Hiring Internally vs. Externally: The Lesser of Two Evils

hiring internal vs external

When it comes to expanding a team or filling a vacancy, organizations often face the decision of whether to hire internally or externally. This choice is not merely about filling a role but involves considering broader impacts on team dynamics, company culture, and employee morale.

Both internal and external hiring processes have their distinct advantages and challenges, often described by some as choosing the “lesser of two evils.” Each approach brings different benefits and potential drawbacks to the table, influencing not only the immediate hiring needs but also long-term organizational growth.

This article will delve into the nuances of hiring internally versus externally, analyzing how each strategy can affect the organization and its employees. Let’s unpack the potential benefits and pitfalls of internal and external hiring to better navigate this complex decision-making landscape.

What Are the Good and Bad Things About Hiring Internally?

internal hiring process
Source: freepik.com

Hiring internally offers several advantages, starting with the reduced costs and time associated with the recruitment process. Internal candidates are already familiar with the company culture and processes, which can lead to a smoother transition and quicker adaptation to new roles. This familiarity also reduces training and onboarding time, enabling faster productivity gains.

Another significant benefit is the positive impact on employee morale. When staff sees opportunities for growth and advancement within the organization, it can enhance job satisfaction and loyalty. This internal mobility demonstrates the company’s commitment to employee development, potentially leading to increased engagement and reduced turnover.

The best way to find out if you should hire externally or internally is to have a good HR person on your side, and you can check with experts like Jeff Smith Blackrock to see which practices are recommended depending on your organization.

Despite its advantages, internal hiring presents its own set of challenges. One major concern is the limited pool of candidates, which may lead to compromising on skill sets or experience levels that are available externally. Additionally, internal hiring can create a ripple effect of vacancies that need to be filled, potentially leading to multiple internal shifts and adjustments.

Another potential downside is the risk of internal politics or bias influencing the selection process, which can result in dissatisfaction and perceptions of unfairness among other employees. This scenario can damage morale and create a tense workplace environment if not managed carefully.

What Are the Good and Bad Things About Hiring Externally?

External hiring brings fresh perspectives and ideas into the organization, which can be vital for innovation and adapting to market changes. New hires from outside the company can challenge the status quo and inspire creativity, offering insights or expertise that may not be present internally.

This method also allows organizations to align recruitment with strategic objectives by selecting candidates with specific skills or experiences that are lacking within the current team. External hiring expands the talent pool significantly, providing a broader range of candidates to find the best possible match for the role.

On the flip side, external hiring is usually more costly and time-consuming. The process involves advertising the position, screening numerous candidates, conducting interviews, and possibly negotiating offers. There is also a higher risk associated with external hires as they might not adapt well to the company culture or meet performance expectations, despite a promising interview process.

Moreover, relying too heavily on external hiring can undermine current employees’ motivation, leading them to feel overlooked or undervalued, which could impact their commitment to the company and even result in higher turnover.

How to Balance Your Hiring Strategies?

internal process hiring
Source: freepik.com

The decision between hiring internally or externally should not be viewed as an absolute choice but rather as a strategic balance that varies by situation. Organizations might benefit from a mixed approach where they consider internal candidates first for roles that are a logical step up within a career path while looking externally for specialized skills or new positions that require fresh insights.

Ultimately, the key is maintaining transparency in the hiring process, clearly communicating the criteria and reasons for hiring decisions, and ensuring all employees feel they are treated fairly. This approach helps preserve morale and keeps the workforce motivated and engaged, regardless of whether the hire is internal or external.

By carefully considering the specific needs of the organization and the potential impacts of each hiring choice, businesses can effectively navigate the complexities of recruitment, fostering a dynamic and harmonious workplace that drives long-term success.

What Are the Best Practices that Are Going to Help You with Your Decision?

To optimize the hiring process, whether internally or externally, companies can adopt several best practices that ensure fairness and strategic alignment with organizational goals. Establishing clear, consistent criteria for all positions is crucial. These criteria should be directly tied to the job’s requirements and the company’s long-term objectives, helping to remove biases and focus on the qualities that are truly important.

How to Properly Utilize Technology During This Process?

Technology can significantly streamline the hiring process, making it more efficient and effective. Applicant tracking systems can help HR departments manage applications more efficiently, ensuring that no potential candidate is overlooked and that the process is consistent. For internal hiring, technology can be used to track employee performance and identify potential candidates for promotion based on objective criteria.

Make Sure You Rely on Evaluation and Feedback

employee Evaluation and Feedback
Source: freepik.com

Continuous evaluation of the hiring process and feedback from new hires and their managers help refine hiring strategies over time. This could involve analyzing the success of past hires—both internal and external—to determine which practices yield the best results. Feedback loops should also be established to ensure that all participants in the hiring process, from the candidates to the interviewers and decision-makers, can provide insights into what worked well and what could be improved.

Plan Your Workforce Before You Make Any Decisions

Integrating strategic workforce planning is essential for balancing internal and external hiring needs. This involves understanding not only the current skills and capabilities within the organization but also anticipating future needs based on industry trends and company growth trajectories. By aligning the workforce plan with strategic business objectives, companies can decide more proactively when to develop internal talent and when to acquire external talent to fill gaps.

Choosing between hiring internally and externally involves a complex array of factors that go beyond the immediate needs of filling a vacancy. It requires a strategic approach that considers long-term business goals, employee morale, and the overall health of the organization. By adopting a balanced and thoughtful approach, companies can build a robust workforce that is well-equipped to navigate both current and future challenges, driving sustained organizational success.