Managing Teams

Should You Hire Externally or Promote Internally? 3 Things to Consider

hire internally externally

You have a job opening on your team and it’s time to get it filled.

The question that often arises next is this: Should I hire externally or promote internally?

Internal promotions can be great motivators for employees, and external hires can be risky. But there are pros and cons for both sides. The answer isn’t always clear-cut.

If you’re struggling to determine which route is best, here are three more questions to ask yourself.

  1. Do I need institutional knowledge or a fresh perspective?

The biggest question is whether or not the role requires specific knowledge available only to people who are already inside the organization. While new employees can certainly gain this information, it’s not always easy and it takes time you might not have.

Alternatively, outsiders can offer a fresh perspective that isn’t corrupted by past experiences in the organization.

Consider which is more important to you and which will better serve the person in this position.

Also read: 4 Reasons NOT to Fire a Longtime Employee

  1. Do I need a known entity or new blood?

Promoting internally can be useful because people already have established reputations on which they can build. The right person can command immediate respect and credibility due to their past successes. At the same time, new hires can be viewed with skepticism and it can take time for others to warm to them.

If the role requires the person to immediately rally a team behind them, this is an important consideration. The right new hire can, of course, overcome this challenge, but they may encounter more difficulty on the front end.

Also read: Hiring is a Top CEO Priority

  1. Do I have the talent on hand or do I need skills I don’t have access to?

Finally, you need to consider whether or not you have people on staff who already possess the necessary skills and capabilities to do the job—or can fairly easily develop them with the right resources. Remember that training an existing employee can be time-consuming, and that may not be the most strategic approach if an outsider already has proven experience doing the work.

There are no hard and fast rules regarding this subject. These questions will help you evaluate the options and avoid making hiring mistakes. All too often, leaders go into the process with a preconceived notion of what’s needed, and they don’t give fair consideration to both sides. Frequently when they decide to hire externally, internal employees feel overlooked. However, spending some time considering the options will demonstrate that it was a thoughtful choice based on the needs of the role and organization.

About the Author

Chrissy Scivicque is a career coach, corporate trainer and public speaker who believes work can be a nourishing part of the life experience. Her website, Eat Your Career, is devoted to this mission. Chrissy is currently a contributing career expert for U.S. News & World Report and the author of the book, The Proactive Professional: How to Stop Playing Catch Up and Start Getting Ahead at Work (and in Life!), available on Amazon.