Should I go back to the ex-employer?

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Anyone returning to their former employer should also explain the step to the old new team. © Christin Klose/dpa-tmn

Back to the old employer? Sounds convenient. And a bit of failure. But impressions are usually deceptive: boomerang hiring can be a real opportunity.

Cologne/Hamburg – Returning – be it to the old love, to the parental home or to the old job – many associate it with the easiest way and comfort. Or they assume that the returnee didn’t make it somewhere else.

May be. But especially in your job, there are advantages to returning to your former employer after a few stopovers or a few years in another job. So-called boomerang hiring or rehiring also harbors risks.

Career coach Bernd Slaghuis advises that before you start working again with your ex-employer, you should think about why you left. Was it the corporate culture, the management or the tasks? You should only return if something has changed in this area, for example in the staffing.

Boomerang hiring is not a return to a warm nest

For the psychologist and coach Kristine Qualen, it is the inner attitude that counts: you should not assume that you will return to the warm nest. Instead, she recommends making it clear what development you have made professionally. What additional experiences have I gained? What skills have I expanded? Against the background you come back stronger.

Returnees should consider in advance how they justify their step in front of the team. In this way, radio communication and assumptions can be largely avoided.

Get rid of the stamp: Find a new role with the employer

And there’s another problem associated with boomerang hiring, both new and old: the stamp you may not be able to get rid of. “It can be like the trainee who stays with the company: He always remains the trainee,” says Slaghuis.

“It’s difficult to take on a new role and be seen as such by your colleagues.” You should be aware of this and prepare yourself accordingly. How do I want to reposition myself? This can happen through new topics and areas of responsibility, but also through your own behavior in the team. The coach advises that you should talk about this early on.

Take up the connection in the letter of application

Clear communication is also recommended in the application process: “In the cover letter, you should pick up on the connection and not pretend to be some external applicant,” says Slaghuis. He finds the connection to the company in the part about his own strengths and competencies that fits the topic.

For the interview, the applicant should also be prepared for uncomfortable questions, says Qualen. Explain the reasons why one left, for example. She recommends preparing well. Either by role-playing with someone you trust, or by recording your answers and listening to them afterwards.

Slaghuis advises keeping your eyes open during the conversation and not trusting that everything is the way it used to be. It would be better to ask specifically: I know this or that – is it still handled that way? “Every returnee should get an update of the good feeling.”

Opportunity for both sides

If you are open with each other, both sides can benefit from boomerang hiring. Former employees are familiar with the structures and bring fresh knowledge with them – ideally from a competitor, according to Slaghuis. “That’s the main reason employers are interested in bringing back former high performers.”

Those who already know the company and the local culture can rebuild their network more quickly, develop more quickly and thus be effective for the company more quickly, says Qualen. It is therefore also important at the beginning to discuss the medium and long-term perspectives in the new old company. This shows reliability, consistency and self-motivation. dpa

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