The Art of Interviewing Boomerang Employees: Unlocking Their Potential

In today’s ever-evolving job market, the concept of “boomerang employees” – former employees who leave an organization only to return at a later date – has gained significant traction. These individuals possess a unique blend of familiarity with the company culture and newly acquired skills and experiences, making them valuable assets for any organization. However, effectively interviewing boomerang employees requires a tailored approach to uncover their motivations, growth, and suitability for the role. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the must-ask interview questions and provide invaluable insights to help you navigate the process seamlessly.

Understanding the Boomerang Employee Phenomenon

Before delving into the interview questions, let’s first understand the rationale behind hiring boomerang employees. According to a study, a staggering 61% of people would consider returning to their former employer. This trend offers several distinct advantages:

  • Familiarity with Company Culture: Boomerang employees have an in-depth understanding of your organization’s values, processes, and way of operating, making their integration smoother and more efficient.

  • Proven Track Record: Their previous tenure with your company provides valuable insights into their work ethic, skills, and performance, reducing the uncertainties associated with new hires.

  • Streamlined Onboarding: With prior knowledge of the company’s systems and procedures, the onboarding process for boomerang employees is often faster and more cost-effective.

  • Retention of Institutional Knowledge: By rehiring former employees, you retain valuable insights and knowledge about your organization’s operations and culture.

However, it’s crucial to approach boomerang employee interviews with a discerning mindset, as their reasons for leaving and returning may vary, potentially impacting their long-term commitment and success within your organization.

Essential Interview Questions for Boomerang Employees

To unlock the full potential of boomerang employees and ensure a mutually beneficial partnership, here are five essential interview questions to ask:

  1. “Please walk me through your resume since leaving [Company Name]. What skills and experiences have you gained?”
    This question allows you to gauge the professional growth and development of the candidate since their departure. It provides insights into their acquired skills, knowledge, and experiences that could enhance their performance in the role they are applying for.

  2. “Why did you initially leave the company?”
    Understanding the reasons behind their initial departure is crucial. Was it due to a misalignment of expectations, career aspirations, or personal circumstances? Their response will shed light on their motivations and help you assess whether those factors have been addressed or resolved.

  3. “What excites you about this role and returning to the company?”
    This question reveals the candidate’s current level of enthusiasm and interest in rejoining your organization. Their response should demonstrate a genuine desire to contribute to your company’s success and align with your organizational goals and values.

  4. “What are you looking for in your next opportunity?”
    Boomerang employees often return with a different set of priorities and expectations. By understanding their current career aspirations and desired work-life balance, you can better assess their fit within the role and your organization’s culture.

  5. “How would you hope to grow at the company?”
    This question allows you to gauge the candidate’s long-term commitment and ambition within your organization. Their response should indicate a willingness to continuously learn, develop, and contribute to the company’s growth.

In addition to these essential questions, it’s crucial to delve deeper into their experiences since leaving your organization. Inquire about any challenges they faced, lessons learned, and how they overcame obstacles. This insight will help you evaluate their resilience, problem-solving abilities, and personal growth.

Tips for a Successful Boomerang Employee Interview Process

To ensure a comprehensive and effective interview process, consider the following best practices:

  • Conduct reference checks: While you may be familiar with the candidate’s previous performance, it’s still important to conduct reference checks to gain insights into their recent experiences and professional growth.

  • Involve relevant stakeholders: Include key stakeholders, such as the candidate’s potential colleagues and managers, in the interview process. This will provide a well-rounded perspective and ensure a seamless integration if hired.

  • Assess cultural fit: Even though boomerang employees have previously worked within your organization, it’s essential to evaluate their current alignment with your company’s evolving culture, values, and goals.

  • Address concerns openly: If there were any past issues or conflicts that contributed to the candidate’s initial departure, address them openly and transparently. Seek solutions and ensure a positive working environment for their potential return.

  • Offer competitive compensation and benefits: While familiarity with your organization may be a draw, be prepared to offer competitive compensation and benefits packages to attract and retain top boomerang talent.

By following these best practices and asking the right interview questions, you’ll be well-equipped to make informed hiring decisions and unlock the full potential of boomerang employees within your organization.

Final Thoughts

In today’s competitive job market, boomerang employees offer a unique opportunity to leverage their expertise, institutional knowledge, and familiarity with your company’s culture. However, a thoughtful and comprehensive interview process is crucial to ensure a successful and mutually beneficial partnership. By asking the right questions and following best practices, you can gain valuable insights into their motivations, growth, and suitability for the role, ultimately making informed hiring decisions that contribute to your organization’s long-term success.

Remember, the art of interviewing boomerang employees lies in striking the perfect balance between leveraging their familiarity and assessing their alignment with your organization’s evolving needs and goals. Embrace this challenge, and you’ll be well on your way to building a talented and committed workforce that drives your company’s growth and success.

Who are Boomerang Employees? Hiring Ex Employees


What is a boomerang employee example?

An example of a boomerang employee is an employee choosing to leave their employer for another company, only to return six months later to retain their old title and compensation since they were dissatisfied with the other organization.

What are some tips for Boomerang employees to gracefully return to a former employer?

Negotiate the Offer Just because you’re going back to your old company doesn’t mean you should accept your old salary, even if you’re going back to your old role! While you were away, you’ve likely gained new skills and experiences that will benefit the company. Point these out as you negotiate your new salary.

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