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Internal Recruitment: The Ultimate Guide

14 Jul 2021

three women having a meeting

Internal Recruitment: The Ultimate Guide

For the majority of businesses, human resources (HR) typically focuses on external candidates when any new role pops up. While this focus on external recruitment may often prove fruitful, it mightn’t always be the best approach to every position.

Instead, your company might want to try internal recruitment. If you haven’t engaged in the practice itself, the term might be relatively explanatory. There’s much more to it than meets the eye, however, especially when it comes to finding the right internal candidate.

There’s also a chance that you’re not convinced that this might be the best approach to hiring. After all, there must be a reason why most firms look outside when they start their hiring process?

Both methods have their benefits. As such, one shouldn’t be seen as a replacement to the other. Instead, you should see them as complementary to each other, with a blend of both being a recommended way to find the most qualified candidates.

If you’re new to the internal recruitment process, then there are a few things that you’ll need to know. Hiring from within can come with its own complications, after all.

What Is Internal Recruitment And Why Is It Important?

Definition Of Internal Recruitment

Before getting into why you should consider internal recruitment, it’s best to define what it actually is. As you might expect, this is sourcing candidates for a new job from your existing employees rather than looking outward.

In a lot of cases, this can be done from within a specific team, although it’s common to see employees being moved from different areas. As a result, your internal hiring methods could look for employees from anywhere in the company to fill a vacant position.

When it comes to the internal vs. external hiring process, that’s the largest difference. Naturally, there can be a few differences in how you approach the process, although this is typically focused on adapting the overall hiring process from one to the other.

That means that you shouldn’t need to post on job boards, among other practicalities. There are several types of internal recruiting that you may have engaged in already, although you may not have known it. The most notable of these are:

  • Promotions;
  • Making a temporary employee permanent;
  • Employee referrals, and;
  • Transferring an employee from one department or location to another.

As such, the process of moving an employee to another role shouldn’t seem as alien to most people. In many cases, you can see it as either a promotion or a transfer.

Why Should You Consider Internal Recruitment For Your Company?

According to a recent study by LinkedIn, the majority of businesses are now using internal recruitment. While many are using that alongside external recruitment, some are using it on their own. As you might expect, the majority of these are for full-time jobs.

What does that mean for you? Well, it’s why these companies are doing so that matters. Workers placed in a position through this process are typically productive much faster than an external hire. As a result, they’ll be generating money for you much quicker than others.

There are also lower costs associated with it when compared to its external counterpart. If you’re looking for a cost-effective and quick way to find suitable candidates for a specific position, then this will be the recommended option.

Though there are some negatives associated with it, the benefits drastically outweigh these.

Who Is Responsible For People Management?

As you might expect, the responsibility of people management falls on your managers and human resources professionals. That doesn’t mean that the buck stops with them, however. Instead, you should put just as much effort as them.

When it comes to recruitment, being proactive with your hiring is essential. As such, being involved in choosing who works for your company can be a well-recommended option. That’s especially true with internal recruitment.

The more involved you are, the more you’ll know and value your employees. Working alongside your HR managers, you can then make the best decisions for your vacancies and the overall company.

Doing so will also mean that employees respect you more and are more likely to stay engaged with the company long-term. As a result, you’ll see more productivity and better results with your workers.

6 Skills Necessary For An Effective People Manager

If you work in HR, then you might be wondering how you can be an effective people manager. While these can often change slightly from company to company, there are a few that are common. The largest of these are:

  1. Good Communication.
  2. The Ability To Motivate.
  3. Patience.
  4. Being A Proactive Problem-Solver.
  5. Being Able To Hold Yourself Accountable.
  6. Honest And Able To Provide Constructive Feedback.

By developing and refining the above, you should be well on your way to being an effective people manager. Naturally, you’ll need to adapt almost constantly to a company’s needs, especially as it grows.

Coupled with the above, you should have no problem in human resources.

Advantages Of Internal Recruitment

You might be wondering whether there are any advantages of internal recruitment compared to its alternative. Thankfully, there are several of them that you can take advantage of. These should be seen throughout your human resources processes, among other areas.

The most notable of these are:

  • Cut Down On Onboarding Times: Onboarding times are one of the largest barriers to getting a new hire started. Alongside getting them trained, you might need to get them adjusted to the company culture and other things. That onboarding is almost eradicated by choosing current employees. You also shouldn’t need any background checks.
  • Increase Employee Engagement & Retention: Employees are much more engaged when they believe that they’ll be rewarded. One proven way of improving employee engagement is by offering regular promotions and other benefits, making the process great for employee retention.
  • Less Need To Advertise & Reduced Costs: If you’re hiring from within, then you wouldn’t need to create a job ad for a new position. While you’ll still need to create a job description for whoever gets the role, you’ll save a lot of time skipping certain steps. These will also reduce overall costs, as you can forgo many HR-related expenses.
  • Get The Right Candidate: Hiring from within also means that you’ll have access to performance reviews. These will help you make sure they have the exact skill set you need for the vacant position. That could help you put more trust in them with the role.

With all of those in mind, it can be quite easy to see why many hiring managers and business owners prefer the approach.

Disadvantages Of Internal Recruitment

As beneficial as it may be, there are several disadvantages of internal recruitment that you should be aware of. While these mightn’t outweigh the benefits, they’re still things that should factor into your decision.

The most significant of these are:

  • Lack Of A Fresh Perspective: While internal hires may have the skills needed for a role, they might not have a fresh perspective to add. That could result in a lack of creative ideas at your company. New employees, however, should be able to do so, which could be welcome. That new talent can often be a vital part to growth.
  • Smaller Talent Pool: Limiting your hiring decisions to internal candidates significantly restricts the talent pool you’re recruiting from. That could lead to a lack ot candidates who would be eligible for the role.
  • Opening Another Role: Moving an employee from their current role to another one is great for filling a specific position. Now you’ve got another vacancy, however, which you’ll still have to fill. They also may be moved to a different part of the company, which means time to get to know new team members.

Although these mightn’t be as large as the benefits of internal recruitment, they can certainly be big enough to pay attention to. As such, you may need to work around them and find ways to overcome any challenges that you might face.

Steps To Partake During Internal Recruitment

While external recruiting and internal recruitment have multiple similarities, they also have their differences. As such, you might be hesitant about the steps needed to hire from within. Thankfully, these are relatively simple.

The most notable steps are:

  • Set Up Your Processes: You should develop a job posting or job description for your internal employees. Alongside this, you’ll need to figure out what the recruiters will do, if there is anybody else involved in hiring decisions, and much more.
  • Set Up An Applicant Tracking System: You’ll need an applicant tracking system regardless of whether you’re hiring from within or outside. It will make things a lot easier when hiring.
  • Encourage Employees To Apply: Once all of the above has been established, you should then encourage your employees to apply. There should be a defined time period for this.
  • Narrow Down Your Options: As with all other hiring methods, you’ll then need to narrow down your choices. Typically, this will be done through interviews, analyzing applications, and more.
  • Choose The New Hire: Once you’ve taken in all of the information you need, it’s time to make your decision. You should be as fair as possible with this and have several people involved in your hiring decisions.

Following the steps above should make sure that your internal hiring process goes as smoothly as possible.

Common Mistakes In Internal Recruitment

You might think that hiring internally is the same as doing so externally. That isn’t the case and often leads to quite a few mistakes being made. Thankfully, many of these are relatively common.

As a result, they can be easy to avoid if you already know about them. The most notable of these are:

  • Not Encouraging Employees: Many applicants may want to follow a certain career path within your company. That will more than likely include promotions or applying for different roles. They may not do this without encouragement, as they might believe that only external applicants should apply. A little bit of encouragement can go a long way.
  • Failing To Screen Applicants: Just because somebody already works for you doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t screen them. This should be much easier, however. Alongside the usual screening methods, you’ll have access to performance reviews, which should provie you with more accurate information on if they’re right for the role.
  • Not Having A Strategy: An internal recruitment strategy is vital to the success of your internal recruitment process. Failing to have a plan in place will lead to mistakes, alongside the possibility of confusion between recruiters and applicants.
  • Not Giving Constructive Feedback: Some people who apply for an internal role aren’t going to be completely qualified. Instead of just rejecting them, try offering constructive criticism. That will encourage them to improve, and then may be better qualified when other roles come up.

By avoiding each of these, your internal recruitment process should shape up nicely. It’ll also make sure that you’re getting the most qualified candidates possible for any new role. That will set you and your business up for success over the long term.


Internal recruitment can be a cost-effective way to find qualified candidates for any job openings that you might have. It will also take much less time to fill a position. As novel an idea as it might be to fill vacant roles, it should be seen as a complement to external hiring processes.

Using both recruitment methods at the same time can be a recommended option for any staffing decisions. When it comes to some roles, it can often be advised that you look to your existing workforce before considering any external hires.

That’s especially true if they’re needed for a project that’s quite time-sensitive. With how much faster internal recruiting can be, filling these roles with well-trained employees who know what they’re doing is quick and easy.

You’ll also save on the time it takes for them to fit in with current employees, as they’ll already know them and fit in with the company culture. If you’ve got any open positions coming up soon, it’s worth considering the approach to fill them.

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