You’ve left your old job for greener pastures. It was the right career move for you. Or so you thought. A month has passed, maybe a year, and you find yourself wishing you were again working for your old employer. Before you take that thought and put into effect actions to regain your old position, consider the following…
Some of you will naturally start your thought process with how you should go about approaching your former boss and asking for your old job back. STOP. RIGHT.THERE! Why did you leave your previous job? Have they refilled your old position? Is there another position available for you? Did you leave on good terms or bad? How will this affect your reputation in your industry? Will everything be the same if you return to your old job? Has the company moved in a different direction since? Why do you want to leave your current job? Do you really just need more time to settle in? What can you even offer your old employer now that you couldn’t before? Why would they want you back on their team??? A little self-interrogation will go a long way to clarifying much of what must be known before you can boomerang back to your old company.
Once you have the answers to your many questions, and you find the pros outweigh the cons, you can then move to consider your approach. It’s likely that someone you trust is still working at your old company. A discreet and informal conversation with them will help you gain a feel for the likelihood of returning to your old company and how your former colleagues may feel about that, knowing of course how they felt about your departure. If a return appears feasible, a soft approach is in order. Touch base with the human resources officer or hiring manager and be upfront about your intentions to rejoin the team. Don’t casually ‘check in’, acknowledge that you are back in the job market and would like to return to a role with your former employer. Forwarding your CV allows you to demonstrate how you have expanded upon your credentials in your absence – you want to avoid pitching yourself as the same old employer that left. The focus needs to be on the benefits of rehiring you for a second time. So what new values will you bring to the table?
If you’re clever, and particularly if you have been gone for some time, you will have researched the company prior to your approach. You will know if the company has restructured, diversified or changed directions. You will have a concept of the employment of new technologies and other employee movements in the time that you were away. This knowledge can help you to mould a pitch more aligned with the company’s current mission and your career aspirations.
While you may be granted a ‘discussion’ around your possible return to your former organisation, don’t assume that welcoming you back for a chat guarantees you your job back. Until you have a formal job offer, you are most certainly in interview mode. And it is during this phase that you need to sell your increased value to the company, and demonstrate that you are not a flight risk. You left once, you can do it again. There will definitely be scepticism around this. Be prepared to answer questions that speak to this concern, and if relevant, admit to any mistakes you may have made in leaving. If you can get over this hurdle, you have successfully reached the negotiation stage.
What is your leverage once you have convinced your former employer to rehire you? Interesting question. Many of you would simply be grateful for the second opportunity and miss the fact that you now have room to negotiate for better conditions than you experienced previously. I say better conditions because you have successfully upsold your services as value adding. Don’t be afraid to ask for a better job title, an increased salary and more responsibilities. Particularly if you have been gone for three to five years and are coming back significantly more experienced. Never accept less than what you left with. It will be uncomfortable for you and for your colleagues! If negotiations lead down this path, search for a role elsewhere.
Making a return to a previous place of employment is not uncommon. There are many advantages to rehiring ex-employees. They understand the company, its culture and have existing relationships with current staff. Yet it is the new skills, knowledge and expertise gained while working elsewhere that needs to be highlighted and aligned with company values in order to make a successful transition back to your old place of employment. And so long as you left on good terms and the company has a need for someone with your abilities, you’re chances of reconnecting are very good.