How to Use Internal Hiring Techniques with Outside Candidates

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How to Use Internal Hiring Techniques with Outside Candidates

Many companies aren’t up-to-date on the best hiring techniques, but even those that are typically treat internal and external candidates differently. Certainly, the best way to approach hiring job candidates can vary based on the position, people, and businesses involved.

However, the majority of businesses share a common tendency: they evaluate and promote internal candidates based on their capabilities while outside candidates are judged according to much stricter criteria. Treating them more equally may help your company find better employees.

Hiring managers often require external candidates to have particular certifications or educations, a specific amount and type of experience, and, not only skills, but particularly well-honed and proven ones. This is understandable. Every new hire can be considered a risk until they prove themselves. You want to choose a candidate who you are confident has a strong chance of success.

Yet employers and managers know that internal hires are often very successful in spite of the fact that they often don’t meet these same specifications. What is important is that those who promote them know that they are trustworthy, display ambition, and have what it takes to accomplish the tasks at hand.

As Lou Adler points out, the very fact that these people can do the work without the ideal background shows that they are valuable and capable of growth. But external hires are continually forced to prove themselves, sometimes for positions that offer low status or low pay. As a result, talented individuals can be passed over and those who are hired may not, in fact, be the ones with the most potential.

Adler recommends companies think about external candidates the same way they think about internal ones. That is, they should look for signs that the person can handle increasing levels of responsibility, is able to learn new skills, and is a reliable employee who can work on their own or on a team as needed.

Obviously, you will still want to attract the most talented candidates. Signal the importance of the elements named above by creating an effective job description. It should describe the most essential duties the job holder will have. Highlight the top objectives rather than specific experience levels.

During the interview, focus on the candidate’s past accomplishments and evidence of growth. This is the best way to ascertain if they are likely to succeed at the job. It mimics looking at an internal candidate’s performance over time and recognizing that they are (or are not) capable of taking on increased responsibility.

Be sure that you make your expectations clear to candidates during the hiring process. Internal candidates will have typically have a good understanding of what is expected of people in the position they’re applying for. External candidates don’t have the same advantage. Clarifying expectations benefits you because it can cause candidates who seek to sneak by on little work to drop out. It will also allow you to better answer questions and zero in on qualifying experiences.

In essence, treating external candidates like you treat internal ones just means applying the most evidence-backed hiring techniques. Unfortunately, many companies don’t follow these methods. The thought of developing many new techniques can be overwhelming. Thinking of it as matching the external hiring process as closely to the internal one as possible can make things clearer.

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