Re-employing former employees

Peninsula Team

June 10 2011

Re-employing former employees can be advantageous for employers in many ways. An individual who has previously worked at a company will understand your aims and objectives, and be familiar with more practical issues such as your machinery, computer systems and colleagues. This could fast track the former employee in any specific training you provide to new starters.

Similarly, the abilities and the skills of the employee will be known to you so you will have a head start in knowing their potential value to your company.

However, it would not be wise to simply welcome them back with open arms based on the above, and a recruitment procedure should always be followed for a number of reasons.

Depending on the amount of time that has passed since the individual’s last period of employment with you, it may be that you have introduced new systems of work in your company, or new technology has been developed which makes your production quicker. Without some kind of recruitment process, you may end up with an old employee who no longer fits well within your operation.

You should still get the individual to complete an application form once they show interest in the job because it is possible that you now require your employees to hold certain qualifications, which the former employee does not have, and would discount any application from someone who doesn’t have the required skills. An application form which asks the right questions will let you know whether this individual is still up to the standard you now require.

If the individual’s application form is good enough to make it through the first stage of the recruitment process, you should invite the individual for an interview. Even if their application is the only contender for the role, it is still wise to bring the individual in for a chat so that you can be entirely certain that this person is the correct one to undertake the role you require filling, bearing in mind any developments in your company since he was last employed.

If there are several candidates who have applied for the job, it is even more important that you conduct a fair recruitment process so that all candidates are given the same opportunity to progress. An unfair selection process can bring with it risks of discrimination claims.

As with every time that you employ somebody new, you should fully document the reasoning behind all your decisions at each stage and be able to provide evidence to show that the best person was picked for the job. If you pick a former employee over someone else who is more qualified but has one of the protected characteristics, and the unsuccessful candidate challenges the decision, you may have to show that the protected characteristic was not the reason why you denied them the job. If all that person’s scores are better than the former employee’s, it may be difficult to justify your decision.

For more information on the recruitment process, please contact the Peninsula Advice Service on 0844 892 2772

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