In an economy finally recovering from a recession, thousands of qualified and previously laid-off job searchers are finally finding work. Surprisingly, many job seekers are finding employment at their old companies. These “boomerang” employees often have several advantages over fresh recruits, since global competition is forcing companies to acquire a workforce with a shorter learning curve. And who better to hire than former employees?
A study by WorkplaceTrends.com shows that over 75 percent of 1,800 human resources managers and recruiters see boomerang employees as good candidates for openings, despite nearly 50 percent of the companies they work for having formal policies against their hiring. In fact, more than half of all surveyed hiring executives place boomerangs on their “high” and “very high” priority list of candidates.
Familiarity a Key Reason
A shortage of talent is one of the reasons for this shift in attitudes, but the key factor that makes boomerangs stand out is their familiarity with the old company, as well as its processes and work environment. With a returning employee, hiring managers don’t have to worry quite as much about things not working out with new recruits, which is a common problem.
Is It Possible to Return?
It’s perfectly acceptable to boomerang, particularly if you left your company on good terms and for one of the following reasons:
- Family matters, often related to illness or a death in the family
- Forced relocation (e.g., spouse was assigned to another state, city, or country)
- Returning to college/school
- You had to take an opportunity to develop new skills or advance your career
- You took a break from work
If you’re thinking about going “home” to your old company, here are some tips to help make things easier for you.
TIP 1: Talk to Your Former Officemates
This should be easy if you’ve kept in touch with your old colleagues. Sit down with the people still working at your old company to see if anything has changed since you left. Someone who’s been away from Company X for three years may be in for a surprise on the day of return, discovering new technology is being used and that management styles have changed. Before you commit to any interviews, do your homework.
TIP 2: Think of Tomorrow
You may have insider knowledge on how your old company works, but don’t let this go to your head. During interviews, avoid focusing on your ‘old days’ at the company, as this can make you look like you’re stuck in the past. Make it a point to show that you’re looking forward to the future and to what the company has going on now. Of course, you can always point out things you liked or didn’t like during your prior tenure there, but take care not to make it seem that you’re only back because of certain things you loved before. You’ll only make the interview awkward.
TIP 3: Explain Why You Want to Return
During the job interviews, show that you genuinely miss your old company by specifying the reasons. Emphasize that you no longer have the baggage that compelled you to leave, and mention your desire to return to work.