Boomerang Recruitment – How to Capitalize on this 2016 Hiring Trend

For those who aren’t familiar with the term, boomeranging or boomerang recruitment basically means sourcing candidates that have already left one company for another and have decided to come back to the first for one reason or another. In the past and somewhat in the present, boomerang candidates carry a certain stigma. “Nearly one-third of HR professionals and managers claim boomerang employees have a stigma hanging over their heads that they might leave again, and more than one-quarter say these employees may have the same baggage they originally left with.” However, that stigma doesn’t appear to be enough to keep human resources professionals from considering this type of candidate in today’s ever-competitive recruiting environment.

Per Forbes, “In a recent study, we found that 48% of companies had a policy against hiring boomerang employees in the past, but now 76% say they are more accepting of hiring them.” That’s a high rate of change! Companies are clearly realizing that to get the best talent, sometimes you have to rehire someone who has already worked for you.

Some reasons why a candidate might make a choice to “boomerang” include:

  1. They are now eligible for a better pay after gaining experience elsewhere
  2. A more defined career path with the original company is now open that wasn’t available to them previously
  3. They left for an educational or travel opportunity which is now complete
  4. They were semi-retired and they now want to work in a more part-time or per diem capacity
  5. Nostalgia! Maybe they left for greener pastures and found that the other side was actually brown…this sort of thing happens more than you’d think

So why should companies welcome back boomerangs? Well there are lots of reasons, but here are just a few that will directly affect your bottom line.

  1. They will get up to speed faster than a new hire
  2. They already understand the company culture
  3. They may be the best candidate and might cost the least to hire
  4. Sourcing time will be cut down significantly

In past generations, it was less likely that candidates would boomerang, but in the current hiring climate newer generations are capitalizing on previous work associations to further their careers and in some cases, backtrack after leaving a job preemptively. “Looking deeper, 46 percent of Millennials would consider returning to their former employer, compared to 33 percent of Gen Xers and 29 percent of Baby Boomers. In an era where job-hopping among young professionals has become the norm, this could suggest that Millennial employees might be leaving organizations too soon.”

So what are some ways you can isolate and benefit from this recruitment trend?

  1. Isolate a list of previous employees who left on good terms
  2. Identify which of those employees left for educational reasons
  3. Assess whether you have something new to offer a former employee that might make you more competitive in today’s market and promote it with either:
    A: Direct mail or email via an internal list
    B: A come back promotion spearheaded by current employees who may have connections with past employees


Boomerang candidates aren’t always the answer to hiring for a hard-to-fill vacancy, but they are an option that should be considered. Sometimes the best candidate is the one you hired previously. Want to talk about running a boomerang recruitment campaign for your company? Have questions?

Contact Mike Walsh