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When a new, exciting position opens in your business you can be overwhelmed by the issues presented by recruitment. Not only is trying to find the best person possible for a role a daunting task, it can also be stressful and time consuming.

Certainly, external applicants bring a range of benefits, including new, exciting ideas and a refreshing air to the roles they are placed in. However, it is important not to dismiss the many advantages of internal recruitment and what this can do for your business and your staff.

It can be very efficient and cost effective - but limits available skill sets

The main advantage with internal recruitment is in its efficiency; roles can be advertised internally in a variety of formats and formalities, from work-based intranets to emails to posters in the staffroom. Furthermore, the processes of interviewing and trialling candidates can be done to a quicker schedule. This can result in faster recruitment, which is always essential for businesses as empty roles can be draining on other staff and resources.

With advertising on job sites, arranging interviews and extra administration such as expenses, recruiting from outside the company can sometimes be more costly for your business.

Once an internal candidate has been chosen, the training can be streamlined to some extent making it speedier and cost effective as the staff member already has some sound knowledge of the role and its requirements.

However, while recruiting internally can save you time and money, you lose the variety of skill sets you have access to when recruiting for external candidates. This can be a big drawback to internal recruitment. While finding an internal option may be preferable for roles which require general skills and competencies, if you look internally for a role requiring very specific skills, you'll miss out on external professionals who are a better fit for your requirements.

It is great motivation for existing staff - but choose wisely

Starting any position in the knowledge that their current role is the furthest they can go can be quite demoralising for employees and can have a negative effect on their work and therefore your business. Alternatively, a business can be explicit in informing their staff about opening positions and grooming existing staff specifically for future roles within the company. 

This is a key advantage to recruiting internally - it motivates staff as it shows them the potential of working with the company, creates aspirations and recognises their existing abilities.

In retaining your current talent your business does not lose out to competitors, which many staff may choose to work for if there is no reason to stay on in their current roles.  Trust and loyalty are essential for thriving, motivated and, essentially, happy work teams which allows businesses to achieve their goals.

Having an excellent pathway for your staff to progress internally is a sign of a strong organisation, but you must ensure you select the right professionals for the right roles. Choosing an internal candidate simply to motivate other staff members may benefit you in the short term, but if the professional lacks the capability to fulfil the position, you will simple be looking to recruit again a few months later, costing you extra time and money.

The culture of your business

Many businesses are keen to externally employ because they believe this brings fresh ideas to positions. Certainly, bringing in someone who doesn’t have any preconceived notions of what a business is about or how it operates can be beneficial.

However, internal recruitment has many advantages. Research has proven that 75% of internal recruits are successful in their new roles and 47% stay on in their roles for three years at least; statistics which cannot be ignored.

Part of the reason for this success is that these professionals will already be familiar with your company’s mission, aims and objectives. Knowledge of existing processes and how the business operates allows them to hit the ground running – a key internal recruitment advantage.

Proven cultural fit

One of the advantages of internal recruitment is that you can discount any concerns about cultural fit. If someone is already working within the organisation and has been recommended for a new position, then they will already have adapted to your company’s culture and understand its values.

However, when recruiting you should not only simply look for ‘culture fit’, but also ‘culture add’. While you may know that your internal hire should be a good organisational fit, will they bring anything new to the table? It may be that you’re satisfied with the existing culture within your team and the organisation as a whole, but you should always consider what skills, attributes and traits would be great additions to your company’s culture – and whether you need to look externally to add them.

Shorter learning curve

Many businesses have customs which cannot be learned immediately. Current employees know the company's ethics, its culture and all the functions of the business - something which is beneficial as it ensures smooth transitions from role to role. It also means that existing staff are not supporting a new member of the team for a long period of adjustment, which can be draining to the business. 

If you are looking for continuity, then internal recruitment is a good option. However, there will be a number of occasions where you actually want to employ someone with a different perspective and competencies to help freshen up your team. In this scenario, you're far better at looking to recruit externally.

Risk of an echo chamber (no new ideas)

As highlighted above, a disadvantage of internal recruitment is that you create an echo chamber where everybody has been conditioned to think and act in the same way. This type of groupthink can be a hinderance to business performance, so you should always assess whether your team requires someone who thinks similarly or someone with a different perspective when you hire.

If it is the latter, then you should consider the advantages and disadvantages of recruiting internally for someone who will be brimming with new ideas. While there could be a good internal candidate who fits the bill, chances are that you’ll need to look outside the organisation for someone with a different perspective.

The potentials of internal recruitment are definitely something businesses are starting to notice and it is certainly worth considering when starting out in the process of recruitment. However, you should always be mindful that there are advantages and disadvantages to internal recruitment – don’t rule out looking for external candidates as they may prove to be a better option for your organisation.

If you need a trusted partner to help you recruit externally, contact your local Reed office.

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