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The New Candidate in the Hiring Pool

Apr 11, 2016 3:20:00 PM

There’s a new type of candidate circling the hiring pool: the boomerang employee think, LeBron and the Cavs. In the national survey of more than 1,800 human resources (HR) professionals, people managers, and employees, responses show that employee engagement should not end once the working relationship is over – especially between high-performing alumni and organizations with a strong corporate culture. However, this era of the boomerang employee creates a unique type of competition for job seekers and new challenges for organizations to maintain relationships with former high-performers.

Employees may be leaving jobs at historically high rates, but there’s a silver lining: A big bunch of them come back to their old employers. 

That’s the word from a new survey from a national staffing company. About 1,000 full- and part-time workers took part in the research, and nearly one in three (29%) said they’ve returned to a previous employer after leaving for some time. An additional 41% said they were open to being a similar “boomerang” employee.

Sixteen percent of workers said they would consider going back to a previous employer if a former manager or colleague expressed interest in having them do so.  An equal number indicated that they never wanted to leave their previous company in the first place, with non-work factors necessitating the move like continuing their education or having a baby.

And it doesn’t look like the former employers need to make the initial overture. More than half (55%) of workers said it is their responsibility to initiate conversation about making a return, versus only 28% who believe a previous colleague should reach out to them.

As you can see, the boomerang concept could have important implications for recruitment and hiring strategies. In fact, 36% of employees say they are more likely to work for a company that accepts boomerang employees. The benefits of hiring a boomerang employee are actually quite extensive — other than personal referrals from employees, some employers and recruiters believe that boomerang employees provide the second highest quality hires. The No. 1 benefit that boomerangs have is that they’re familiar with the organization’s culture and it’s easier to integrate them back to the culture.  It costs less to recruit, hire, and train someone who has already worked in an organization. When such employees come back, they also bring institutional knowledge from competitors. And if that rehire is a high performer, it can boost company morale.

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