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7 reasons to hire back the right former employees

Sharon Florentine | Sept. 23, 2015
Hiring back people who left your organization is never an easy decision, but more companies are saying yes to the right former workers. Find out why.

hiring former employees

The practice of re-hiring employees who left your organization no longer carries the same stigma it once did. In fact, a report produced by research and consulting firm and The Workforce Institute at Kronos reveals that enterprises are coming around to "boomerang" workers.

The survey, Boomerang Employees and the Organizations They Once Left, conducted in July 2015, included responses from 1,807 HR professionals, managers and employees. Nearly half of HR professionals claim their organization previously had a policy against rehiring former employees -- even if the employee left in good standing -- but 76 percent now say that their companies are now more accepting of hiring boomerang employees.

Managers agree, as nearly two-thirds said they are more accepting of hiring back former colleagues. While only 15 percent of employees said they had boomeranged back to a former employer, nearly 40 percent said they would consider going back to a company they once worked for.

High performers get high priority

In the past five years, 85 percent of HR professionals say they have received job applications from former employees, and 40 percent say their organization hired about half of those former employees who applied. This high hiring rate is not surprising, since HR professionals (56 percent) and managers (51 percent) say they give very high or high priority to job applicants who were former employees that left in good standing.

Giving priority to boomerang employees, however, only increases the pressure on an already tight job market. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports there are four job seekers for every open job available in the U.S. as of July 2015. Some companies see boomerangs as a way to gain a competitive edge through talent acquisition, while others see boomerang employees as a way to close the skills gap.

"Every year it gets harder to be a 'new' job seeker. It's harder to compete against boomerangs. It's harder to compete against passive talent (i.e., talent that's poached from competitors). There's a lot more pressure on companies to be the most competitive or risk losing the talent they've got," says Dan Schawbel, founder and principal at and an author author covering workforce management and management consulting.

Choose Wisely

Almeda warns that choosing the least risky option isn't always the best business decision. "Sometimes you want to hire someone who's never worked for you before, who has a fresh, new and innovative perspective and who can bring new ideas and ways of thinking," he says.


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