Internal Recruitment: Definition, Methods & Process

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Douglas Hawks

Douglas has two master's degrees (MPA & MBA) and is currently working on his PhD in Higher Education Administration.

Successful companies need good employees. Those employees can come from outside the organization or they can move from within. In this lesson, you'll learn what internal recruitment is and how it can be a good thing for employees and the company.

We also recommend watching International Business Expansion Methods and The Hiring Process: How Human Resource Managers Recruit and Hire Employees

Definition of Internal Recruiting

Any method of identifying and attracting job candidates from within the organization can be considered internal recruiting. There are many different mechanisms, some formal and some informal, that can be used to identify quality internal candidates. Internal recruiting also offers some distinct benefits over recruiting from the outside, but it also has its critics. In the end, each organization and hiring manager should consider their needs and develop a recruitment plan that they believe will produce the best candidates for their needs.

Types of Internal Recruitment

Some of the formal types of internal recruitment include internal job postings and career ladders. These methods of internal recruitment are typically used at larger organizations where employees in one department may not hear about opportunities elsewhere in the organization through informal modes of communication.

Informal recruitment methods are also very common at large companies, and are the primary way smaller organizations recruit internal candidates. Informal recruiting methods are things like promotions and supervisor referrals.

Internal job boards are online job boards or physical locations in a work space where jobs can be posted. They function just like job boards at an employment agency or online with the exception that they are limited to only current employees. Career ladders are a popular human resource tool used not only to recruit internal candidates but to offer motivation to employees in the form of a career path.

A career path for an accountant might be to start at the position of Accounting Specialist, and then progress to Accountant, Accountant II, Senior Accountant, and Accounting Manager. Each of those steps will add compensation and responsibility for the employee. By setting up this type of career ladder, organizations provide employees with some structure to their career and the organization benefits by having a qualified, prepared pool from which to select candidates.

The informal methods of recruitment, like promotions and supervisor referrals, are all about communication outside the normal hiring process. These methods are the ones that often go unadvertised, and some people consider these positions the 'jewels' of the job market. Promotions are internal career advancements, usually offered to high performers. Supervisor referrals are similar to promotions, except instead of the hiring manager knowing the candidate, another supervisor who knows of a high performer recommends him or her to the hiring manager.

Pros and Cons of Internal Recruitment

As with any recruitment strategy, internal recruitment has both pros and cons. Many managers like to hire from within because they either have more information on the candidate's past performance or they have a working relationship with the supervisor who refers the candidate. Internal candidates also require less training time, at least most of the time. Since they are already working for the organization, human resources already has their paperwork, and those candidates also have existing relationships within the organization.

Recruiting from within also requires hiring managers to forgo potential benefits. Often, ideas brought from the outside help a company improve. Organizations have also seen the benefits of a diverse workforce, and hiring from within makes it impossible to increase the diversity of the workforce, since no one new is being brought in from the outside.

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