Internal Recruitment: The Ultimate Guide

Internal Recruitment: The Ultimate Guide

Internal Recruitment: The Ultimate Guide

Free demo

The only HR Software without Limitations

Internal Recruitment: The Ultimate Guide

Most human resources departments (HR) typically focus on external candidates when any new role pops up. While this focus on external recruitment may often prove fruitful, it might not always be the best approach to every position.

Instead, your company might want to try internal recruitment. This term might be relatively vague if you haven't engaged in the practice itself. However, there's much more to it than meets the eye, especially when it comes to finding the right internal candidate.

There's also a chance that you're unconvinced that this might be the best approach to hiring. After all, there must be a good 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 for 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 many 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.

That's the most significant difference in the internal vs. external hiring process. 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
  • 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 this shift 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 recruiting. While many use this method alongside external recruitment, some use it independently. 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. Through this process, workers placed in a position are typically more productive than external hires. As a result, they'll be generating profit 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 the shortcomings.

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 in just as much effort as they do.

When it comes to recruitment, being proactive with your hiring is essential. Being part of choosing who works for your company is 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. You can make the best decisions for your vacancies and the overall company by working alongside your HR managers.

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, you might be wondering how you can be an effective people manager. While these skills change slightly from company to company, a few are common. The largest of these are:

Soft Skills for Internal Recruitment
  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 influential people manager.

Naturally, you'll need to adapt almost constantly to a company's needs, especially as it grows. If you pair this flexibility with the above-listed skills, you should have no problem with human resources.

Advantages of Internal Recruitment

You might be wondering what the advantages of internal recruitment are compared to its alternative. Thankfully, there are several pros 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 adjust them to the company culture and other things. Further, onboarding is almost a non-issue when choosing current employees. You also shouldn't need any background checks.
  • Increase Employee Engagement and 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 this process great for employee retention.
  • Less Need to Advertize and Reduced Costs: You shouldn't need to create a job ad for a new position if you're hiring from within. While you'll still need to create a job description for whoever gets the role, you'll save much 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 ensure 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 these benefits 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 to internal recruitment that you should be aware of. While these might not 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 often bring unique and sustainable solutions to long-standing problems.
  • 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 of candidates who would be eligible for the role.
  • Opening Another Role: Moving an employee from their current role to another is an excellent way to fill a specific position. You'll be creating another vacancy with this shift, however, which you'll still have to fill. They may also be moved to a different part of the company, which means getting to know new team members.

Although these points might not be as beneficial as internal recruitment's gains, they deserve consideration. As such, you may need to work around them and find ways to overcome any challenges that you might face.

Steps to Take During Internal Recruitment

While external and internal recruitment have multiple similarities, they also differ in many ways. As such, you might be hesitant to employ the steps needed to hire from within. Thankfully, these are relatively simple.

The most notable steps are:

Steps for Internal Recruitment
  • 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 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 ensure 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 many 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:

Internal Recruitment Mistakes to Avoid
  • Not Encouraging Employees: Many applicants may want to follow a specific 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 recruiting 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 you shouldn't screen them for a new job position. This task should be much easier, however. Alongside the usual screening methods, you'll have access to performance reviews, which should provide you with more accurate information on if they're suitable 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 individuals who apply for an internal role will not be completely qualified. Instead of just rejecting them, try offering constructive criticism. That will encourage them to improve and become better qualified when other roles come up.

Your internal recruitment process should shape up nicely by avoiding each of these cons. Streamlining this method will also ensure 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.

How to Improve Your Internal Recruitment Approach

While internal recruitment is part of many professionals' skills bases, that doesn't mean that you cannot become better inclined to find talent within your company.

Keep an Eye Out for Talent

Internal recruiters need to have an incredibly astute discernment when it comes to finding the right talent. To use a sports analogy, internal recruiters are the general managers of their businesses, making accurate evaluations of their most capable athletes.

Internal recruiters often have the best understanding of employees' strengths and weaknesses and whether they'd make good fits for certain roles or not. They will pore through employees’ existing achievements in their former or current positions.

References are a superb way to judge an employee’s capacity adequately, and you might benefit from external sources in this department.

Make a Good Impression

Current employees often have their own understanding of a newly-opened position and the company culture in general. An adept internal recruiter will demonstrate refreshing and encouraging values that employees might not know or have considered.

As internal recruiters are often the first point of contact for open positions, they have to make a great first impression. To do so, they must be articulate and persuasive without coming across as disingenuous.

A failure to convey the full worth of a position to internal candidates can often ruin the entire internal recruitment effort, meaning that hirers must now look outwards.

Run a Tight Ship

Beyond all the interpersonal qualities that an internal recruiter must possess are organizational skills. The internal recruitment process must be managed with an incredibly methodical standard.

A failure to do so could easily threaten the candidate pipeline you worked so hard to establish. Much of any recruitment process's success comes down to timing, and so balancing a variety of schedules will ensure that every step is completed in the correct order.

Become Passionate About Company Culture

Employees have a relatively accurate understanding of their company culture. An internal recruiter must become integral to improving this appreciation.

Internal recruiters need to identify any inclusivity-related shortcomings within a company culture. A candidate could be a fantastic fit for a position, but if they feel like they haven't been fairly appreciated within a company, they might be repelled from applying.

An incredible way to enhance your company culture is to improve your relationship with the community. Organize more outreach programs and make the kinds of connections that will better educate you and your employees about inclusivity.

What Internal Recruitment Can Do for Employees

Internal recruitment boosts a business's overall productivity and efficiency. But what does this process mean for employees?

A Motivational Resource

When employees know that their HR department is looking inward for potential candidates, they are bound to prove their worth. Internal recruitment is then a subtle way to motivate employee productivity and commitment.

Employees often feel like their development within their company is stunted by external recruitment. If they know that they have a good chance of getting a better or more desirable position, they are bound to work closer to their full potential.

Incredibly, a recent LinkedIn study found that almost one-quarter of individuals that had departed their previous positions did so because they weren't promoted. Remember that job-hopping has become a norm in many fields, and employers need to find more reasons to convince employees to stay.

Internal Recruitment Prevents Employee Churn

Upskilling and Development

Nothing stunts employee engagement quite like boredom. Not only is being understimulated bad for commitment, but it can also be a direct push factor.

Many employees will look for greener pastures if they feel that their current position isn't developing or challenging them sufficiently. This demotivation issue can also extend to internal recruitment, as employees will hesitate to apply for positions if they feel it just means more monotony.

While you will work hard to market a new position as an exciting opportunity to grow, you should ensure that your existing roles are adequately fulfilling and challenging. Millennials, in particular, hesitate to remain in repetitive and unfulfilling positions.

Broaden Your Disciplinary Horizons

While you might have a good idea of which departments' employees would be the best fit for a new position, you might be selling yourself short if you ignore other divisions.

Modern employees are incredibly diverse in their skill bases and qualities, and no one should be pinned to an obtuse department. You might find that a copywriter could make for a convincing sales rep.

Considering employees from less obvious departments allows you to inject a new role with new approaches that can be incredibly effective and profitable. This diversified approach is an excellent way to remove silos from your company while upskilling employees in refreshing ways.

The Best Opportunities for Internal Recruitment

While there are plenty of benefits for internal recruitment across the board, there are certain situations where internal recruitment will truly shine.

  • Budget Constraints: Not every HR department will have an enormous budget to scour the world for potential candidates. Even when the ideal candidate is found, they still need to be onboarded and trained. Internal recruitment is a comparatively affordable way to fill a role.
  • Experts Needed: While there are plenty of appropriately skilled and knowledgeable candidates out there, you will find that your employees know their departments and processes best. Internal recruitment is best for roles requiring a deep understanding of a company.
  • Internal Skills: Any role requires a particular collection of skills, and you might find that employees in similar positions have all the talent needed to do a great job.
  • Time Constraints: If time is of the essence, then you might not be able to afford a lengthy recruitment process. Internal recruitment allows familiar individuals that know each others' capabilities well to fill out a position quickly.


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.

Internal Recruitment leads to happy employees

Using both recruitment methods simultaneously can be recommended for any staffing decisions. HR will often advise you to look to your existing workforce before considering any external hires for some roles.

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

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


Free demo

The only HR Software without Limitations