Have you ever regretted leaving a company? Did you ever find out that the grass was brown instead of green upon starting in a new company? Have you ever looked on in envy as your ex-company moved on and thrived without you?
Sometimes we do make the wrong decision to leave. Whether born out of frustration at not being promoted, a terrible boss, boredom, or getting tempted by another company offering a solution to one or all of these issues. And after moving companies we can sometimes find ourselves in an even worse job and company.
When I used to work in HR there was definitely a company 'do not rehire' unwritten policy. I think it was purely a type of begrudging of the employee leaving in the first place and there was a whiff of teaching them a lesson for leaving in the air. I found it very sad and disappointing. After all, if someone has left and has gained broader experience, also likely competitor experience, surely that’s worth more to a company?
Then, about 10 years ago, I noticed a small change in employers’ stance. Especially in technology companies. They almost wanted some staff to leave and gain broader experience and ‘boomerang’ back to them after a few years to a bigger and often better role, where they reaped their experience for their own gains.
As always, other companies followed the trendy tech companies and started to tentatively re-hire. When I used to see an ex-employee application arrive in I would need to quickly check the system for their last few appraisals, to see if they were exemplary, before forwarding their application to a hiring manager. Needless to say, they would verbally check with any ex-manager to see what they ‘really’ thought of them.
In the last few years, with the market being an employee market again, employers cannot be too choosy. There are not enough strong candidates for jobs. Sometimes it really is better the devil you know!
If you are thinking of ‘boomeranging’ back to a former employer and feel worried about it and how you will be received, do talk to former colleagues to find out the lay of the land and whether there is an HR policy (written or unwritten) in place to support ex-employees returning. Be prepared for the vetting of old appraisals. If you didn’t score well in these, this may be something you will need to be prepared to answer in the interview, if you get one.
Be prepared to interview though! You have to appear to be humble and equal to any other candidate. Outline fully all the new skills you have acquired since you left and how these can help them, the company and you in the role. Impress upon them how you can leverage internal relationships from your old network from your past role. If it has been a few years since you were last in the company, be aware that systems, managerial style, processes, etc may be completely new and your old company may very much be a new company.
The key to returning to a past company is to ensure you are fully prepared for the interview. My Professional Interview Coaching programme is great for Boomerang interviews. The programme will be tailored to your needs, and I will help you to feel confident answering the questions that will come your way as a Boomerang candidate.
Book in a 20 minute free pre-coaching call to discuss your needs.
Clare Reed is a leading global expert Interview Coach with over 24 years global interviewing and coaching experience.