How to Prepare for a Rehire Interview
As you grow in your career, you’ll learn that the path is rarely straight. Career paths can take unexpected turns, including rejoining a company where you were once employed. Though this is rare, it happens more often than you may think.
Many reasons exist as to why you may rejoin an old company. Your old boss or co-workers may want you back, or you may feel that you made a mistake by leaving in the first place. You could also get a great promotion more easily by rejoining an old employer and jump into a leadership position.
Whatever the case, a rehire interview with a former employer is tricky and usually more complicated than a typical interview. You’ll have to consider many things, especially discussing why you left the company and why you want to return.
This process is something more American workers are going through these days as they become so-called “Boomerang” employees. During the pandemic and the Great Resignation, millions of Americans quit their jobs to find better employment opportunities. But many today are returning to their old employers and possibly regretting their decisions.
We’ll tell you how to prepare for a rehire interview, including what questions to prepare for and how the interview will differ from a typical interview.
Don’t Assume You’re a Top Candidate
The most obvious factor in returning to an old job is if you resigned on good terms. If you left the job positively, gave two weeks’ notice, and possibly kept in touch with a former boss or co-worker, your chances of returning to an old job are much higher.
Nevertheless, when preparing for a rehire interview, it’s essential to revisit why you left the job in the first place. It can sometimes be easy to get nostalgic about an old job and remember only the good parts, not the bad ones that made you leave. For instance, if you left because of chronic issues like too much stress, it may not be wise to return.
Ask yourself why you want to return to an old job and be prepared to answer tough questions about why you left and are re-applying. Even if you left on good terms, if you’re reasoning for coming back appears flimsy, an old employer may not hire you. This is because they may feel you won’t stay around long this time, either.
Also, just because you already know the company from working there previously, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t practice and prepare for the interview as much as you would for any other interview. In the time you’ve been gone, the company could’ve undergone changes you’re unaware of, and the role you’re applying for could be much different.
Common Rehire Questions
It’s wise to reconnect with former co-workers still working at your old company as you prepare for the rehire interview. Keep the discussions professional, avoid negative gossip, and ask things you’d want to know before returning. Things to ask a former co-worker include any changes that have happened at the company and salary increases since you’ve left.
You should also prepare for the most common rehire interview questions. Every company is different, and the questions you’ll face will vary, but some questions are more likely than others to be asked. Examples of these questions include:
- Why did you leave our company?
- Why do you want to rejoin the company?
- What have you learned since leaving the company?
- What new skills can you bring to this position?
- What is one thing you’d change about this company?
- What did you least/most like about working here?
Prepare Like You Never Worked There Before
There are a few things to remember when preparing for a rehire interview. First, be honest about your reasons for leaving the company in the first place. You must highlight your desire to return, but a hiring manager will want honesty in reasons for departure, and typical, cliché answers probably aren’t welcome.
Also, don’t automatically assume you have the inside track to get the job. Having previously worked at the company gives you a leg up on the competition, but there are also downsides to “Boomerang” employees. When you’re going through the hiring process for a rehire, your chances may be equal, if not less, than fresh faces who have never worked there.
Take the interview seriously. Prepare as if you have never worked there before and be grateful that the company is giving you a chance to return. There may have been many personnel changes since you left, so you may be interviewed by someone you have yet to work with. In their eyes, you’re just another candidate; your previous company experience may not mean much. Don’t focus too much on what you accomplished previously at the company, and focus just as much on what you’ve learned since you left.
A last thing to remember is to send a follow-up still thank you note or email after the interview. Since you worked at the company before, things may be more casual. But don’t make it look like you’re taking the opportunity for granted. The company is giving you a shot to come back, and you should thank them just like you would in any other type of interview.
The Boomerang Effect
Many people predict a recession will happen soon, but it’s already clear that the economy has worsened. Many companies, including major firms like Google and Meta, are announcing significant layoffs. The phenomenon known as the Great Resignation during the height of the pandemic is likely all but over, and some people who thought the grass was greener on the other side workwise may have some regrets.
So-called boomerang employees who have returned to their former company accounted for 4.5% of all new U.S. hires in 2022, up from 3.9% in 2019. People quit during the Great Resignation for many reasons, including to take on caregiving roles or folks who explored a different career path. Either way, things have changed, and more people are going through the rehiring process now. About 43% of people who quit jobs during the pandemic now admit they were better off at their old job, according to a survey by UKG. The survey also showed that 1 in 5 people who quit during the pandemic have returned to their former companies.
If you left a job on a positive note, there’s a chance you could boomerang back. Don’t assume you’ll be welcomed back with open arms, and thoughtfully prepare for a rehire interview like any other company. If you do that, your chances of starting a new chapter at your former company could be a nice twist in your career path.
Stay tuned to Empire Resume’s blog for more helpful insights into careers and employment, including articles such as How to Use LinkedIn for Your Job Search, Most Common Interview Questions, and How to Negotiate Your Salary.