Rehire a former employee?

Would you rehire a person who left your company and wants to come back? One of the biggest advantages to a previous employee is that they are a known commodity: you know their personality, work ethic, and skills. But how do you decide if they are a good candidate? Cheryl Hyatt, of Hyatt Fennell Executive Search, offers some criteria to evaluate.

1. What was their past performance? The single most important thing for you to consider is their previous track record. What was their performance while at your company? Did they bump along the bottom or continually exceed expectations? Did their co-workers enjoy working with them or did they sow workplace strife and frustration?

2. Why did they leave? The question is more nuanced than if they were fired. Did they quit because they were frustrated with the company? Those employees are poor choices for rehires; however, rehiring an employee who left due to a family situation, such as caring for an aging parent, can not only foster long-term loyalty with the rehired employee, but also raise morale of the rest of your staff, as they see the company values its employees.

3. What they’ve done in the meantime. Did they leave to pursue a degree or additional training? Rehiring an employee who has gained new skills and perspective, yet has insight into your company, is a strategic move; however, an employee who has had short stints at other organizations may be chronically unsatisfied.

4. Why are they applying now? Maybe you previously lacked growth opportunities, but have a new venture that they are an ideal candidate for. Be aware of employees who may be desperate and are turning to an old standby. Being a candidate’s backup choice does not set either of you up for a healthy relationship.