Tips & Guides

Understanding and mastering the headhunting industry

During the hiring process, a hiring manager or human resources is often met with both external candidates and internal ones. Deciding on whether to hire the internal candidate or external one has implications.

If you are involved in the hiring process, you must ensure that both internal and external candidates go through the same process. Resist the urge to be familiar with the internal one and not put the difficult questions to them. Take the time to explain the process to the person inside and set expectations without giving them false hopes. Explain why you are looking both internally and externally. If you have an internal candidate who just does not fit the bill, there is no need to put them through the entire process. This should be a conversation and coaching session. But if you have an internal candidate who is an overachiever and has most of what you are looking for then it is appropriate to put them through the process.

The obvious benefits for hiring someone internally are; they are already know the organization and the culture, you know what you will be getting and it sends a positive message to the troops about promotion opportunities within the organization.

The benefits of hiring outside is that it brings in new blood, you get someone who knows the job already as they have a proven track record and they are essentially “plug and play”.

Some tips:

  • If you are using a recruiter for the external role, consider having the recruiter evaluate your internal candidates as well.
  • If your internal candidate has most of what you are looking for, train for the rest
  • Design interview questions for the internal candidate around situational questions
  • Even though you know the internal candidate, look at them with fresh eyes, there may be more than meets the eyes
  • Do formal reference checks on both candidates
  • Consider how you will help/support the “first time manager” manage a team that they were once a part of for the internal manager
  • If you do not appoint the internal candidate, ensure clear communication and coaching to retain them

It is not clear which is a better choice, it depends on what the organization needs are when hiring. Promoting from within goes a long way and sends a positive message to the rest of the company while an external hire brings instant credibility to the table. To ensure a smooth process, transparency and honesty goes a long way.

by Dawn Williams, President of Sirius Personnel

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