Office Politics 101: We only hire internally

It is important to note there are genuine advantages to promoting from within.

Q: We’re not advertising positions, but instead are promoting employees within the company to fill vacancies. I find it frustrating because I think we’re missing out on some excellent employees who could really add a fresh perspective. What are your thoughts?

A: No doubt your HR department or management has their own reasons for filling positions internally. It would appear that this policy is customary, which apparently excludes all external recruitment.

It is important to note there are genuine advantages to promoting from within.

For one thing, the whole process is extremely economical, especially in contrast to a formal external search.

Time is usually limited, so it is especially attractive to make a selection from current employees as arrangements for interviewing can be made within a matter of days.

Internal candidates are already conversant with the company, its culture and its policies, so an orientation would probably not be required unless appointments were made to a division operating at a different site, for example.

In practical terms, internal candidates are generally well known. There is usually a greater comfort level as their skills and responsibilities have already been identified and evaluated.

Morale in general may be enhanced through internal hiring because successful candidates feel acknowledged. They are, therefore, more likely to remain with the company and work their way up the organization.

On the other hand, as you note, exclusively filling positions from within can stifle creativity and “lower the bar” on innovation as candidates may be rewarded for simply being satisfactory.

Candidates who are friends — or, at least, well acquainted — may become adversaries in an internal competition that results in one being selected.  This is especially problematic if one ends up supervising the other.

In some instances, a candidate is pre-selected prior to a posting process. This can create ill will as employees may go through the effort to apply only to discover that there was no intention to appoint them in any event.

Ironically, perhaps, there are those employees who are less accepting of a colleague receiving a promotion or new position — even lateral — over a newcomer.

My recommendation is that you accept the current internal hiring process until it is patently obvious that candidates are assuming positions for which they are obviously unqualified.

Make your case for some selective external hiring and demonstrate – using concrete information — that the best interests of the company cannot be met without the opportunity to add “new blood.”

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