Talent Management and Boomerang Hires in recruiting: 3 X 3 tips for active alumni networks


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The term “alumni”, which is mainly used today for university graduates and former employees of a company, originally comes from the old Roman Empire. But what does it mean for one nowadays Company to regain an alumni as an active employee?

Talent Management and Boomerang Hires in recruiting: 3 X 3 tips for active alumni networks


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Oliver Koch Oliver Koch Oliver Koch is managing director of SOLCOM GmbH.

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Definition alumni network

In the case of the Romans, former soldiers who were injured in the war were fed by the state free of charge and designated as alumni, which literally means "pupil" or "the nourished". Today, alumni are in Company counted three parties:

  1. the former talents such as trainees, interns or working students,
  2. the former employees who changed employer
  3. and finally the retired employees.

Above all, the first two groups should be regularly kept up to date with the changes and news in the company. Thus, the company itself and also the time they spent there are always reminded of them.

Boomerang effect - 3 benefits

Through a well-maintained alumni network can then inter alia enter the boomerang effect. This marks the re-entry of a former employee into the company in which he has worked before. When such a boomerang effect occurs, it has the following advantages for the employer:

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  1. The employee only needs a minimal training phase, as he is already familiar with the internal processes of the company. This knowledge only has to be updated with him, which takes significantly less time than training a new employee completely.
  2. In addition, both the employer and the employee know what they are going to do when they hire them again, which significantly reduces the likelihood of ambiguity and misunderstandings about the employment relationship.
  3. For the company, the financial aspect is not insignificant, because re-hiring is much cheaper than a normal recruitment process, which must be worked from A to Z.

Competitive advantage

Furthermore, it can create a real competitive advantage for the company, when several employees have returned to the company through the boomerang effect. These employees then have contacts with their previous employers, customers and possibly freelancers.

An employee has been building up this network since his first day at work, which always benefits the current employer. The next aspect is word of mouth. Someone who deliberately returns to their former employer is satisfied with the working conditions, feels comfortable there and, statistically, recommends this company more often than a non-returner.

How can the company promote the boomerang effect?

A fundamental aspect, which seems obvious at first glance, but is often not implemented in practice, is respect. The company must respect the departure of an employee and hold a professional closing interview, so that the employee keeps a good last impression of this job in mind.

In such a conversation, for example, it can also be made out that the company contacts the employee in case of a suitable vacancy. From then on, the alumni network comes into play, making regular contact with the former employee. In addition, there is the fact that 90% of German employees already want to stay in contact with the former employer. So there is an interest on both sides not to lose sight of each other.

3 options for implementing an alumni network

  1. Probably the most common method of running an alumni network is the newsletter. Here the alumni is informed by mail about current topics in the company, such as a change in the management level or a summary of the quarterly report. Any vacancies may also be advertised here.
  2. The more personal variant is a regular regulars' table, in which both former employees and current participants can participate. Here can be exchanged personally about internal changes, but also the private conversation finds its place here. This strengthens the emotional attachment of the former employee to the company and the workforce.
  3. The invitation to company events to alumni, who worked for example until a year ago in the company, is not unusual. In such a setting, you can have a good time, maintain contacts and, above all, have fun, which puts the company in the mind of the former employee in ever more positive light.

Conclusion: Alumni networks are recommended

For a company, it is definitely advisable to run an alumni network, maintain it and always keep it up to date. This effort is disproportionate to the much greater expense of undergoing a full recruiting process for each vacant post.

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Thus, there are the following advantages for the company: Employees recruit employees, that is, external companies apply for an internal recommendation. In addition, a successful re-hiring process optimization, which saves both time and costs.


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  1. Thomas

    Really a great, very informative post!

    • Simone Janson

      Thank you for your praise, which we are very happy about.

  2. Stefan

    Talent management is an exciting and often underestimated topic. Companies could save a lot of resources here if they handled it properly.

    • Simone Janson

      Thank you, that's exactly what I see. Unfortunately, there are still too many companies spending money recruiting employees than using the potential of existing staff. That's a bit like the new customer handling.

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