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How to Make Internal Recruitment Work for Your Company

11/28/2023
How to Make Internal Recruitment Work for Your Company
Reading Time: 4 minutes

What Does Internal Recruitment Mean? 

Internal recruitment or internal hiring involves filling a vacant position with an employee already part of your organization. The employee can be under any department as long as they fit the role you have to fill.

The advantages of internal recruitment can include allowing you to retain your best people, saving your hiring team resources, and guaranteeing cultural fit. 

There’s no question that finding top talent is a considerable hurdle in recruitment. But what if you already have the perfect candidate—just in a different department? Hiring managers who overlook internal recruitment miss out on the advantages this hiring strategy offers. 

Savvy companies double down on this strategy to help them sustainably find and retain top talent. Take Infosys, for instance. The company balances its internal and external hiring efforts through its internal platform, Compass. It allows employees to easily find new career opportunities within the company. 

“Your best talent is inside,” said Rajesh Ahuja, the Global Head of Talent Acquisition. “It just requires a nudge to create an internal hiring system that will give you the best talent possible.”

Want to learn how you can benefit from internal recruitment? It’s best to first take a moment to understand the process.

You can use different internal recruitment methods to fill roles in your organization, beyond simply transferring them from one department to another. These include promoting an employee to a higher position, changing their role’s responsibilities, or reorganizing teams in a larger organization restructure. 

Internal Recruitment vs. External Recruitment 

The primary difference between internal vs. external recruitment is from where you source potential candidates. For internal recruitment, you can work with department supervisors to find the right people for vacant roles. 

Meanwhile, external recruitment is the process of hiring someone new, from outside your organization. It could be an active applicant or an employee from another company who holds a similar position to the one you’re trying to fill, by way of passive or lateral recruitment. While lateral recruitment has the benefit of acquiring talent with the skills you require, it doesn’t eliminate the struggle of seeking candidates outside your company.

4 Advantages of Internal Recruitment 

In most cases, internal recruitment can be the first step in your hiring process. Looking for potential candidates in your existing workforce brings multiple benefits.

1. Helps you retain your best people 

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According to McKinsey & Company, 48% of job leavers seek work in other industries. For this reason, hiring employees from internal departments could be your ticket to retaining your best performers with the industry knowledge you want. 

2. Takes less time and money

Josh Bersin Company believes it can cost you up to five times more to hire talent externally than internally. It isn’t only in terms of money but also in time, taking much longer to find the right fit for a vacant position.

Internal recruitment significantly reduces your time-to-hire and cost-per-hire since the candidate is already within your company.

3. Shortens the onboarding process

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Existing employees are already familiar with your internal processes and teams. This factor means you can skip typical, lengthy onboarding programs and instead directly jump to preparing them about their new role. 

If a skills gap analysis reveals a gap in your current workforce, you can replace your usual onboarding process with one more directed at upskilling the selected candidate. 

4. Guarantees cultural fit

Because the candidate is a current employee, they already understand the company’s organizational structure and will have less of a learning curve in relationship building than someone from outside the organization.

Internal Recruitment Tips for Successful Hiring

If you’ve never considered internal recruitment, here are a few tips to help your efforts succeed. 

1. Develop a job posting system

Only a third (33%) of the 3,000 jobseekers Gartner surveyed in 2021 sought opportunities within their companies first. This highlights the importance of generating awareness for job openings in your company among your employees.

A job posting system doesn’t need to be complex. For example, a company message board can provide a platform for employees to ask hiring questions and receive updates on vacant positions. You can also spread the word through an internal company newsletter, blog, or staff-wide email announcements.

2. Collaborate with team leads

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Frontline managers and senior leaders are more familiar with the people on their teams, making them great sources of help in scoping out your current workforce for qualified individuals. 

But not all heads will be on board with the idea of losing one of their own to another department. Discussions and negotiations will be key in these scenarios for smooth internal recruitment.

3. Conduct fair interviews

Fair and transparent interviews prevent potential accusations of bias or favoritism. Gathering multiple stakeholders helps you ensure the candidate you select is objectively the best choice based on their skills, experience, and overall fit for the role.

As it can be difficult to eliminate all bias when you know the candidates beforehand, outside experts can help. They can assist with conducting unbiased interviews or effectively administer pre-employment assessment tests because they don’t have personal connections with the candidates. 

4. Be gentle with rejections

The caveat with internal recruitment is that rejections can be even more challenging. It isn’t like external hiring, where you aren’t likely to encounter rejected outside applicants daily. The internal candidates you reject will still be in the company, which can cause friction if the process doesn’t go well. 

Positive and constructive feedback for unsuccessful candidates can help them improve while maintaining professional relationships. Suggest additional certifications they can acquire or skills to work on so you can help them develop their careers. You can also offer other roles in the company they may be better for, softening the impact of their rejection.

The Right Talent: Right There All Along 

Any recruiter can sympathize with the struggle of finding and hiring top talent. What you may not realize is that the best fit for the role might already be working for you. Internal recruitment saves you time and money and makes onboarding easier since the new hires are already familiar with your processes. 

When it comes to your onboarding process, being thorough ensures the candidate is the right fit for the role. Because they’re from a different department, they might not yet have the specific skills for the new role they’re about to get. That’s where pre-employment tests can help.

EmployTest offers several pre-employment assessment tests to help audit the skills of your internal candidates. Try a sample test today to see how you can confidently fill vacant roles.