To rehire or not to rehire – is it a smart move?

There is the belief that when an employee leaves a company it’s because they’re unhappy. While this may be true some of the time, more often people leave for other reasons such as a more senior position, a better salary or an opportunity to work with an emerging technology.

This is especially true in senior positions where there may be limited opportunities to move up within an organization. So the question is, when there’s a vacancy and you know exactly who could be right for the job, do you hire them back?

There are several benefits to hiring back someone who’s worked in the company before, provided they have a strong work history and left on good terms.

There is the obvious factor that they already know the company, its structure and policies and will be able to hit the ground running, so as to speak. However, the real benefit is in the knowledge and experience gained outside of the company, because this can bring in a fresh perspective and new knowledge.

They may have worked in another sector in the industry or even a related industry and been exposed to emerging technologies or different methodologies. There is the possibility that they could have working knowledge of new systems or technologies and be able to implement these to improve operational efficiency.

Why would they come back?

If you want to lure a past employee back, it can’t just be about the benefits for the company. There needs to be something that makes it worthwhile for the employee too that goes beyond the salary package.

Will there be learning opportunities for them? Will they be stimulated enough by their responsibilities and scope of work? Just because someone can do a job, doesn’t necessarily mean they want to do the job, especially if it’s something they’ve done for years. There needs to be something more, and it’s important to find out what that “more” might be for the individual.

Additionally, while may be familiar with the culture and policies, they may not have liked them. Has the culture changed? Have things improved? Or will they have the authority to implement the changes they deem are necessary?

Bottom line is that re-hiring can be very effective, especially for senior positions. However, it needs to be worth it for both the company and candidate.