For those of you contemplating quitting your current job for greener pastures, I would like to make sure you are aware of one thing that you may not know.

This is a guest post by G.L. Hoffman. If you’d also like to guest post here on JobMob, follow these guest post guidelines.

Eye on Greener Pastures? Why Companies Won't Hire You Back

New job not up to par?

Most companies will NOT hire you back if, say, you give the new job a try and find out it is not exactly what you were promised. You should know that because I have heard people say “well, if it doesn’t work out, I can always go back to my old job.”

This might be the case. Young, inexperienced managers will often say this during the exit interview, even. It is them being nice…I would not expect them to hire me back if I were you. Most companies will not hire you back. And they shouldn’t.

Forget about going back

Here is why.

Most companies understand that once an employee leaves, they have left. In effect, they have said that something at the work environment is so bad or so limiting (insert your own reason here), that they need to move on to another job. Once the employee ‘gets there in his or her own mind,’ it is very tough to go back and be satisfied in the old job.

Too often I have seen companies hire someone back only to see them leave again in a few months. I bet the average is over 75%; once they leave, they will leave again.

Plus, if the company does hire you back, what kind of message does that send to current, more loyal employees? An attitude of we-will-hire-back provides a safety net for everyone. I don’t want any of my employees thinking they can just go try a new job for a few months and get this one back.

There are rare exceptions

There are only a few instances where we have hired someone back—one girl went into the Peace Corps and the other went into the military. In both cases, we were thrilled to have them back.

Recently, we formed a small committee to evaluate whether our small company would hire someone back who did have extenuating circumstances. In effect, we allowed them to make the decision.

I was actually surprised at the intensity of the debate. Their attitude initially was “once gone, always gone,” but they did arrive at some conditions for the hire back.

Recommended conditions for a rehire?

What do you think? They agreed to recommend that we hire him back because:

  1. He found out his wife was pregnant and he needed the safety of our job vs. a commission only one or,
  2. His new startup could not get funded or,
  3. He agreed to sign a contract for three years and promised not to leave during that period, or
  4. None of the above.

The answer was #4.

We are very clear in the company about not hiring back. We talk about this because often younger, first job employees think that a company will hire them back. After all, they reason, it is the ‘nice’ thing to do. So, when upper managers felt someone had a Peace Corp-type excuse reason, we knew we could not simply welcome him back with open arms. That would have destroyed that part of our culture. This is why we gave them the power over the decision. Somewhat risky, but the culture is that important to us.

What matters most

The departed employee had left us to go work for his family’s business, which was experiencing some issues. They needed his help, in other words.

Our ‘committee’ was very clear on their reason for allowing him to return–he had not taken another job. If he had left us for another company, there was no way they would hire him back. A family business emergency was different.

They feel good about their decision and so do we.

About the author

G.L. Hoffman is a serial entrepreneur and venture investor/operator/incubator/mentor. He is currently CEO of JobDig which owns and operates Jobdig.com and Linkup.com. In addition to writing a regular column on the US News and World Report website, G.L. has also been featured in Forbes and the Wall Street Journal. G.L.’s blog can be found at www.whatwoulddadsay.com or at JobDig.com.

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--Jacob Share