Promote From Within or Hire From Without? 6 Factors to Consider that Will Shape Your Culture

It’s the perpetual question, the albatross for HR professionals and the never-ending debate among hiring managers and those in the employment decision-making process.  Do you encourage growth and maintain corporate culture and morale by hiring from within or build new ideas and stimulate outside thought processes by searching outside of your organization?  This long-winded, if classic, question is one of the many considerations that keep those looking to bring on new talent up at night.

If you’re in the process of filling open positions, the decision probably has a greater impact on your day to day job duties, making the ultimate outcome even more stressful.  Sure, loyalty in your employee culture is amazing, but what about the prospect of stale ideas? And yes, innovation and growth are amazing plus-one factors, but can they compete with an in-depth understanding of a company’s business model or client-base?

While playing devil’s advocate or gnashing your knuckles over the “right” decision in the hiring process may seem an attractive distraction, at Simply Hired we’ve got plenty of real-world advice and analysis when it comes to whether to promote from within or hire from without.  Read on to delve into our six top factors that will help shape both your decision-making process and hiring culture for years to come.

1. Company Knowledge

Often referred to alternatively as corporate culture, intimate knowledge of how your company does business and who the clients and contacts are is invaluable when it comes to employee contributions.  Internal candidates are obviously going to have the leg up on external contacts in this category. That being said, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater by dismissing someone who doesn’t have the inside track on the way your company does business.

Idiosyncrasies and the details of the ways accounts prefer to operate is a huge plus factor when shuffling vacant job listings.  If you have a solid employee pool on the ground, however, this is often information that can easily be taught. Consider whether your interviewee can pick up on the expertise of his peers and superiors quickly in order to get up to speed.  If so, a newbie may have the character traits that can level the playing field on the experience front.

2. Domain-Specific Experience

When you hear the word “domain” you may have a web-ified view of some kind of url hashtag designed to trip up even the least tongue-tied and internet savvy tech users.  When it comes to finding employable candidates, however, the term has entirely other connotations. Instead of considering whether a candidate is originating internally versus externally, instead try to quantify their experience and exposure to the given industry, or “domain”.  These characteristics can often help level the playing field between disparate job titles and even across industries; all of which are a huge help when it comes time to choose the exact right candidate for that single available job position.

3. Abilities and Interests

Just as looking at an individual candidate’s experience in a certain domain, it’s also important to evaluate their overall abilities and professional interests when deciding whether to bring them up internally or introduce a new outside employee to the pool.  One of the biggest factors that employers look to when deciding to hire outside an organization is the perception that there is no one at the company currently who has the correct job title or background. Before jumping to that conclusion, hiring managers would be well served by taking a fresh look at your current human assets.

Perhaps that candidate is currently working in HR but has expressed a strong desire to make the switch to business management.  Maybe another employee started in a low-level job position but has constantly excelled or has undertaken self-study in order to develop a stronger skill set.  It can often be difficult to identify these “hidden” skills and abilities right off the bat. It’s important, therefore, to take regular inventory of your employees’ abilities, preferably via the annual review and evaluation cycle.  Detailed notes or even a self-evaluation asking the candidate to identify where they’d like to go or what they may be interested in can be useful for helping match the right job with the right internal candidate as new positions become available.

4. Personality Traits

As many employers have learned at least once the hard way, personality is often the make or break characteristic when it comes to an individual employee’s long term success.  The brightest and most talented worker can often be tripped up by a poor attitude or an inability to stay on task. Likewise, sometimes it makes sense to keep on a less capable employee due to the contributions they make to team or company morale.

Take stock of personality factors when deciding whether to promote from within or hire from the outside.  Does the dynamic of your current workgroup support the introduction of a new person or are there personality clashes within the team?  Depending on your particular circumstances, it may make sense to maintain the current personality mix or add in or swap members in order to correct issues.

5. Salary

Sure, we’d all like to live in a world where money wasn’t a factor.  The truth of the matter, though, is that individual employee compensation is a large part of a business’ bottom line.  If you have an existing employee that may be a good fit for the position, consider whether their current salary leaves room for promotion.  External candidates will often have considerations and expenses when moving jobs. Because of this the average salary for an external hire can often by 18-20% higher than doing an internal shuffle.  Finally, internal candidates can often be offered soft benefits such as additional time off, flexible working schedules, or additional responsibilities in lieu of a bigger salary bump.

6. Onboarding Time

The final factor to consider when deciding whether an internal or external hire is right for you is the complexity of the position and the amount of time and resources required for training.  For internal hires that are already familiar with the corporate culture, there will be fewer resources needed to onboard and get them up and running in the position. From the basic first day and week policies and procedures training to learning about the corporate culture, employees promoted from within will often be ready to hit the ground running on day one.  There will be little to none of the standard acclimations and as an employer, you’ll already have a good grasp on how the employee works and what encourages them to put in the extra effort.

Hopefully, our list of six factors has provided useful information to help ease some of the burdens of your next major hiring decision.  Think we missed something major? Drop us a line and share with other Simply Hired readers your thoughts on the hire from within or without debate.

Article Updated from the Original on December 5, 2018