It's make or break: rehiring an ex employee

Employer advice

We can all admit (maybe not publically) that we've all succumbed to watching a romantic comedy and, dare we say, enjoyed it. The will they won't they narrative that runs right up until the final scenes when the protagonists realise they cannot be without one another and were right for each another all along fills many with hope of this occurring off screen too. Could the same occur if you were to hire an ex employee, or is it better to leave the reunion to Hollywood?

Why you should reconsider an ex employee

Less risk

There is less significant risk when rehiring a former employee, if they parted on good terms. There will be no surprises in regards to their character, quality of work and fit into the organisation's culture. This may also be positive for internal marketing as current employees seeing an ex member of staff rejoining can highlight how good a company is compared to others and that the door is always open for people who decide to pursue a role elsewhere.


You originally hired the employee for their talent and knowledge however, now they bring with them a new set of skills which they would have received at their new organisation. They have the ability to provide the wider business with innovative strategies to become a stronger competitor within the market too.


The average cost of hiring a new employee is estimated to be around £30,000. This does not also take into consideration the time spent finding candidates. To rehire an ex employee could remove recruitment, induction and trainings costs, but also the time taken to source for candidates that removes you from completing your core duties and responsibilities.

Partnering with a recruitment agency like Brook Street which has the resources and tools to uncover the employees you need, will significantly reduce this time and will remove any labour that comes with it so you can continue with your core role responsibilities.

Why you shouldn't


Companies continuously evolve and depending on when an employee left a company, the culture, structure of even day to day workings may have all changed. The employee may have fitted in when they originally worked for you but will it be as easy to adapt to a new way of working for an ex employee? Their expectations may not be met because of this and could result in them departing again and not on good terms.


An employee may have left for a legitimate reason such as promotion, to study or possibly more money but what would stop them from resigning again?

Boomerang employees can bring with them a wealth of knowledge that they have gained from working at other companies since yours, yet their loyalty to the business could be in doubt amongst fellow employees and senior management. If they are looking to be rehired into a more senior position than they were in previously, what would stop them from job hopping again if another prospect looked more promising? Find out what their intentions are and why they want to return, they may have realised the grass isn't always greener on the other side, but they might be biding their time until a more suitable role arrives.

Why they left originally

With any relationship, over time it's easy to romanticise the past, forgetting the bad to focus on the good but this does not always portray the truth of what really occurred. The same can be said for a hiring manager when thinking of their ex employees. Remember under what circumstances and how you felt when they left the organisation. Were you relieved and ready to move on or did you wish you could have helped them more and stopped them from departing? If it's the former of the two then leaving them in the past to find someone new is the best for both you and the ex employee.

What ending will you choose?

Is it a case of better to have loved and lost or has absence made the heart grow fonder?

When it comes to rehiring an ex employee weigh up both the pros and cons. What terms did they depart on? Take into consideration that even though it might be cheaper to rehire it could come at the cost of causing animosity amongst your workforce. Be wary of a boomerang employee by conducting exit interviews that will scope out whether there is a likelihood they could return and on what terms.

Do not rule out rehiring, but be sure there are no hidden surprises or negative impacts of doing so. Don't let a fairytale ending turn into a horror.

Have you noticed a decrease in retention? Find out how you can reinvigorate your employees and increase job satisfaction by investing in your team.