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Should You Rehire a Former Employee?

Quality employees are difficult to find and can be even harder to keep, so you want to make sure they stick around when you get a good one. Unfortunately, the job market can be complicated for hiring managers. Therefore, when a great employee leaves your organization for a “better” opportunity, only to contact you a few months or a year later asking to come back, the obvious choice would be to rehire them and get back a great employee. Before jumping to conclusions, though, the real question to ask yourself is, should you?

As with anything involved in hiring or recruiting, this can be a challenging decision to make, especially when there are pros to cons that come with making either choice.

Pros of Rehiring a Former Employee

  • Knowledge of the organization. Former employees already know how a company works, its culture, and what the processes are. They should have a built-in understanding of unwritten rules and hierarchy, both of which take time for a new hire to comprehend right off the bat.
  • Acting as an example. Think of how it looks to current employees when a former employee returns to the company they once chose to leave. It shows the company is a great place to work and an opportunity that shouldn’t be taken for granted. It’s a reminder to current employees that they have a good thing going.
  • Limited onboarding resources. Since a rehire has already been through a previous onboarding process, it shouldn’t be as in-depth the second time around. This allows for less time on resources to bring on a new hire.
  • Saving money. Research shows it costs half as much to rehire a previous employee as it does to hire a brand-new person. Consider the amount you spend on recruiting efforts to find a new hire. If you rehire a previous employee, there’s no need for a traditional recruitment campaign.
  • Increased productivity and longevity. Rehires are 40% more productive in their first quarter of work, and they tend to stay at the job longer because employees that return to a company already learned the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

Cons of Rehiring a Former Employee

  • Chance of leaving again. They’ve left once, so who’s to say they won’t do the same thing again. People grow, and there’s a chance a former employee has matured and learned enough with time away to become a lifer, but there are no guarantees.
  • Reignition of past grudges. If someone within your company has a grudge against the rehired employee, this means the friction might ignite again. If this is the case, be careful team morale isn’t damaged.
  • Not best candidate. Rehiring a former candidate means that, most likely, you won’t go through as detailed of an interview process, if one at all. You could be missing out on a higher quality candidate if a thorough vetting process among other applicants isn’t performed.
  • Sense of entitlement. A returning employee might come in like a bull in a china shop if they don’t see themselves as a “new” employee. If the rehire was with the company for a significant period prior, they might have a feeling of seniority or the entitlement of certain perks.
  • Payment requests. In a situation where the former employee doesn’t come crawling back but is pursued to come back, they might request a substantial amount of pay to return.

So, the real question is, would you rehire a former employee? Join the conversation on LinkedIn and check out Best Hiring Practices in 2021.