How to Hire When Your Top Candidate is An Alumni Employee

BY Kathy Crosett
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In her Fast Company article, Gwen Moran discusses the pros and cons of hiring back an ex-​employee. Is the top candidate for your open sales position an alumni employee? Here’s what you should think about before you make an offer.

Personnel Records

Employees who performed well in your company can make excellent rehires. If they haven’t been gone for long, they’ll know the company culture. They may also have friends within the organization and come up to speed quickly in terms of getting work done. If the employee left with a good track record, you’ll have every reason to believe that they will contribute in a positive manner again.

However, before you extend an offer, talk with them about exactly why they left. Maybe they had an opportunity to contribute to their new employer in a way they couldn’t at your organization. Could that still be an issue if they return? Make sure to get to the bottom of the problem.

Alumni Employee

Your alumni employee likely won’t be contributing to your company in exactly the same way as they did before their departure. They may have left to gain management experience. Great! In a ZenBusiness study, over 7% of hiring managers believe that hiring an alumni employee means they’ll get access to an individual with new skills. However, they may also be bound by noncompete clauses because of their previous employment deal, so be sure to check on that potential conflict.

While this person may have been an excellent contributor, will they make a good manager at your company? One way to answer this question objectively is to ask them to take a sales assessment test.

A good assessment will measure a number of aspects, ranging from work tendencies to decision-​making abilities. TeamTrait™, for example, will alert you to whether an individual might exhibit toxic behavior in the workplace. Your alumni employee might have been a bit of a lone wolf as an individual contributor. What will happen when you give that person a supervisory role? Will they be aware enough of their lone wolf tendencies to rein them in? Or will they continue to be aloof and withdrawn and end up causing headaches for you and the leadership team?

Interestingly, the ZenBusiness study notes that 57% of employees like the idea of rehiring an old co-​worker. Managers are a bit more cautious. About 52% like the idea of boomerang hiring. This hiring strategy may work out very well. Just don’t assume you know everything about the individual. Require them to take a sales assessment test first.