How to Identify a Great Internal Candidate

by Susan Mullin

internal candidate interview

Hiring internally can provide a number of benefits. First, internal candidates are 20% less likely to be fired or quit during their first two years in the new position than an external hire. After all, they’re a known commodity! Second, they tend to outperform external candidates because they are already familiar with the company, its mission, culture and goals. And, they may even cost less in regards to salary and training.

Locating the right internal candidate requires diligence. Just because an employee is working in a position that can logically flow into the vacant role doesn’t mean the individual is an ideal candidate. Likewise, a direct referral or sponsorship from within the company doesn’t automatically guarantee success.

For hiring from within to succeed, you still must fully assess the individual’s capabilities, ensuring the candidate has the right mix of technical and soft skills, a solid reputation within the organization and an appropriate amount of experience. Otherwise, you might not end up with the great candidate you were hoping to find.

Craft a Thorough Job Description

When hiring internally, having a thorough job description available may seem less important, particularly if the hiring manager is looking to add to his or her own team. The manager may assume the internal candidate just naturally understands the intricacies of the role—but that isn’t always the case.

By crafting a thorough job description, hiring managers and potential candidates can carefully assess who truly has the ability to perform well in the role.

Create an Internal Job Board

Posting your vacant positions on an internal job board is a must if you want to find stellar candidates. Not only will you receive applications from employees who already work in the department; you also may learn about other workers in your organization who also have relevant skills.

By posting the job announcement and encouraging all qualified employees to apply, you increase the size of your talent pool. This lets the hiring manager discover candidates who aren’t part of the core team.

Consider an Employee’s Reputation

While technical capability and a good mix of soft skills certainly must be reviewed, you also want to assess an internal candidate’s reputation before making a hiring decision.

To put it simply, just because a worker is successful in the current job or is favored by management doesn’t mean they have the respect of peers, which can be critical if the vacant position is a promotion or would involve stepping into a leadership role.

If you are examining an employee as a potential internal candidate, speak with the candidate’s co-workers to gauge the job seeker’s reputation. Find out what it is like to work with the individual on group projects, how colleagues perceive the candidate’s level of knowledge and capabilities and the worker’s strengths and weaknesses.

Often, you’ll receive positive feedback, especially if the candidate is genuinely a great employee. However, you may also learn their success isn’t entirely of his or her own doing, the individual is challenging to work with or otherwise has not earned the respect of his or her peers, all of which could be warning signs that offering this individual the job could be a bad decision.

By following the tips above, you can identify great internal candidates for your job openings.

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Posted in , Hiring Managers