The best job search strategy you're probably overlooking

Struggling to find the right fit with prospective employers? You may be brushing off what’s right in front of you. That is, your former ones.

The best job search strategy you're probably overlooking

If you feel like your job search has hit a plateau, it may be time to switch things up and ignite a new strategy. What if I told returning to your ol’ stomping grounds is the most effective way to land your next job? Would you consider it?

According to a recent Monster poll, nearly 30% of respondents have already boomeranged back to their former employer. And 51% said they haven’t done it yet but would consider it.

They’re certainly onto something. As a former corporate recruiter, I can assure you this strategy is a big win-win for job seekers and recruiters.

I know you’re thinking: “I left for a reason. Why go back?” Perhaps you exited because of an uncompetitive salary or a horrible boss—but keep in mind that these things can change. Maybe the company has re-examined its compensations structure since you left; maybe the new leadership emphasizes teamwork. Once you read these three benefits of applying to old stomping grounds, I guarantee you’ll find yourself on the boomerang bandwagon.

Your odds of getting hired look pretty good

For starters, you’re much more likely to be considered for a job with an old employer than if you simply send your resume into the void. In the past five years alone, 85% of HR professionals say they have received job applications from former employees, and 40% say they hired about half of those former employees who applied, according to research by The Workforce Institute and WorkplaceTrends.com.

That jibes with my own experiences as a recruiter and coach: Candidates I know who reapplied to a previous employer were nearly automatically considered and immediately put to the top of the pile. Plus, their hiring process was expedited as well. (Unless, of course, they left for poor performance. Then it’s the rejection pile!)

Keep in mind that one third of employers report difficulty filling jobs because of talent shortages, according to ManpowerGroup’s annual Talent Shortage Survey—which means companies are desperate for quality hires. As a known quantity with knowledge of the company behind you, you’ve got the ball definitively in your court.

You’ll be paid like a returning hero

Let’s face it: The longer you stay at your company, the more likely you’ll get stuck in a taken-for-granted time warp with minimal pay increases between 1% and 5%. Bummer, I know. But the great news is one of the best ways to boost your pay at a company involves leaving and coming back.

I know this sounds counterintuitive but from the day you left the company and started working at another and even another and another, your value to your former employer has likely catapulted. Those new skills you’ve acquired can earn you between a 10% to 20% increase in salary, as reported in a Forbes article.

You’ll have a seamless re-entry

By returning to your old company, you’ll be going home to familiar territory and reduce the typical ramp up time of getting acclimated. In fact, 33% of HR professionals say familiarity with the organization’s culture is the best benefit of rehiring employees, the WorkplaceTrends.com study found.

Of course, you won’t be able to hit the ground running the minute you start—since certain things may have changed since you left and you’ll be learning a new role—but overall, you’re definitely looking at significantly less time to get situated compared to new hires.

You know how to submit timesheets, how to navigate the intranet system, how to deal with compliance tutorials, and how to get a good response back from stern-faced Sam down in the procurement department. This great for you and the company as you both save time and resources, and start driving results very quickly. Another benefit of re-entry to an old employer: If you still have some friends or at least compatriots there, you’ll be happier—and you’ll have someone to have lunch with on Day One.

So… have you looked to see what jobs your old employers are offering recently?

Monster’s career expert Vicki Salemi has more than 15 years of experience in corporate recruiting and HR and is author of Big Career in the Big City. Follow her on Twitter at @vickisalemi

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