Internal recruiting is the process of hiring someone from your existing workforce for a new or vacant position. An internal hiring process works – or should work – much as it does for external candidates. The real difference is that the organization looks inward for existing talent, rather than seeking new talent elsewhere.
There are a few main ways to advance (and keep) talent within your organization.
Sourcing internally can save a lot of time and money, especially if the role you’re filling is difficult to find external candidates for. Internal hires are already part of your team, so finding them doesn’t require tapping into your recruitment marketing budget.
Internal candidates may also express interest in a new role your organization is creating but isn’t ready to advertise just yet. Sharing new roles with your workforce first creates an opportunity to source early. You may even find candidates with related experience who can help shape the role, always an indicator of success.
Worried about losing a high performer? Sometimes people feel they’re no longer being challenged and are ready to try new things. Internal recruiting creates an opportunity to keep their knowledge and expertise within the organization, rather than losing it completely (perhaps to a competitor).
Recruiting internally can boost employee morale, not only for the individual, but for the organization as a whole. Employees want to know they have an opportunity to do meaningful work and advance when the time is right; internal promotions, transfers, and role changes all prove this possible and valued by leadership.
Internal recruiting also means the employee being recruited can bring their insider’s knowledge with them. There may be fewer barriers to getting that employee into a productive posture as they are already familiar with the business. It can also reduce the time a position remains unfilled, as internal hires can be vetted much faster.
Difficulty sourcing is one of the biggest obstacles to creating a more diverse and inclusive workforce. It’s an uncomfortable truth that often gets overlooked. Talking about our willingness to embrace D&I, along with all the things we’re doing to make that happen – that’s the easy part. It’s much less easy to admit when those efforts don’t yield any new faces.
Alone, internal recruiting won’t make your workforce more diverse. But internal recruiting can make your organization more inclusive by providing employees new opportunities, skills, and experience needed to grow their careers.
We should talk about the elephant in the room: arithmetic. Basic principles of math suggest that when we fill an empty role with an internal hire, we still have an empty role to fill. This is perhaps the biggest drawback to internal recruiting, and the reason why it isn’t more popular. Essentially, you’re filling two roles instead of one.
That said, you can be reasonably sure your internal hire already knows the business inside and out. All else being equal, this gives him or her a leg up over an external candidate. Employees also grow and develop new skills, meaning someone you hired for an entry level position may be a great fit for something more advanced. Entry level positions are typically faster and cheaper to fill than something higher up the ladder.
Many of the same software applications you use for external recruitment can help to improve the effectiveness of internal recruitment.
Want to learn more about successful internal recruitment strategies? Check out the Definitive Guide to Building Your Talent Pipeline.