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What to Do When Boomerang Candidates Come Back to You

When employers are hit with a case of déjà vu seeing a familiar resume for a current job opening, there’s only one explanation for this occurrence: they’ve found a boomerang candidate. Just as the famous Aussie boomerangs are known to return to where they came from, boomerang candidates are what the staffing industry refers to as a past employee or past applicant that is attempting to return to an organization.

Why did they leave? What do they intend on accomplishing this time around? Below, we’ve listed some items to consider when employers are looking to hire a past employee or past applicant.

What value do they bring?

New Skills: When boomerang candidates leave one company to work for another, they bring with them skills they’ve gained in their past roles to use for further gain. The same goes for past employees that once worked for an employer, as their new ventures will enable them to bring fresh insights from an outside organization.

Easier Onboarding: Past experience also brings along with it a familiarity with an employer’s corporate culture and structure, making onboarding a simpler process. Former employees may require additional training if a new software has been introduced, but they have a competitive advantage over fresh applicants by having already worked for this employer.

Easier Screening Process: When addressing past applicants that may not have been the perfect fit for any available roles, employers can rest assured that they’ve already been vetted and pre-screened to save themselves time qualifying these candidates for new opportunities. In turn, roles can be filled faster if a majority of the groundwork has been taken care of.

Establishing Clear Channels of Communication

If an employer is entertaining the option of engaging with a past employee to add them to their current headcount, insight from the team from which the candidate left should be put into consideration. They may not have enjoyed working with this individual during their tenure, or if they did they could provide key insight into some of the advantages and disadvantages that this individual brought to the team while employed.

Establishing a clear job description is an essential element that can’t be ignored – a past employee’s expectations may have increased or altered in a negative way since departing. To make matters worse, if current members have shouldered some of their old responsibilities, the past employee may have expectations to regain those responsibilities upon their return, so it would be advantageous to have a team discussion to redistribute duties accordingly.

Review Exit Interview Findings

If an employee left on bad terms, employers are encouraged to reevaluate the circumstances of their departure to determine if any risks will be assumed if they’re hired. In addition to the exit interview review, employers can opt for an entrance interview to determine what the candidate wishes to gain from their newest employment opportunity.

Benefit to Niche Roles

If the candidate pool for niche roles is running dry, hiring a previous employee brings with it the advantage of securing a resource that is already trained and vetted to perform this role with ease.

How to Draw Boomerang Candidates Back

If employers are looking to engage with star-studded candidates that have moved on to other roles, staying in touch to nurture the candidate experience will keep them close if employers are looking to keep a resource in their back pocket for a rainy day.

Employers: before you try to catch a boomerang candidate, assess the needs of your current workforce and the state of your past relationship with this applicant before any decisions are made.

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