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boomerang employees

In years past, company loyalty was much more valued than it is today. Now, candidates are encouraged to jump around jobs to advance their careers. It is recommended to change jobs every 3 to 5 years in order to earn a bump in salary, title, change, and benefit offerings. It is not enough to only rely on internal promotions to advance in your career. So, more employees have been strategically changing jobs every few years in order to take advantage of better compensation and benefits packages elsewhere.

With that being said, the grass is not always greener on the other side. Some employees who accept a job offer from another organization will regret their decision to jump ship. While compensation may be higher at another company – treatment, management, and opportunity may not be as fruitful. Unfortunately, the only way to find this out is to resign and change jobs.

If you are an HR manager that recently had talented employees move to another company, there might be an opportunity for the employees to return back. While it used to be frowned upon and considered company disloyalty, this market has proven otherwise.

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Is it Common for Companies to Re-Hire Employees?

Returning back to an old position is much more common than it was in previous years. There are even benefits associated with rehiring employees who have previously worked for your company. Some of these perks include a smoother interview process, better pay transparency, no training required, and a shorter application-to-hire date. This article will explore the benefits of rehiring employees who have previously worked at your organization. This is an extremely common phenomenon that may result in your business operating more efficiently and cost-effectively.

Tips For Former Employers Interviewing Returning Candidates

One of the most important practices for a hiring manager to remember when rehiring former employees is to stick to your typical recruiting practices. In order to stay within compliance and not show signs of nepotism, it is important for recruiters to follow your standard hiring practice. You must pretend that you know nothing about the former employee and schedule a job interview with them, as you would with any other candidate. If you treat an old employee differently than another job-seeker in the hiring process, your HR team may be accused of showing favoritism or providing certain candidates with an unfair advantage.

Be sure to interview each and every candidate that is applying for a new position with a standard set of interview questions. No matter which role they are applying for, you will want to screen every potential hire for a good culture fit. When boomerang employees decide to leave the company, it is likely that the culture within the organization was different than it is when they reapply for a job. Company culture is meant to shift and grow as an organization experiences normal employee turnover. Therefore, you want to make sure that if you rehire boomerang employees, it will be a mutually beneficial partnership for both parties.

Furthermore, boomerang employees may have picked up new skills from the opportunities they have taken advantage of after leaving your organization. Make sure to consider the talent development of employees while they are gone, which means that they may be better suited for a different role within your company than they served before their resignation. During the recruitment process, the recruiter should therefore assess their skills, talents, and needs will help you make the best hiring choice for your business.

What Are Boomerang Employees?

Boomerang employee is a term used to describe workers that leave an organization and then re-apply for a position at that same company at a later date. It does not matter if the candidate worked for the organization for five months or five years. Any employee who leaves the company and returns to seek employment is considered a boomerang employee.

Pros and Cons of Boomerang Employees

As with any potential new hire, there are pros and cons to sending an offer out to boomerang employees at your organization.

Let’s start with the pros of rehiring candidates who your company has employed at a previous time. Boomerang employees are typically much cheaper to hire. This is because you will not have to spend as much money on employee training for this candidate as you would someone who is unfamiliar with the organization. Training costs can add up quickly at a company, especially if the organization has a high turnover rate. Learning and development specialists typically dedicate most of their time to ensuring that all new hires have the tools they need to be successful in a certain role. If you are hiring a boomerang employee, you can be confident that they have most of the tools needed to jump back into their prior position, which will make the onboarding process shorter.

Employee onboarding for boomerang employees is also much easier when compared to first-time hires. Boomerang employees will already have the connections needed from their previous time at the company, in order to ask questions and be successful. They will need less of a ramp time and will be able to dive right into bringing success to your organization.

As with hiring any employee, returning candidates come with their cons, too. Boomerang employees are sometimes considered a flight risk to organizations, as they have a reputation for previously leaving the company. This is why it is important for HR professionals to take into account how long the employee worked at the company prior to leaving and reapplying and the reasons for leaving. If the candidate worked for many years at the organization previously, they are less of a flight risk. It is likely that the candidate went searching for a better opportunity, only to realize they were more fulfilled at their previous organization.

The same is not always true for job candidates who only worked at the company for a short period of time before leaving and reapplying. Turnover rate is extremely important, especially when recruiting top talent and perfecting employer brand. Candidates like to see that organizations have a low turnover rate, as it is associated with higher levels of employee satisfaction and employee engagement.

How HR Can Automate Re-Hiring Employees

Human resources teams typically like employing boomerang candidates, as it is easy to automate within the HR dashboard. Even after an employee leaves an organization, the HR team must hold onto their information for tax and compliance purposes. Therefore, if a boomerang employee is rehired, the HR team can simply turn these work clothes back on. This makes automating processes such as payroll, benefits, and compliance, much easier. When it comes to running a business, time equals money. The less time your HR department spends onboarding new candidates, the more time they can spend on other projects.

The human resource teams can utilize HR system integrations to deploy company equipment to boomerang employees, paperwork, and other documentation. They will also be automatically added to internal company systems, such as the org chart, and other tools.

How to Encourage Returning Employees

If your company wants to encourage previous employees to reapply for an open position based on the perks listed above, there are a few ways to do so. Companies can offer a return bonus equal to the amount allocated towards training and onboarding a new candidate. This is to ensure that the organization is still saving money from hiring boomerang employees, while also encouraging returning candidates. This can be granted to the employee in their offer letter as a signing bonus.

Companies who are worried about high turnover can also offer this bonus after a certain period of time. For example, a bonus may be available to the employee after six months of successful employment at the organization. This is to ensure that candidates do not only reapply for a position in the company just to enjoy the bonus.

Organizations can also offer boomerang employees better benefits, improved titles, better salaries, or a higher position at the company overall.

Boomerang Employees and Company Culture

As we mentioned previously in this article, company culture is expected to change with natural employee turnover. With each new employee that your company hires, the organizational culture will change slightly. This is a sign of a normal and healthy business. With that being said, it is important to keep in mind the type of culture boomerang employees brought to the organization previously. Even if they were a stellar employee, if they brought toxicity to the workplace, it might not be worth rehiring them. Allow your hiring team to conduct an equal and fair interview process to accurately analyze their candidacy.

If the boomerang employee brought a positive company culture during their previous time of employment, this is a big perk for your organization and its work environment. If they have colleagues who they worked with, the likelihood of retaining these employees increases if you rehire a colleague that they enjoy working with.


We hope this article helped you better understand why companies choose to hire boomerang employees, and how you can embrace this type of higher within your organization. To prepare for returning candidates, it is encouraged to automate your HR system with HR software, to make the process as simple as possible.

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