Posted By: Deanna DeBenedictis

With Massachusetts' unemployment rate continuing its downward trend, attracting the top candidates is becoming a more difficult and time-consuming process. One way to increase the pool of quality applicants is to consider re-hiring former employees.

Once a practice hiring professionals counseled against, bringing back former employees has been trending for the last few years. It can be a smart, cost-effective way to add highly-sought after candidates to your staff, but there are a number of factors to weigh.

First and foremost, why did the individual leave? Maybe good employees departed amicably to pursue new challenges, or others were laid off due to companywide belt-tightening. Bringing them back can have multiple positive implications, from adding an enthusiastic employee with improved skills and leadership abilities to building morale.

If the applicant seeking to return was fired or underperformed in their previous position, it's important to thoroughly check references and speak with current colleagues to understand if prior issues and deficiencies have been resolved. Bringing back a marginal or poor employee because you need a warm body to fill a position can create lasting damage, especially in terms of team morale.

The pros to re-hiring so-called "boomerang" employees can greatly outweigh the cons. They already know and understand the company culture and policies. They'll likely require less training and could be in position to make an impact sooner than individuals new to the company. Having gained experiences elsewhere s/he could bring fresh ideas and an outsider's perspective on best practices and growth strategy.

Make sure, however, to genuinely consider if the candidate is the best person for the job or if s/he is a quick solution. Also consider if the job is the best fit for the candidate, because if either answer isn't a definitive "yes," you could be reposting the job ad sooner than expected.

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