10 Tips for a Successful Internal Hire

10 Tips for a Successful Internal Hire

Finding and hiring the best person for a job is challenging, even under ideal conditions. Budgetary constraints, urgent recruiting needs, and employee morale are all part of the balancing act that recruiters and hiring managers face. 

Since advertising job openings, screening applicants, and arranging multiple interviews is costly and time-consuming, many companies opt for a streamlined approach to filling key positions. In addition to faster turnaround time and lower recruiting costs, internal hires bring about mutual benefits for both employers and personnel.

Confident diverse professional team with a female leader in front crossing her arms.

What Is Internal Recruitment?

Internal recruitment is identifying and recruiting in-house talent to fill job vacancies within an organization. When you’re gearing up for an internal hiring campaign, your pool of prospects may already be on your payroll. 

Although there are advantages and disadvantages to hiring a current employee for a job in your company, promoting from within is a popular and cost-effective policy.

Internal hiring practices often resonate with existing staff members, too. According to a survey of 1,000 employees conducted by Joblist, most respondents prefer managers hired from within. 

The analysts at Joblist offer this explanation: “When asked why they supported promoting employees from within the organization rather than outside, the most common reasons included better overall employee morale (56%), creating managers already aware of policies and procedures (56%), needing less ramp up time (55%), and increasing employee loyalty (53%).

Internal Recruitment Examples

There are several forms of internal recruitment, ranging from promotions and transfers to supervisor recommendations and employee referrals. Other strategies include offering full-time employment to part-time workers, temporary staff, or freelance contractors. 

Depending on their areas of expertise, career goals, and communication skills, consultants and staff from other departments may also be prime candidates for job openings. 

A successful internal hiring program often includes the following elements:

  • A succession plan provides a “roadmap” offering guidance in two vital areas. It focuses on strategies for filling vacant positions and developing talent for leadership roles.
  • A career ladder provides staff with incentives and opportunities for advancing within the company. Employees with a clearly laid out career path are more motivated to pursue job advancement and promotions. 

An online survey found that 63% of employees would be more likely to stay at their organization if provided with better career advancement opportunities.

  • Internal job boards, company-wide job postings, and career web pages are key to publicizing and announcing job vacancies.
  • A company culture of learning that encourages employees to develop their skills and pursue in-house opportunities helps generate more internal job candidates for open positions. 

By proactively identifying opportunities for existing employees to make lateral career moves, earn promotions, or grow into leadership roles, you keep employees engaged and your talent pipeline open. A positive company culture produces a “ripple effect” that engages and motivates employees. 

One insightful article describes it this way: “When working in a corporate culture that nurtures you, you’re likely to become a more engaged employee … As employee engagement results in increased productivity, you can also benefit from … advancing in your career.”

  • A tracking system and skills database enable HR to quickly identify qualified employees for leadership roles and specialized job openings.
  • A cooperative relationship between hiring managers and recruiters can help ensure that company goals, strategies, and priorities are factored into all recruiting campaigns.

An additional “outside the box” approach to internal hiring would be to reach out to an ex-employee about returning to the company. As the Harvard Business Review points out, so-called “boomerang employees” are much more common than you think. 

Whether they retired prematurely or left the organization to work for another company, they may welcome the chance to return to the fold. It depends on the circumstances of their departure, the nature of your offer, and whether they’re dissatisfied with their present situation. 

It is an example of internal recruitment that can bring valuable leadership, experience, and knowledge to an organization.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Internal Recruitment

Whether to recruit externally or from within should be based on several factors. In many cases, the benefits of internal recruiting outweigh any potential disadvantages. Here is an overview of the pros and cons of internal recruitment.


  • You avoid the extensive interviewing, screening, and training that accompanies hiring someone externally.
  • It sends the message to your staff that hard work and dedication are rewarded. Greater employee dedication and motivation are among the top benefits of internal recruiting policies. This aligns with research asserting that, “People want acknowledgment and growth opportunities and to feel valued, trusted and empowered.” 
  • Existing employees are familiar with everything from company culture and coworkers to products and services. Armed with that knowledge, the probability of a smooth job transition is much greater.
  • Ideally, an internal hire has earned the respect of both managers and coworkers and has demonstrated their ability to be productive, easy to work with, and dependable. Hiring someone from the outside relies on second-hand recommendations instead of first-hand knowledge and experience.
  • A policy of hiring and promoting from within helps retain employees. Fewer employees will be looking for work elsewhere when there are growth opportunities where they are. As Forbes points out, the prospect of upward mobility is a critical factor in employee retention. “If they are stagnating, they are more likely to disengage. When you demonstrate that your company is willing to offer promotions, it boosts morale.”

The formula for success in recruiting varies according to the size of your organization and the qualifications of on-staff personnel. Other factors come into play, such as the company culture and the urgency of filling vacancies. While there are clear advantages to filling positions from within, there are also potential drawbacks, according to Indeed.


  • Fewer candidate choices are available, especially in smaller companies.
  • There may be a limited supply of innovative ideas because employees recruited from outside the company tend to bring new perspectives.
  • Creating job vacancies to fill management positions results in a workforce gap. Advanced planning and collaboration are required to fill the newly vacated jobs.
  • Jealousy and hard feelings sometimes arise among candidates who were passed over for promotions and internal job opportunities. 

Interestingly, a Joblist survey found that bringing in an outside manager can result in more jealousy and distrust than recruiting someone from the company. The survey concluded, “While 44% of employees said they’d never considered leaving their job because they were passed over for a promotion, we found 35% of respondents had quit or contemplated doing so after an outside hire was brought in.”

How to Recruit Internally: 10 Tips for a Successful Internal Hire

Creating an effective internal hiring program takes a lot of planning and strategic communication, but the benefits are worth the effort. Here are 10 tips to help lay the groundwork for a successful internal hiring program.

  1. Brand your company as an employer that hires and promotes primarily from within. This message can be reinforced in employee communications, training sessions, performance evaluations, job promotion announcements, and group meetings. 
  2. Establish policies, procedures, and performance standards for personnel who want to apply for company job opportunities.
  3. Use all available means to communicate internal job openings to employees, managers, supervisors, and targeted candidates. That could include email blasts, employee newsletters, the company website, and video chats.
  4. Write compelling job descriptions that attract qualified candidates without discouraging trainable, eager-to-learn employees.
  5. Offer team members opportunities for professional development. Those who demonstrate an interest in furthering their skills and career path may be strong candidates for internal recruiting. According to a recent article from Randstad, an internal career strategy, including chances for skill development, can also be essential in ensuring these employees stay with your company.
  6. Approach desirable, qualified candidates directly before posting job vacancies to the entire company. It pays to avoid the perception that HR is just “going through the motions” of interviewing applicants while a preferred candidate has already been chosen. Inadvertently putting out that message discourages qualified employees from applying for internal jobs in the future.
  7. Create a database for tracking employee skills, career goals, and professional training to quickly identify prospective candidates for emerging job vacancies.
  8. Communicate regularly with supervisors to identify ambitious, high-potential employees. Staying current on which staff members are actively interested in advancing their careers can provide HR with a working list of potential internal hires.
  9. Strive for transparency, fairness, and objectivity in every step of the internal recruiting process. Avoiding the appearance of favoritism or bias is a necessary element of an effective internal recruiting program.
  10.  Provide helpful feedback and encouragement to employees who weren’t chosen for an internal position. While some may resign if they feel they were unfairly passed over for a promotion, providing alternative opportunities or relevant training will help counterbalance hurt feelings or disappointment.

Creating a pipeline of qualified job candidates is vital to an organization’s recruiting and staffing strategy. While internal recruitment has advantages and disadvantages, the overall benefits outweigh the drawbacks.

For tips on helping newly promoted managers succeed, download KnowledgeCity’s complimentary eBook that focuses on time management principles, how to recruit internally, and essential communication skills successful managers need to know. 

At KnowledgeCity, we offer 25,000+ online video courses designed to upgrade your in-house staff’s skills, knowledge, and qualifications. Contact us for a free demo and trial access to our growing and up-to-date learning library.

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