate alumni are already familiar with your work processes and therefore require less training and onboarding than other new hires.

2. New skills and perspectives

Your boomerang candidate has likely acquired new skills and perspectives since leaving your company. Your business will benefit from these developments in your former employee’s career path. That is why staying connected with your corporate alumni, even those who do not boomerang, is so important.

3. Enhances employer brand and company culture

Your employer brand and company culture also get a boost when rehiring former employees. People will perceive your company as an excellent place to work because those who resign inevitably wish to return. It is a major boost to your brand marketing and keeps current employees engaged, reducing employee turnover.

4 things to consider before rehiring your former employee

1. When the boomerang candidate resigned, they must have given a reason for doing so in their exit interview. If they sought new challenges or better compensation, you could address such issues now. If they were unhappy with their work environment, it may still be a problem.

2. Why do they want to return? If they miss the company culture and camaraderie, they will fit in again quickly. However, when a boomerang employee returns with unrealistic job expectations or unresolved issues, these will need to be addressed.

3. How much time has passed since they left your employ? Returning employees may find it easy to get back to work if it has been a few months or even a year. But when many years have passed, they will probably need as much onboarding and training as any other new hire.

4. As time goes by, people change, and companies do too. You may no longer need the same skill sets you once did. Assess any new skills they may have developed, and you will quickly see whether or not potential boomerang employees are still a ‘good fit’ for the company.

boomerang candidate

Interview questions to ask a boomerang candidate

The interview questions you ask depend on the job opening you are aiming to fill. However, here are some additional interview questions that you need to ask a boomerang candidate.

  • “Why did you leave us?” 

Some employees are quick to resign when they find a work role is not what they hoped it would be. If they answer that they weren’t happy with their job, whether by you or the employer that they worked for after leaving you, consider them a flight risk. If they left once, they could do it again.

  • “Why do you want to return?” 

Their answer to this question will give you insight into their motivations. While no one wants to consider that their returning employee has ulterior motives, it is always a possibility. This is more likely if they left to work for a competitor, and asked to return shortly after.

  • “Why should we rehire you rather than hire from among other candidates?“

This is their opportunity to list any new knowledge or skills they have acquired that will suit the current job offer. Their answer will also show you if they have the skills needed for the job at hand, and if they are still a good cultural fit in your workplace.

4 Tips for rehiring a boomerang candidate 

Here are our top tips for rehiring boomerang employees.

1. Stay connected with former employees via an alumni network

As far as possible, remain in contact, and on good terms, with employees who resign. This is a whole lot easier when you have an alumni network that they can be a part of after they leave. An alumni platform like Aluminate for Enterprise will keep them engaged with your organization and other employees.

It is the perfect place to look for potential rehires when you have some key positions to fill. So when a potential boomerang employee leaves, add them to both your alumni and talent pool lists.

2. Assess fit and growth potential

If significant time has passed since your boomerang candidate left, a lot may have changed. They might have to adapt to a new hiring process, a new role, a more senior position, or new co-workers. All of these may be true, and that is a lot of change. Ask them how they intend to handle all these factors.

Then there is the matter of their career goals and their growth potential. If they originally left because they wanted more of a challenge, they will still expect it when you rehire them. Discuss their expectations with them during the interview process and be honest about how their new role might fit in with their goals.

boomerang candidate

3. Offer competitive compensation and benefits

Was your former employee’s decision to resign primarily financially driven? When boomerang workers leave to fulfill the same role at a different company but for higher pay, simply matching their previous salary might not suffice.

Be prepared that when you rehire boomerang employees, you may need to offer better compensation and benefits. These may be considerably higher than you’ll need to offer candidates who have not previously worked for you.

4. Facilitate reintegration and celebrate their return

Your boomerang employee might be bringing a whole lot of new skills to the table. But if they have been gone from the company for a long time, they will need support, mentorship, coaching, and resources just like any other new hire.

Give them the support they need to reintegrate. Use your corporate community platform to give them access to extra learning tools. Use it to introduce them to new colleagues they didn’t know during their previous tenure, and celebrate their return with a hearty welcome from existing employees.

If you do not have a platform that can do all that, investing in the Aluminate community builder is a must. Our digital dashboard is user-friendly and shows relevant content to each user.

Streamline the boomerang employee rehiring process with Aluminate for Enterprise

A boomerang candidate is a former employee who returns to your company at a later date. They typically offer new skills and insights that they learned while working for another employer. It is a tight labor market, and hiring a former employee means you’ll fill the position faster and use fewer resources.

Before you rush into rehiring past employees, determine if it is in your best interest to do so. Your employee left for a reason. If they worked somewhere else in the interim, they have left that employer for a reason too. You will have less to worry about if you have stayed in contact since they left.

Aluminate for Enterprise allows you to stay connected to your employees, past and present. Leading businesses use this platform for their corporate community building and alumni management. It’s time you did too. Request a demo today.