Ex on the Beach: Ex Employees – Pina Colada to the face or a warm embrace?

Ex on the Beach

Keeping with the theme of Z-lister TV shows, the return of Ex on the Beach has had me thinking about how this can relate to recruitment. Should the past be the past or do the memories of times gone by make you wish you could get an ex employee back?

  • For those of you who haven’t seen the show, the concept is simple – 3 people on a beach (think interview panel-esqe) and out of the sea comes an “ex” (think old employee). Then what normally ensues is a Pina Colada to the face or a warm embrace. What would you do?


The benefits

  • They know what they’re doing
    they’ve been here before, they know the policies, procedures, values and aims. This reason is especially important if it is a contract – think of the time you could save onboarding new candidates.
  • They fit in well with the team
    this point entirely depends on how they left their role, but in the majority of cases people are disappointed to lose a colleague and seeing them come back will make them realise the grass isn’t greener!
  • Not only do they have knowledge of your company but they can bring with them fresh ideas from wherever they have most recently been
    think of it as a secondment or free training! They can bring ideas from your competitors and will have an outside view on where to take the business.


Reasons it may not work out so well

  • You broke up for a reason
    The reason they left may seem a distant memory, however, if it was due to tension with another colleague or a policy they just couldn’t accept, then could this resurface?
  • Have you both changed?
    Maybe they’re not the best candidate for the job anymore and maybe you’re not the company they remembered.  Sometimes both sides grow and just aren’t right for each other anymore.
  • Will they move forward with new ideas?
    Or will they only want to work how they used to? If an employee comes back then it needs to be made clear that they need to be open to new ideas and processes.

Have you ever hired an ex-employee? Did they last? Are you living happily ever after? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences on how this has worked for you and your company.

Blog written by: Jade Lough, HR Recruitment Consultant at Williams Kent Ltd
27th March 2018


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