Here Come The Boomerangs

Here Come The Boomerangs

Here’s a scenario I’m sure many of you have found yourself in: You’re looking through resumes for a new job posting, weeding out the chaff, trying hard to understand if some of them even read the job posting and then you see it: the boomerang.

A candidate who used to work for your company applying to come back. In the past, many of you may have rejected the applicant because they already left you once. Even those of you without an official policy on the matter, may have wondered what would keep them from leaving again? A new survey suggests attitudes about boomerang employees may be changing. But should it?

The survey of 1,800 HR professionals, people managers and employees in the US revealed a number of interesting insights into the boomerang candidate and how companies are viewing them today. The study is cited as the first release in The Employee Engagement Lifecycle Series and was commissioned by The Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated and Here are some of the highlights:

  • 85% of HR professionals have received an application from a former employee in the past five years
  • Three-quarters of HR professionals and two-thirds of managers say they are more accepting of former employees now than in the past
  • 15% of employees said they had boomeranged back to a former employer
  • For Millennials that number is 46%, suggesting we’re missing opportunities to convince them of our employer value proposition before they leave
  • Familiarity with corporate culture was identified as the biggest benefit to hiring former employees, while 1/3 also cited reduced training needs

From the looks of those numbers – especially the high number of millennial boomerang employees – this cohort is going to be an increasingly competitive candidate segment.

Despite the benefits of hiring a former employee, it’s important not to treat them differently in the recruiting process. More than ¼ of respondents say these employees may encounter the same issues that caused them to leave in the first place. They may have been part of your organization before, but it’s important to make sure they are a fit for the current role.

At The McQuaig Institute, we recommend and support a three-step process to make sure you get the right person – boomerang or otherwise – for the job.

  1. Create a target, or Employee Persona, that includes the key temperament and behavior style that’s required for success in the role and the company.
  2. Assess candidates against this target and use behavioral interviewing techniques – including SARR probing – really get a sense of what a candidate WILL do on the job, not just what they CAN do.
  3. Develop a personalized development plan for your new hire catering to their strengths, natural behavioral style and learning style.

By following that three-step process, you’re much more likely to hire someone who will be productive and stay with you, and not boomerang back to someone else.

What’s your experience with hiring former employees? Are boomerangs a good thing, or do they bring back all their problems, too?




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