Alissa Hawkins headshot Written by: Alissa Hawkins

When to promote from within vs. hire externally

Companies are constantly growing and the needs of your business are evolving.

Over the past two years, we’ve seen a dramatic shift in the workforce. This is a highly competitive job market with more job openings than people to fill those positions. The “Great Resignation” has left many positions unfilled, and the current landscape has opened up opportunities for businesses to create new roles.

Still, the question is bound to arise: Should I hire internally or search externally? There are, of course, some advantages and disadvantages to each of these, but by answering these questions you can get a better idea of what fits in with your current business strategy: 

  1. Have you considered all internal candidates first?

First off – have you taken the time to vet internal candidates for the role? We do recommend that you look internally first to make a hire. The advantages to making an internal hire are multifaceted: 

  • You know they are already a culture fit.
  • They have built-in company knowledge.
  • It generates enthusiasm in the office, and it shows other employees that the same can be possible for them—we know that growth and professional development opportunities are what current employees are looking for most.

But many of today’s open positions are a result of churn, and you need to fill the roles again. The issue comes when it’s either a leadership role that requires a certain level of experience that internal candidates don’t possess, or if it’s a new role entirely that has been created. 

Two members of Team Handler, recruiting firm in Atlanta, are sitting at a meeting table discussing their next search
  1. Is this a new role? 

The reality today is that so many of the critical-to-fill roles were never thought of pre-pandemic. We’ve seen a transformation of the workforce in America and some of these positions require skills and knowledge that other employees in the office don’t currently have. If that’s the case with this position that was created, it’s time to extend that search externally.

  1. Why are you conducting a search?

Many companies are creating new positions to try to reimagine the workplace, tear down silos, and create employee engagement opportunities. There are many reasons why a position wouldn’t have existed previously. Many leaders can be looking to address the company culture and invite new, diverse voices to the table. If this position is not a result of churn, and that’s what you’re looking for, then an external applicant search might be the best route.

  1. Is this an opportunity for current employees to grow?

Your top employees are looking for opportunities to grow, and the No. 1 reason for employees to leave their current position is a lack of career development opportunities. Hiring internally allows them to get the skills development they crave. However, not everybody is a good fit for a management role. You want your business to be able to grow and have new, fresh ideas, so considering external leaders could allow you to find that leader worth following that could change your business. 

Regardless of what you choose for these open roles, you want to make sure you bring on the right person who can move your company’s goals forward.

Consider the circumstances of the role, why it became open, and whether or not it’s worth it to invest time and money into an external search for the right-fit candidate.

If your company needs help filling these critical roles, we can help you through our Retained Executive Search and RPO services. Open to learning more? I’d love to talk to you!