When you are looking to fill a vacancy you need to look at your recruitment policies to make sure you are acting in accordance with your own procedures. Some procedures state that positions can only be opened to external candidates if they have first been offered internally but no internal applicant was successful. Others may allow applications from internal and external candidates at the same time but guarantee an interview to any internal candidate who meets the person specification.
Restricting applications initially to internal candidates only has its advantages and disadvantages. One of the biggest advantages is that the candidates are a known quantity. You know who they are and you can get feedback from their manager about their skills and abilities making it easier to assess if they are capable of doing the job.
As an existing employee they already understand your company, know your systems and practices and how everything fits together, which cuts down on their training time. You can organise their movement into the role more easily, without being tied to notice periods or restrictive covenants, and you already have their relevant paperwork. Additionally, recruiting internally sends a message to all your staff that they can progress within the company.
There are, however, some disadvantages to restricting recruitment internally as well. While your employee may be the best of your internal candidates there may be better candidates available externally. Moving an employee from one position opens up another vacancy you have to fill. External candidates can bring fresh approaches because they have no preconceptions about how the work should be done. Additionally, if the recruitment is not carried out effectively and transparently it can be demotivating to the rest of the workforce if they get the impression that advancement is not based on merit.
Whichever approach you take on who you will allow to apply for a vacancy, it is important to remember that any advantage to internal candidates only relates to the opportunity to apply for the position. The role must be offered to the best candidate and only if you are satisfied that they are capable of doing the job.
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By Ellen Singer