How To Find Out if You Are Eligible for Rehire in 3 Steps

Updated December 5, 2022

Applying to work for a previous employer can offer you opportunities to reconnect with teammates or rejoin the company during a growth period. When considering a previous employer's position, you may need to know whether you are eligible for rehire. Understanding your eligibility can save you time throughout your application process and offer insight into what the previous employer is saying about you.

In this article, we provide three steps for how to find out if you are eligible for rehire, explain how companies determine rehire status and discuss five reasons someone may not be eligible for rehire.

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How to find out if you are eligible for rehire in 3 steps

If you want to find out your eligibility for rehire, there are some strategies you can use to learn your rehire status before applying for a position with a previous employer. Here are three steps to help you gain this information:

1. Contact the previous employer

You can contact the previous employer you're considering applying for to ask them about your rehire status. Typically, you want to speak with a human resources representative within your previous company because they may still have an employee file for you. The file may contain information like:

  • Performance reviews: These reports show the formal documentation about your productivity and the quality of work you produced while working for the employer.

  • Manager notes: Notes your manager might have taken about you periodically throughout your time working for the company.

  • Colleague notes: Notes your colleagues may have given the company about you and your contributions to your team via peer reviews.

Besides this information, your previous employee file might also disclose your rehire status. Human resource representatives may not disclose other details of your files, but they can usually disclose whether the company might consider you for rehire.

Related: How To Ask For Your Old Job Back via Email (With Sample)

2. Conduct a personal reference check

Conducting a personal reference check is another step you can use to learn more about your rehire status. This may mean having a colleague or friend who doesn't work at your previous company call and ask them about you.

For example, you might have them call like a potential employer who wants to gather some reference information about you. This can help you understand what your previous employer is saying about you to other companies.

Identifying this information is also useful for you to understand potential talking points to bring up when you're interviewing for your applied positions. For example, a previous employer is saying one of your weaknesses was your time management.

Knowing this information, you might choose to mention time management as a weakness you've worked on and are working on in your interview.

3. Reach out to your connections

Reaching out to your connections is useful for advocating for yourself as a rehire and learning more about your rehire status. You can do this by contacting previous colleagues you worked with who still work at the company you're thinking about applying to as a rehire.

They may provide you with additional insights about your eligibility for rehire by asking the hiring manager whether they might consider you. Gaining this information is beneficial because even though the company may consider you for rehire, the hiring manager might not.

You can use this information to help you determine whether to apply for the company's position or not. For example, your connection informs you that the hiring manager isn't going to consider you for rehire.

In this scenario, you may choose not to apply for the position and reallocate your time toward other open positions.

Related: Reasons Going Back to an Old Job Might Be a Good Idea

How is rehire status determined?

Multiple factors can determine your rehire status within a company, including the reason you no longer work for the company and your performance status from when you worked for the company.

Companies usually look at all the factors from your time working with them and your departure to decide about your eligibility for rehire. Sometimes you may be ineligible for a pre-determined period before they may consider rehiring you or you might be eligible for rehire immediately if you choose to apply for open positions they have.

Related: What Is the Difference Between Laid Off and Fired?

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5 reasons someone is not eligible for rehire

There are many reasons someone may be ineligible for rehire at a previous employer. Here are five reasons someone is not eligible for rehire:

1. Broken employment contract

When you accept a job with a company, you usually sign an employment contract. This contract usually documents the position offer and the company's policies. These policies might cover topics like benefits or non-disclosure confidentiality.

If you broke your employment contract while working for a company, you might not be eligible for rehire because you broke an agreement between you and the employer.

For example, you worked on a project for your company that included some sensitive business information, like financial records. Sharing this confidential information on purpose or by accident may cause you to break your employment contract.

Typically, if you've broken your employment contract, your employer will notify you and handle it according to their policies. The consequences might also depend on how you've broken the contract.

For example, using large amounts of unpaid time off may have a lesser consequence than if you were sharing confidential business information. The details for these contracts can vary from company to company and position to position.

Related: Contracts of Employment: A Comprehensive Guide

2. Non-inclusive action

Non-inclusive actions can cause someone to not be eligible for rehire because their actions may not be in line with the company's values or they may not contribute to an equal opportunity work environment. Some examples of what non-inclusive actions might be are:

  • Lack of communication

  • Non-active listening

  • Nonverbal signs of aggression

  • Hurtful language usage

  • Unfair decision-making

  • Targeted harassment

Companies may outline this in their employment contract as well, to ensure everyone is aware of their inclusive workplace policies. However, if you engage in non-inclusive action, they may record this behavior in your employee file and mark you ineligible for rehire.

3. Low-performance record

Having a low-performance record from when you previously worked for the company may make you ineligible for rehire. This might be because the company worries that your performance record will continue to be low if they rehire you.

Typically, a low-performance record refers to productivity that isn't meeting pre-determined goals. If you receive this feedback on your performance reviews while working for the company, this information is usually also kept in your previous employee file with human resources.

Although human resource representatives may not share the reason you're ineligible for rehire, low-performance records can be a contributing factor.

4. Non-voluntary dismissal

Non-voluntary dismissal from the company you're interested in being rehired at may make you ineligible for rehire. Specifically, non-voluntary dismissal refers to the company asking you to leave.

This can happen for a few different reasons, including letting employees go temporarily, downsizing the company or letting employees go permanently. A company may decide to let employees go permanently if their productivity and quality levels are low or if they don't communicate well across teams.

The specific contributing factors for non-voluntary dismissal can vary depending on the company and individual positions. If a company lets you go permanently and you don't choose to leave on your own, you may not be eligible for rehire.

5. Voluntary leave notice

The amount of leave notice you provide to a previous employer when you're voluntarily leaving can also influence your eligibility for rehire.

For example, providing your employer with one to two weeks' notice before your last day of work is helpful to allow them to reallocate your work before you leave. This is especially important if the company can't hire someone to fill your position before you leave.

If you provide them with only a couple of days' notice, then you may leave them with a challenge to reallocate your work in a shorter time frame. This might make your departure from the business more complicated for the business regarding its operations.

Companies may mark this information down in your employee file upon your resignation and consider it when determining your eligibility for rehire.

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