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Getting a Job Where You Used to Work

Getting a Job Where You Used to Work
Reading Time: 5 minutes

As the threat of a recession stands by and trends such as the great resignation and quiet quitting took over the past couple of years, professionals are now falling into the so-called “boomerang effect” and are considering getting a job back at companies where they used to work. 

Job seekers wanting to be rehired by an old company are gaining field as they represented 4.5% of all the new hires of 2022 in the US. This figure has increased since the pandemic —3.9% in 2019— since 43% of the professionals who quit during the great resignation, now admit they were better off at their previous job, and 1 in 5 of these professionals have been rehired by their former company, according to a UKG survey

Why go back to your previous employer? 

Whether it’s you or your former employer who’s reaching out, this is the first question you’ll have to ask yourself before going back. There are several reasons why getting a job at a company where you’ve already worked is a good fit for your career path; from being wanted back by an old boss or co-workers to finding a leadership role with improved salary and benefits.

Truth be told, there’s no harm in going back to a former employer if you left on good terms or if the reason for your departure was to propel your success in a way that wasn’t achievable at that time or place in your career. If you’re still figuring out the answer to this question, here are some of the most common reasons to get a job at an old company.

A new position that fits your skill set

If one of the reasons you left your previous job is because you wanted to grow your expertise and acquire new abilities, don’t be surprised if, after achieving this, you can get a job at your old company that matches your new skill set. The new skill set you’ve developed and the fact that your employer already knows your drive will put you ahead of other candidates. 

You were contacted by your old employer

This is most likely to happen if your work left a good impression at your previous company and if you maintain a professional and close relationship with your old boss and co-workers. You’ll have a high chance of finding yourself being contacted by a former manager asking you to come back. You’re the perfect fit for a specific open position they have and your employer knows it and wants to cut to the chase.

There’s a chance to take on a leadership position

Another reason you could’ve parted ways with your old employer is there were no opportunities for upward mobility. So after gaining new experience and knowledge, you hear about a chance to rejoin your previous company in a higher-level position as a manager or executive leader. If you land the job, you’ll have the advantage of knowing the processes and staff you’ll be working with.

How to get a job with your former employer? 

So, after taking the time to thoroughly verify if your career goals match returning to your former company, and you’ve made up your mind to get back in touch with your old boss, continue with the interview process, or even get straight to negotiating an offer, it’s time to set a game plan. Here are some moves you should consider for getting the job. 

Keep in contact with old coworkers and managers

Politeness is more than a value that showcases your professionalism and commitment. Being diplomatic with former coworkers and employers can open a few doors in the future, especially when you’re the one taking the first step to get a job at an old company. Aside from the fact that they can share insight into the current situation at the organization or the status of a role, they can also be a reference that helps you get the job or be rehired.  

Revisit why you left and your reasons to return

Continuing on the importance of leaving on good terms, before meeting with a previous manager you need to recall the content of your resignation letter so you can align the reasons for your departure and why you’re coming back. This is an opportune time to point out that if you didn’t leave on good terms, you should think twice if getting a job at this company is the wisest decision. 

Make sure to have solid justification for returning and be clear with your interviewer about it. Let them know you’ve achieved what you were seeking when you left and how that makes you a better fit. The key is to emphasize your growth and how much you’ll enjoy working for them again and collaborating on their new projects. 

Prepare for your interview

So after making your case and landing a meeting, you’ll have to get ready for your job interview. Even though you are interviewing with a familiar company, you should prepare for it based on the position you’re applying for. There’s a chance the interviewer will remain neutral during this process and refrain from giving any competitive advantage, so be sure to familiarize yourself with the role’s skill set and responsibilities. This is also the time to address any concerns or ask about the current state of the team you’ll be joining. 

Set a negotiation scenario

As for any other job you’re trying to get, you’ll also have to prepare to negotiate your salary and other benefits as well. This will not only allow you to get better conditions than the ones you had during your first run at the company, but in case you’re competing with another candidate for the role, you’ll also get an advantage if you exchange a percentage of your salary for other kinds of corporate perks.

Be ready for any rehire questions

As you can get extra information from former colleagues you talk to, your old managers will like to know more about your reasons for rejoining the company. Therefore, during your interview you’ll likely get some questions that will allow them to clarify your motivation. If you want to stand out above other candidates, regardless of your past with the company, start practicing your answers for some of these rehire questions. 

  • Why did you previously leave the company? 
  • Why do you want to rejoin the company? 
  • How does returning to the company match your career goals?
  • What have you learned since your departure? 
  • What new skills have you acquired? 
  • How was your relationship with your former team? 
  • What would you change about this company? 
  • What did you like the least/most about working here?

Getting a job at a previous company is much easier when you leave on good terms and keep a close and professional relationship with your colleagues. If this is your case, you have a high chance of getting rehired, just make the right moves. Don’t assume you have the role in your pocket just because you’ve already worked there. Instead, thoughtfully approach every step in the hiring process and prepare for a new chapter in your career path.

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Contributed by Luis Arellano

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