Boomerang Employees: How And Why You Should Hire Them

The Great Resignation of 2021 saw millions of workers leave their jobs to explore new opportunities, but it hasn’t worked out for everyone. The last 12 months have shown that many are prepared to backtrack and return to what they know best – earning them the title of ‘boomerang employees’.


What is a boomerang employee?


Boomerang employees are workers that return to an employer having previously left the company. They typically come back to the same role as before, but will sometimes pursue a slightly different career path within the same organization depending on the situation.

The Workplace Institute estimates that 15% of US workers have become boomerang employees and returned to their former employer at some point in their careers, with another 40% indicating that they’d consider doing the same if the opportunity presented itself.


What does the boomerang worker trend mean for recruiters?


Although recruiters may be concerned that employers will simply choose to miss out the middleman in this scenario, a lot of organizations will actually fail to consider the re-hiring option without the input of a recruitment agency.

For example, not many employers are aware that the cost-to-hire for boomerang employees is 30-60% less than it is for new recruits, and choose to go down the traditional recruitment agency route to cast their net as wide as possible. This is despite research suggesting that the average Fortune 500 company could save as much $12 million on recruitment by re-hiring former employees.

The boomerang trend is certainly recognized among staffing and recruitment personnel. Industry studies show that 76% of recruiters are now more inclined to hire boomerang employees than they have been in the past.


What are the benefits of hiring boomerang employees?


The hiring process can be made much quicker by targeting boomerang workers.

Firstly, onboarding becomes much more efficient. Most of the required documentation will already be on file and training requirements are minimal compared with other candidates.

The fact that they are already familiar with the company culture gives returning employees a head start too. Tight bonds with previous colleagues can be re-established quickly and knowing what to expect in terms of the employer-employee relationship creates a productive environment for everyone.

When a former employee returns to a company, it doesn’t just imply that there is a good culture fit, it also indicates a degree of loyalty – something that is synonymous with high performing individuals.

A 2021 study by Cornell University found that boomerang employees generally feature among the top performers within an organization, and as a result, are likely to be promoted sooner than new hires. These progression capabilities can be traced back to the comparatively high job satisfaction and commitment showcased by returning team members.

There is also a lot to be said for the fresh perspectives that returning staff bring with them having spent time at another organization. After all, new experiences help develop new skills that stay with a worker for the duration of their career.

If they are returning from a competitor, boomerang employees will have gained a valuable insights into the way rival businesses operate, enabling them to suggest process improvements that have been tried and tested elsewhere.

Finally – and perhaps most importantly – there are cost savings to consider. The work required in order to attract, hire, and train external talent is both time-consuming and expensive. All things considered, up to $20,000 can be saved by rehiring former employee.



What is the best way to find boomerang workers?


Not all boomerang workers come knocking on the door. Returning to a former employer can be an intimidating experience, even for those who have left on agreeable terms. Some persuasion may be required to convince an individual to take the plunge, and this is where recruiters come into the equation.

When sourcing candidates, matching skills and experience to the role requirements is obviously a recruiter’s priority. However, candidate lists are rarely filtered to find individuals that have worked at a particular company before. The benefits outlined above certainly suggest that this criteria could be as important as the skills and experience requirements set out in the job description.

Mindscope applicant tracking software features an advanced Boolean search function, allowing recruiters to comb through large candidate databases in seconds, specifying exact criteria such as education level, qualifications, skills, previous employers, and length of service. If it is in the system – it can be found.

Of course, the success of such searches will be reliant on the quality and quantity of data available. Details found on a candidate’s resume or LinkedIn profile can easily be parsed into Mindscope. In the case of LinkedIn profile information, the system will even convert it into a resume format, making it easier to assess credentials when comparing candidates.


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When it comes to candidates that are already in the database, staffing and recruitment agencies want to ensure that the information they have on file is as up to date as possible.

Traditional database maintenance methods are labor-intensive, requiring recruiters to contact candidates one-by-one in order to establish their current status and update their profile accordingly.

Fortunately, modern applicant tracking systems have rendered manual candidate canvasing unnecessary. As well as featuring an intuitive resume parsing function, Mindscope integrates with Kaptivate, a powerful candidate engagement tool for capturing information in real time.

Kaptivate is a chatbot-style platform capable of retrieving current candidate information using automated conversations laden with pre-determined questions. Hundreds of candidates can be contacted at the same time via SMS, WhatsApp, and email.

Recruiters can notify recipients about available positions while also confirming key information such as contact details, employment history, qualifications, and availability. All this information is then automatically recorded in Mindscope within the relevant candidate profile for future reference.

With this automated communication method at their disposal, recruiters will no longer need to spend hours texting, emailing, or calling candidates without reward – the database effectively updates itself based on the information provided.

More importantly, they will be armed with the up-to-date candidate information they need in order to identify potential boomerang employees.



Mindscope staffing and recruitment software can help agencies make the most of their data with an intuitive applicant tracking system that makes finding the ideal candidate easier than ever before. Request a demo today to see it in action.