Give Internal Candidates a Chance for Promotion
Several years ago, I worked for an organization as the No. 2 manager. I had an excellent performance record. I was loyal and did everything I could to promote the organization. My boss retired, and the organization decided to spend $60,000 on hiring a national search firm to secure his replacement. I asked for and received a reference letter from my boss before he left office just in case I decided to leave.
I applied for his job and was made interim executive director of the foundation. After a very long external search, I had my chance with the search committee. Fortunately, I was named as the permanent replacement. I did not have a great taste in my mouth, because of the second-class way I felt in the process as an internal candidate. Because of that experience, I have deep empathy for internal candidates if they seek and are qualified for higher level jobs.
Harvard Business Review pointed out that 25% of professionals today have an eye on internal promotion. Company issues with internal candidates include the feeling that internal candidates do not have the right skills, companies are planning for attrition rather than retention and company culture discourages poaching. That said, creating a ceiling for high performers fosters an atmosphere of limitation that will not fly with motivated employees. In today’s world, employees may view their job with one company as a brief tour of duty, leading to tours of duty elsewhere with other companies.
Middle Market states that there are pros and cons to hiring people from outside the company as opposed to internal promotions. The question is do you want continuity or a fresh perspective? When a job opens, analyze your company’s current results and focus on internal candidates first; think about how a promotion or outside hire will change team dynamics; consider the cost in terms of money and time of promoting versus hiring; question if new blood will usher in improvements; and decide whether a shake-up is what you need.
Recruit Loop makes a case for hiring internally as an excellent recruitment strategy when there is an opening.
Recruiting internally saves time and money in the recruitment process; reduces training time as the candidate needs little orientation, improves productivity as the promoted staff member should be highly motivated to succeed, improves morale because other employees see a possible in-house career path for them and facilitates succession planning to those showing potential for advancement. Internal recruitment is only successful if all employees have equal opportunities to information about available positions and are given the opportunity to apply.
Business Knowledge Source points out that hiring managers face a dilemma in hiring, which is when to hire internally versus externally. By promoting from within, you obtain candidates that have already proven themselves. They know the company and other co-workers. Hiring internally looks good for the company and saves you time and money. Many expenses such as moving, positions, advertising and other costs are avoided. By hiring externally, you promote the idea that internal candidates do not measure up. The company needs a change and new ideas. External candidates eliminate antagonism. The hiring decision is a very difficult one.
Having been in a situation where I was finally hired internally, I believe in hiring internally if possible. Any interested internal candidate needs to have the skills, knowledge and trainability for future job openings. Companies must have a transition plan in place for positions and plan of fairness where all employees can be considered. Companies also need to be very aware not to weaken the organization through internal promotion. If an individual is outstanding in one position, make sure you can hire a suitable replacement of equal quality for that position as you advance the candidate.
I have gone through a situation where my top development level management position was changed and an individual reporting to me was promoted to my position. I was thrilled for the candidate as the person deserved a new challenge to put new ideas in place. Always strive to practice what you preach!
F. Duke Haddad, EdD, CFRE, is currently associate director of development, director of capital campaigns and director of corporate development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis, Indiana. In addition, he is also president of Duke Haddad and Associates, LLC, and freelance instructor for Nonprofit Web Advisor.
He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the past 13 years.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis on education administration, master’s degree from Marshall University with an emphasis in public administration and a bachelor’s degree from West Virginia University in business administration, with an emphasis in marketing/management. He has also done post graduate work at the University of Louisville.