Screening, Assessment, Interviewing

Would You Take Them Back if You Could?

In a recent article we looked at the pros and cons of rehiring former employees. Today, we present a few more considerations.

  • If the person was previously laid off, he or she may harbor resentment or mistrust.
  • The above “pros” do not guarantee that the individual is the best fit for the role now.
  • The fact that this candidate had worked at the organization before may mean he or she is not going to be a good candidate to bring new and fresh ideas. (This may not matter if you’re not looking for innovation in the new hire.)
  • The legal ramifications may be a little bit complicated, especially when it comes to any law that has a component related to tenure at the organization. Pension plans are one example of a policy that has components related to tenure—which could be complex when dealing with an employee coming back. Leave programs might be another example.
  • Other employees who never left may resent it if this person is brought back to the same or better role. This could impact morale. (This is the other side of the morale issue noted above.) They may also not trust that this individual will stay.

Of course, before considering bringing back a former employee, it’s important to look at both the details and the big picture. Were there negative circumstances surrounding that individual’s departure? Clearly, if the person was fired for cause, there may not be any argument to bring him or her back, ever. (And doing so may even be a questionable decision when it comes to ensuring the safety of other employees, if the reason for termination was serious.) But, if the individual simply resigned to pursue other opportunities and left on good terms, that’s a completely different story. Answer questions for yourself, such as: were the issues that led to that person leaving adequately addressed? Is he or she really the best candidate now? Consider the answers in the context of the pros and cons above to help make an informed decision.