Hiring from Outside vs. Promoting from Within: How to Make the Choice

April 11, 2017 | Career Transition

You’ve gotten approval for a new position. Congratulations! One of the decisions you may face is whether to go with an internal or external candidate. Keeping that in mind, there are some key considerations as you decide which option is right for a specific job opening.

Of course, one of the biggest factors in any business decision is money, and, by extension, time. The recruitment process can take a great deal of time, especially if it’s handled entirely by your HR staff, and post-hire time to train the new employee needs to be considered. These investments of time and money can be more than offset when you hire an external candidate who you think offers the strongest potential to add greater value to your team and business.

Another key consideration is team dynamic. Maybe an employee is exceling in his or her current role, but because of his or her skill set or position on the team it doesn’t make business sense to promote the individual right now. Or maybe your team is stuck in a rut and could use some fresh thinking in the form of a new hire. No matter what the situation, it is important to assess the current dynamic of the team when determining how to fill an open position.

Additionally, if there is more than one current employee who is willing and able to move up to an open position you could have a dilemma on your hands. If there is one person who is clearly a better fit for the role, then you may be able to avoid feelings of resentment from other team members; but if there are two equally qualified internal candidates you may choose to hire externally if you find the right candidate.

Lastly, company culture can be an important and delicate balance, particularly in small companies. All things being equal, be sure to pay special attention to how well a candidate will fit into your company’s culture.

When evaluating the pros and cons of hiring an internal or external candidate, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Use your best judgment, knowledge of your team, and understanding of the company’s business needs to come to the best hiring decision for each situation.