Why internal recruitment differs from external

pexels christina morillo 1181605 scaled 1 | Why internal recruitment differs from external
By Paula Smith | 3rd February 2021 | 4 min read

Beyond your active and passive candidate audience, you have a further pool of potential talent; your existing employees. Recruitment can often be challenging and finding the right cultural fit for your organisation is paramount to a successful partnership, regardless of the role. There are many benefits in tapping into your existing employee audience when recruiting, but internal recruitment does differ in many ways from external recruitment.

The phrase ‘internal recruitment’ can be taken literally, to mean you look to your existing employees as the ideal candidates for your newly advertised roles. This could include promoting a team member, transferring, or advertising to your internal audience. 

There are a number of benefits to internal recruitment, including cultural familiarity, speed of role fulfillment and ease of onboarding. It is also great for your employer brand as you clearly offer opportunities for internal development and ensure your existing team remains engaged and motivated to progress.

However, there are also a number of disadvantages to internal recruitment. From increasing workforce gaps across the business to a limited talent pool and a reduction in fresh ideas joining the business, you need to consider how your internal recruitment strategy works in tandem with your external recruitment drives.

A perfect blend of external and internal recruitment will surely provide a great balance and give you the options you need for each role, such as reduced time to hire might be perfect for one role, or fresh and inspiring new ideas might be needed from external candidates for another.

One thing that is clear, however, is that you need a strategy for both as internal recruitment differs from external.

Optimising adverts for internal interest

Advice for external recruitment advertising is to always use neutral language that will be understood by a new audience, avoiding company-specific jargon and internal job titles which may not translate to key search phrases for external applicants. With internal recruitment, this can be relaxed a little. Remember your internal audience will understand your company culture, the different job titles and progression bands and it is important to remember your audience when optimising your adverts.

Examples of this in practice could be including the roles within the business that may actively want to step into this role or show careers stories from other team members who have followed in a similar path. You may also want to provide greater detail of responsibilities with specific reference to in-house initiatives, but remove some of the external company ‘about us’ information, as the audience are already familiar.

Optimising your adverts for internal candidates will not only spark greater interest for an increase in applications but highlight your wider employer brand commitment to supporting the development of your internal teams. This in turn will impact the positive internal culture. 

Tailoring your internal recruitment workflow

In the rush of everyday working life, once a role is signed off and ready to go live you may want to share it with the world immediately, without thinking about your internal candidate audience. Taking a second to tailor your workflow for both internal and external may support you in achieving greater results, including applications from internal talent. As mentioned before, some roles may benefit from cultural familiarity or a speedy time-to-hire.

One simple initial step would be to advertise internally first, providing a set timeline for internal applications to put themselves forward before the advert goes live externally. The timeline creates momentum but also showcases your organisation’s priority for its existing workforce, which reflects positively on your employer brand. You may also consider using your intranet and internal communications challenges to raise awareness or share a weekly vacancy bulletin with your wider team. Utilising these challenges is a great way to ensure consistency and create a pattern your team will look out for.

Some organisations also guarantee internal candidates an initial stage interview, skipping the sifting process. This further demonstrates your organisation's support and respect for your team. However, it is worth noting that the questions and competency experience at the interview should be the same as external candidates so you are able to compare like for like during a fair interview process.

Tailoring your internal recruitment workflow demonstrates that you understand your different talent pools and are flexible to ensure a balance between internal and external recruitment.

Internal recruitment incentives

Another way to promote greater internal recruitment activity is to set up a referral scheme. This encourages individuals across the business to appraise their colleagues and put them forward for newly vacant roles, whilst rewarding successful refers with a financial or benefit-driven reward. This is especially useful when recruiting more senior roles, which may require greater business knowledge to hit the ground running, but also hard to fill vacancies where the external applicant pool is also limited.

Overall, there are a number of ways you can tailor your internal recruitment experience to ensure you receive a good mix of internal and external applicants. In a digital world, where hyper-personalisation is expected as the norm, it is important to optimise the experience for your different audiences, to obtain a balance of the best of both worlds.

For more information on how can support you with your internal recruitment workflow, check out IRIS networx.