The Second Handshake


Is it wise to re-join an organization that you have moved on from? Whether it is the recognition of your true worth (finally!), a much bigger role with a CTC to match or just the prestige and honour of being called back, it can be tempting to accept an offer from a previous employer.

We spoke to executives who had been approached by organizations they had previously worked for and decided to get to the heart – and head – of the decision-making process.

We help you weigh up the pros & cons of the decision to join a previous employer.

Career Growth Trajectory

There is a better chance of a previous employer offering you a position that you want and putting you on a fast growth trajectory. Your reputation precedes you and since the organisation wants you back, it gives you the high ground in a negotiation as compared to a newcomer. This is an opportunity to make a quantum jump while making a significant contribution to the organization.
However, do consider the long term implications. Sustained growth over a period of time should not be undermined through a temporary jump. Go beyond the improved designation and higher compensation and evaluate the intrinsic challenges offered by the assignment.

Knowledge of the Organization

The fact that you are well-versed with the culture and processes of the organization is a definite plus, when rejoining your previous workplace. As you know how things are done, you can move in seamlessly and right away focus on the job at hand. The organisation too recognizes that the individual is familiar with the company systems and ideology. The result is greater trust and support from the management, especially in key projects.
However, it’s important not to make the assumption that key people, processes, policies – & philosophies – have stayed the same. It could be worth while to ensure that key factors influencing your call have not changed since your last tenure.

The Peer Group Factor

Getting back into the comfort zone of familiar people, networks & surroundings can be a tremendous feel-good factor. But this one could have a sting in the tail.

The chances are that someone from within the organization was passed over in favour of your candidature. Or that annual increments did not keep pace with the offer rolled out to tempt you back. Some colleagues may believe that your gains happened at their cost or that by simply leaving the organization your standing has gone up a few notches without any real justification. Typically, there will be resentment from peers and resistance of your authority from people down the line, handling not-too-helpful colleagues is one of the more serious challenges that will come with the decision to return. Expect to spend the first few weeks re-connecting & networking with earlier colleagues to assess how equations that have changed.

Hidden Surprises

While there is no real way of telling what surprises await you, you can be sure that there will be a few. For instance, you might discover that a person that you considered to be an ace resource, has grown complacent. Or that a senior management team has become less accessible to you, contrary to your earlier impression.
Hidden surprises may well be pleasant surprises too. That new department head might just mean that it is easier for you to get certain projects moving or build a better cross-department understanding.

 Performance Pressure

From the CEO down, it’s all eyes on you. There is speculation about what you bring to the table and you will need to deliver on significantly higher expectations. In some organizations, this may take the form of subtle one-upmanship between those who stayed behind and someone who has moved out.
However, the company has already proven its inherent trust by re-hiring you and you and that’s what counts.

Today we are witnessing an upward trend across industries to rehire. So when an opportunity does come knocking, make the most of it!

Rahul Malhotra
Rahul is the Co-Founder and CEO at HeadHonchos.
He has close to 14 years of experience across the executive search, recruitment, retail and internet verticals. One of the first to come on board, he holds an MBA degree from IMI, Belgium and a Diploma in Information Technology from Swinburne, Australia

22 thoughts on “The Second Handshake

  1. In my opinion a “Second Handshake” should be undertaken only if one is sure and confident of delivering under Demanding Situations.

  2. It all depends on the circumstances under which the person left the Organisation in the first place. If there was any allegation of non performance or any sort of humiliation to the person at the time of leaving, he should not join back no matter wahatever the benefit offered is….a higher CTC, a much bigger job profile or whatever. there is no guarantee that similar circumstances will not recur and the Organisation is calling him back only because they are unable to source someone to join them, which could be for a variety of reasons.

  3. Yes ,Certainly this is an excellent article which will motivate people to think over their past,but joining in a previous organization is possible only if the top management man is realistic for achieving the organization,s goal and is UNEGOISTIC

  4. It is always a good idea – not to burn bridges as you move on. Returning is possible when it suits both parties and is therefore not a one way affair. Love your job and not your company – the dictum from Narayan Murthy is the best policy I suppose.

  5. The dictum – love your job and not your Company should help the individual to decide. If he/she is in love with the new job, then why move back to the previous organization? One must weigh all the pros and cons of the scenario and take a call. It should not be a confusion of a young mind like saying “she loves me / she does not love me!” SWAT analysis would be a handy tool for a right decision.

  6. In my books, its a complete no-no. You will always be on the defensive and team will be looking down on you. If the management itself woos you back, its a different situation! Never go back on your own.

  7. In my opinion the benefits of a “Second Handshake” should be critically weighed and compared against the opportunity loss in terms of career growth prospects considering some of the following aspects:

    – What is the scale of operations of both the organisations;generally bigger the better
    – What is the employee’s width of role and team size managed; again larger the better
    – How aggressive are the respective organisations?

    Also one should compare what is the work culture in both the companies? Extended long working hours(in and out of office) and poor work environment will ultimately increase the employee’s stress levels

  8. Second Handshake is a relative process for each and every individual and depends upon situations .
    As Mr. Mistry rightly said the reason of leaving the organisation at first place is very important. If one believes that previous organisation has a definate Career Growth path for him in next Five years, then and then only one can think of re joining.

    Otherwise as rightfully quoted by Mr. Malhotra, Love your job and not your company will decide everything.

  9. A second handshake is well worth it if the individual is completely confident about the role and job responsibilities. It should not be seen merely as a means to get to a higher compensation and designation. The job description should be in line to the candidate’s career and personal interest. The bottom line is that the new job offering should be given thorough consideration like any other job offer rather than being seen on as a quick gain. All short term interests have a potential to backfire such as the colleagues may be less helpful the second time round, good reputation and bad reputation go hand in hand and old timers may remember the idiosyncracies of the candidate and may spread the word around to new comers and in general make things difficult. Hence a thorough research work on the new dynamics in the old organization is a must.

  10. Well no single statement can be complete. There will always some ifs and buts. Yes if one is looking for second handshake, it has to be a mutual requirement and understanding. Still one cannot rule out a hostile attitude of few co-workers.
    I hope one accepting second hand shake has matured over the time, has better overview of situation and take a decision that best suits to him/her and the organization as whole

  11. I am sure it is great idea. However we have to outweigh the benefits vs career prospects in the organisation. We should also see what is the current mindset of the organisation from the previous tenure .There could have a been change in dynamics of the organisation,as per the current requirements. Is it suitable to us , now. Will we be in a position to cope up the situation. What is the expectations level, from you when you re hired by the organisation. Once we have done a through evaluation, we can take a call and boldly accept it.

  12. Second handshake is an option one should exercise if he left the organization for better learning opportunity, better position and better package. If he left the organization for better working atmosphere and recognition then its better not to go back to a place where you did not enjoy working earlier.
    Remember its a wild world out there, don’t expect a dramatic change in work culture or work atmosphere.
    Money and position is secondary but liking your job is the top priority.
    Who can guide you better then yourself because you already know the way you were treated during your last innings. Thus take a wise decision and avoid the trap.

  13. It becomes tricky for the boss if reentry is at a higher CTC/designation. Many of the exisiting good employees might have not been so lucky to get higher increments over a period of time. We have many companies which give good CTC to new joinees where as the annual increment is lower even for good employee who remain in the company. Then a feeling may set in that existing employees are not taken care of. If it is damn necessity ,then the reporting relations with the rejoinee need to be managed.

  14. My brother recommended I would possibly like this web site. He was entirely right. This publish actually made my day. You cann’t believe simply how a lot time I had spent for this info! Thank you!

  15. Not good ,even the company them selfs call back employee will be feel sorry in later stage that is the management always see in another angle that is he has no option to survive in the industry except this company
    So. no no no on reentry to any company.

  16. As Mr. Narayan Murthi has mentioned, ” love your job nots your company”. It all depends on the circumstances for the second hand shake. You see it is very important for the company & the individual to understand that if a person returns to the previous company the dignity of the employer & employee relation is intact and the person rejoining must also see the future growth prospectus. It is vice versa for both the parties. After all one should be passionate about job he/she will be doing not the company. One should make a move with an open mind.

  17. “The second handshake” is like” The Second Thought” – circumstances and criticism are/were a thing in the past.
    What would count today is the fact that you are being given an opportunity – which under any circumstance one should never accept.
    A divorce is a divorce.

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