How to Choose Between External or Internal Recruitment

Recruiting from among your current workforce offers many advan­tages. Seeing your employees at work on a day-to-day basis will enable you to evaluate their particular strengths and weaknesses accurately and choose the most suitable person for the position. The selected employee, with experience of company policies and practices, should find it relatively easy to adjust and quickly settle into his new role. Minimal time, effort and money will need to be spent on induction and training. Knowing that the company recruits from within ought to please and motivate all your staff. They will feel important and highly valued since it appears that you immediately turn to them whenever a vacancy occurs. Their work rate and performance should improve as well as they will realize that increasing job opportunities are available to them if they are industrious and successful at their jobs.

There can be disadvantages with internal recruitment, however. Too often, an employee is transferred or promoted simply because he is next in line for the post. Although he could have many admirable qualities, this does not necessarily mean he is the right choice for this position. His specific skills, knowledge and experience, however extensive they may be, might not match those listed so precisely on your employee specification. Unsuited to the job and unable to meet its demands, his work and morale (and those of the employees around him) will suffer. Lateness, unauthorized absences and conflict between him and his fellow workers could occur.

Even if an employee is perfect for the job – perhaps he was originally taken on with a view to filling the post in due course – he should still have to apply and progress through a complete recruitment process along with other internal applicants. Automatic promotion, without reference to or consideration of other interested employees, might create anger and frustration among those who believe they could handle the job and would have liked to have applied for it.

Constantly recruiting from inside the company can sometimes result in a severe shortage of new ideas and developments. If top posts are always taken by long-serving employees steeped in com­pany traditions and methods, then it is probable that the same attitudes and approaches will forever be adopted towards business matters. In an ever-changing business environment, such a policy could be detrimental, if not fatal.

You should recognize the primary benefit of recruiting from out­side the company’s present workforce. Different backgrounds, fresh thoughts and new opinions can combine with existing experience and knowledge to produce more effective solutions to business issues. Also, of course, there may not be a member of staff capable of doing the job properly. The necessary qualities required just might not exist in any of your employees.

Think about the drawbacks of external recruitment, however. It is invariably a lengthy process, taking far longer than when only internal applicants are being considered. Studying external sources of recruitment, drafting eye-catching, well-phrased advertisements, reading and replying to applications and arranging and conducting interviews and tests cannot be rushed if the right person is to be selected.

In addition, it can prove to be extremely costly to recruit an outsider. Many sources of recruitment are expensive to use. Employ­ing experts to run selection tests also involves considerable financial outlay. The time invested in external recruitment, which could have been spent on other matters, should not be overlooked either.

It is far more difficult to choose a suitable person from external applicants about whom you know little or nothing than from internal applicants whom you know well. Often, you are making a decision merely on the basis of an application form and an interview. A person who writes well or performs well at a face-to-face meeting may not necessarily be able to do the job competently. If you make a mistake, the effects can be traumatic (conflict, ill feeling, resignation or dismissal and so on).

Internal recruitment is generally considered to be better, assuming you’re aware of and can overcome the disadvantages, as it tends to be quicker, cheaper and more reliable. External recruitment may be used if no-one is available internally or new blood needs to be injected into the company.

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About the Author: Marie Mayle is a contributor to the MegaHowTo team, writer, and entrepreneur based in California USA. She holds a degree in Business Administration. She loves to write about business and finance issues and how to tackle them.

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