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HR Answers: Should You Rehire a Previous Employee? 

October 2017: Vol 40 No 10
Cheryl Hyatt 
4 questions to help determine if a former staffer is a good candidate 

job interviewIt’s not uncommon when sorting through a pile of résumés to come across a familiar name. If a former employee applies for a position with the organization they once left, is rehiring them a stroke of luck or a terrible mistake?

One of the biggest advantages to hiring a previous employee is that they are a known commodity: You know their personality, work ethic and skills. That knowledge goes both ways: They know the company’s procedures, culture and goals. If a good fit for rehire, they can offer significantly reduced retraining cost. But how do you decide if they are a good candidate? We offer 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 credit union? Did they bump along the bottom or continually exceed expectations? Did their coworkers enjoy working with them, or did they sow workplace strife and frustration?

2. Why did they leave? This 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, but also raise the morale of the rest of your staff, as they’ll see the company values its employees.

3. What have they 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 only short stints at other organizations may be chronically unsatisfied.

4. Why are they applying now? Maybe you previously lacked growth opportunities but now have a new venture, and your former employee is an ideal candidate. Beware 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.

With over 20 years of executive-search consulting experience, Cheryl Hyatt, partner at Hyatt-Fennell, has been responsible for successfully recruiting senior-administrative professionals for educational and non-profit organizations. Hyatt-Fennell brings over 60 years of combined highly successful executive search expertise to its clients, a reputation for achieving results on the national and international level, and the ability to place top executives with higher educational institutions nationwide.

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