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Returning to an old job

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Good or bad idea?

It was revealed recently that television presenter Dermot O’Leary is returning to The X-Factor a year after he left, while in sport it was reported that former Swansea City manager Brendan Rodgers could be heading back to his old club. But what are the risks of returning to a business or organisation for which you once worked? Recruitment expert Siân Goodson sets out what you should know.

Think carefully

There are all sorts of reasons why someone might return to work for a company at which they were previously employed, from a higher wage to a position of greater authority and responsibility.

For Dermot O’Leary on The X-Factor and possibly Brendan Rodgers at Swansea City, it is likely to be as much the prestige of the role as the demand from their respective fans that lured them back.

But I always advise clients that their main consideration should be what the move will lead to further on down the line. Is it just a sideways move, or will it be a platform for your next big job or career move? Thinking longer term will really help you decide whether or not it is a good idea.

It is also worth considering how this will come across on your CV. To a potential future employer you could look like someone who has jumped ship, struggled in a new role, had cold feet and returned for an easy life.


Be realistic

No matter how favourably your new colleagues will view your reappointment, you will probably be returning with at least some baggage.

Some people will have a view about what you delivered previously and might even question your suitability for the new role, especially if it is a significant step up.

That perception might not be fair because people haven’t experienced you operating at that higher tier level, but it is something you will have to address.


Get results

Upon your return expectations are likely to be high, and if you are to dispel some of the pre-conceived opinions people may have of you and your abilities you will have to put in hard graft from the start to convince your new colleagues.

You should also expect to be given less time and grace to find your feet than other new recruits because of your familiarity with the business. In fact there is likely to be an expectation from some people that you can hit the ground running and start to deliver immediately.

If Brendan Rodgers does return to Swansea City he will probably face this sort of expectation from fans, especially considering his previous achievements and the fact he went on to manage one of the world’s biggest clubs, Liverpool.

As you can see, returning to a previous place of employment can be a daunting prospect. A good HR director will seek to lessen the impact by working with you on a plan of re-engagement, such as preparing you for how the organisation has changed and helping you understand who the key influencers are. However, that is by no means certain and underlines the fact that such a career decision should be taken very carefully indeed.

Sian Goodson

By Sian Goodson

Sian Goodson, MD of Goodson

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