Choosing Internal or External Candidates

by Thom Tracy

2 min read

When it comes to hiring employees, many managers simply contact their local recruitment agency or put an ad in the appropriate trade journal. However, the person you need might already be part of your team, scrubbing the floors and just waiting for the chance to shine. Before going to the expense of recruiting an external hire, weigh up the pros and cons of hiring internally.

Advantages of Hiring Internal Candidates

Promoting current employees avoids the expense of paying agency fees and advertising costs, and provides the following advantages:

  • They already know your company, its culture, and its people, and they have a basic grasp of its corporate values, goals, and expectations.
  • You or their supervisors are already aware of their strengths and weaknesses.
  • They may already have good working relationship with your clients.
  • They have earned the respect of co-workers and stand a better chance of maximizing each individual’s skills and abilities.
  • They can hit the ground running and don’t need a prolonged period of on-boarding to bring them up to speed.
  • Their motivation levels and commitment to your company are likely to increase.
  • Employee retention improves as your workers see that your company recognizes and rewards hard work and commitment.

Advantages of Hiring External Candidates

There are times when external candidates are the preferred option:

  • They can bring a fresh approach that you might need to challenge stagnant thinking and shake things up.
  • They might have a skills set you need, such as experience with new equipment or understanding the latest technologies, and can train up your existing staff.
  • None of your current employees is ready for the leap in responsibility. People who are good at their current jobs may prove to be disastrous in managing people or organizing work schedules, causing you and them more harm than good.

Succession Planning

Ideally, your company should adopt a long-term strategy to predict staffing levels over the next two to three years. Take into account any plans to expand the company, and consider the impact of any key staff members who are likely to move on or retire. Then examine your current pool of employees and identify those individuals with potential. Typically, they are the ones who:

  • Bring solutions rather than problems.
  • Display a strong work ethic.
  • Regularly exceed your company’s and your clients’ expectations.
  • Have earned the respect of their co-workers. (However, be careful not to confuse respect with popularity, as the well-liked ones may find it harder to excel in supervisory roles.)

Talk with promising individuals about their career plans. There is no point in investing time and money in developing someone who is simply working to save money for round-the-world travel or is filling in time before going to university.

Moving Forward

When you have identified employees with the potential to move on up through the company, start them on a program of training and mentoring. Begin allocating more responsibility to them so they’re primed for promotion. Ultimately, when it comes to hiring, put the company’s needs first and choose the best person for the job. If you’ve got a mix of internal and external candidates, take a rigorous and fair approach to matching skills and experiences against the job’s requirements. Provide constructive feedback to unsuccessful internal candidates so they can benefit from the recruitment experience and improve their chances of success next time round.

References & Resources

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