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What is a boomerang employee?

A boomerang employee is a worker who resigns from their job, then later decides they want to return to their old job. They may have worked elsewhere or stopped working temporarily, and, like a properly thrown boomerang, want to return from where they left.

Being a boomerang employee is not always a bad thing — former employers may be more likely to hire a boomerang employee because the worker already knows the position and the workplace. This makes them an easier hire than a new worker, whom the employer does not know very well and would need to train.

Can I ask for my job back?

A former employee can usually ask for their job back. An employee may find themselves wishing they had never left their old job, or that they have a refreshed interest in their old work after a break or new industry experience.

When applying for a job with an old employer, a boomerang employee can ask for more money and better benefits. If the type of work is in high demand, they may now be in a better bargaining position. Every job and industry is different, so researching the industry’s employment trends can be helpful to understand your bargaining position.

If you are on good terms with former colleagues, you may want to reach out for some inside information about what has happened since your departure. If you left on good terms, and the company has a human resources department or manager, you may be able to reach out to them for information about whether it is possible to get your old job back.

You may reach out to your old boss to discuss your return. An email or a letter to them may be a good method because it can give you time to craft the message carefully. Also, your boss may be very busy, so a phone call or a personal visit may interrupt their work. This approach can also seem like you are putting them on the spot, which might make the situation awkward. Then again, if you are on good terms with your old boss, a personal visit or following up on your email or letter with a call may help.

Whichever contact method you choose, it is a good idea to be professional, respectful, and polite. If your employer agrees to rehire you, then you will likely need to go through the hiring process with human resources or another department. It may include filling out an Employment Application. Also, they may ask you to sign a new Employment Contract. However, if your old Employment Contract needs only a few changes, they may use an Employment Agreement Amendment.

Should I ask for my job back?

While there is no clear time frame for asking a former manager to rehire you, there are a few things you might want to consider before asking:

  • Has your former position been filled?
  • What made you want to move on?
  • Why is your current job not working for you?
  • Why do you want to return to your old job?
  • What worked and what did not work last time with your old job?
  • How will your former employer benefit by rehiring you?
  • What new skills have you learned since you left?

Thinking these through will help you prepare to ask the big question.

What to focus on when asking for my job back?

When asking your former employer if you can return to your old job, make sure to be prepared for an interview, whether it is formal or casual. They will likely ask you questions about why you left. So, you will want to prepare a list of any personal achievements, new skills learned, work experience, and major life events after you left. You can also highlight your past successes with the company. Beyond that, you might want to be ready to answer questions like these:

  • Why do you want to be rehired?
  • Why did you want to leave?
  • Did you take a new job? If so, why didn’t it work out?
  • What benefits will you bring to your old employer if they rehire you?

What can I do if my previous employer refuses to rehire me?

Sometimes, even if you are on good terms with your former employer, they cannot rehire you. The reasons can vary. For example, the timing might not be right. They may have already hired someone into your position, or they just might not need your services anymore. You can always ask them if applying for your old job later will increase your chances of being rehired.

While not returning to your old position can be disappointing, something good can still come from trying. You can ask your old boss to refer you to a different position in the company. You can also ask them or a former co-worker for an Employment Reference Request. It is helpful to ask in a way that lets them refuse gracefully and not to pressure them to provide a reference. If they agree to be a good reference for you, adding them to your Reference List can help you apply for your next job. Be sure to let them know you have added them as a reference.

Have legal questions about asking a former employer to hire you back? Reach out to a Rocket Lawyer On Call® attorney for affordable legal advice.

This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.


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