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What To Do With Tricky Boomerang Employees

A boomerang employee is pretty much what it sounds like – it’s an employee who, for one reason or another, leaves your company and returns later to be rehired.

There are a number of different types of boomerang employees with a variety of reasons as to why they left and returned to your company. Below we’ll do a deep dive into boomerang employees and how you can work with these employees in the most effective and sustainable way for your business.

What is a boomerang employee?

A boomerang employee is simply an employee who returns to your business after having quit or left. In some of these cases, employees leave under the shared knowledge that their leave is only temporary and they plan on returning in the near future. In other cases, however, employees leave believing they are making a permanent decision, but they end up returning at a later time.

Here are some of the primary reasons why employees will leave their position and return at a later time: 

  • Employees are leaving to further their career through schooling, a new opportunity, an internship, or some other educational/professional development program. 
  • Employees have a new passion or project that they need to temporarily pursue. Say, for example, they have a passion for painting and have been awarded a three-month artist’s residency to pursue their craft. They might ask for a temporary leave to pursue that ambition. 
  • A major life event such as a death in the family, a birth, a relocation, or a medical condition. 
  • If the work they do is seasonal or they were hired as a temporary employee. 

Boomerang Employee Facts & Statistics

While boomerang employees might seem like a niche role in the workplace, they play more of a role than you might think. In 2021, boomerang employees made up 4.5% of all hires, which was a boost compared to the 3.9% in 2019. 

Boomerang employees are easy to onboard and integrate into the corporate culture because they already have a history with your organization. Additionally, you pretty much know what you’re getting when you hire a boomerang employee as opposed to a completely new candidate. 

Studies have shown that boomerang employees are typically more satisfied with their work than external hires. As a result, they also perform better and have a higher chance of being promoted than non-boomerang hires. 

Interviewing Boomerang Employees

Although boomerang employees have experience within your organization, it’s important to go through the standardized interview process in order to assess their current skill set and maintain a fair hiring practice. 

Your interview questions, however, should differ a little bit from a normal interview. The history you have with this individual and the new experiences they bring to the table can all go into how you formulate your set of questions.

A good set of questions you can start with when interviewing boomerang employees can look something like: 

  • What have you done in the time since you’ve left the company?
    • This is a great introductory question to help bridge the gap between where your employee has been and where they are today. It will also give you valuable insight into their work experiences since they’ve left your company.
  • What new skills, training, or education have you acquired since leaving the company?
    • This is a pretty direct question that can help you determine if and how their expertise has changed. It will also give you a good idea if you should give the employee a promotion or position change. 
  • Why did you leave the company in the first place?
    • Unless they left on good terms and you knew it was a temporary leave, you want to get some insight why they left the company in the first place. This might influence your decision in rehiring, and it might help you and the boomerang employee come to an agreement on any past issues or concerns. 
  • What brings you back to the company?
    • One of the risks with boomerang employees, especially ones who you thought made a permanent leave, is reliability. You want to know that they’re back for an extended period of time and that they’re serious about their place in the company. 

Why you should consider hiring boomerang employees

There are a lot of good reasons to hire a boomerang employee, and you want to make sure that the move makes sense for your current needs and future goals. However, there are some risks to be aware of if you’re considering hiring previous employees.

Below we’ll look at some pros and cons that can help you determine whether or not you want to take on a boomerang employee. 


  • You have a shared history with this employee and know their skill set and background. 
  • You will have a simpler onboarding process.
  • Boomerang employees will typically have an easier time fitting into the corporate culture.
  • Boomerang employees often come back with new experiences, skill sets, and qualifications.
  • Boomerang employees, if they’re returning to a previous role, already understand what is asked of them and can rely on that familiarity to excel in their position. 



  • Depending on why they left the company, they may not be reliable as long-term hires. 
  • If there were issues between you and your boomerang hire prior to their leaving, they might bring those issues back into the office with them. 
  • They may have a laundry list of new demands, like a raise or different status, in negotiating their return to the company. 
  • It might be harder for your boomerang employee to adjust to a new corporate system/culture if they are stuck in their old ways.
  • They may be overqualified for their previous position if they have a new degree or other professional accolades.


How Crosschq can help

The more analytics you have on your boomerang employee, the more you’ll know how their qualifications have changed as a candidate. With intelligent 360 reference check technology, you can identify how they performed with their last employee, aggregate data on their strengths, and objectively assess your candidate without unconscious bias. 

Whether you’re looking for a boomerang employee or a brand new hire, Crosschq can give you the tools to build diverse, winning teams today.

Mark Ko

by Mark Ko

Content Writer

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