What are the Methods of Internal & External Staff Recruitment?


When your human resources department has gone through the necessary stages of validating, developing, and incorporating a role within your organisation, the next step is finding the right person to take it on. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as creating a job listing. Recruitment is an integral part of HR functions, and finding the right candidate for any role will depend on appropriately balancing a number of factors that can ultimately have an immense impact on the organisation as a whole.

Internal and external workforce dynamics mean that recruitment processes differ depending on whether candidates work within your organisation or come from outside. Internal candidates can move vertically or laterally within an organisation and will come to a role with a better appreciation of company culture. Meanwhile, external candidates need to be sold on the company and the role.

Whether you hire internally or externally, the key is to find the right person for the job. We’ve outlined a few points to consider concerning the internal and external hiring processes to help you decide what’s best for your company.

The Difference Between Internal vs. External Recruitment

Internal recruitment is when a company hires an employee currently working within the organisation, albeit in a different role. This can be a horizontal move, maybe to a different department with a similar level of responsibility, or it can be a vertical move where they take on more or different responsibilities from their existing role. 

On the other hand, external recruitment is when a company advertises externally to find candidates not currently working with them. Possible candidates can be working with competing companies, newly relocated to an area, or making a career or role change for whatever reason. This requires “selling” both the company and the role since these candidates don’t have the advantage of previous experience within your organisation.

Whether you hire internally or externally will depend on many factors. For example, hiring internally will depend on whether you have candidates in house with the required skill set to do the job efficiently or if you have the training tools on hand to bring them up to speed. If you want to bring on fresh perspectives or new talents, you might favour external candidates. You may also choose to advertise both internally and externally to get a wider range of potential candidates.

The Benefits and Disadvantages Between Internal vs. External Recruitment

The pros of recruiting internally

Cost Effective – Advertising internally can be as easy as speaking to managers, posting a flier in the common areas, or sending out a company wide email. There’s no need to spend time and money on advertising agents, online job boards, and initial candidate screening.

Familiar Culture – A trusted employee likely fits in and knows the company culture and is already a good fit. If they’re moving up in the same department, they already have interaction with team mates and know what to expect from the role and their team.

Increased Productivity – An internal hire is likely to be up to speed with your procedures, policies, and expectations, even if they’re coming from another department. This means they will likely be more productive sooner with decreased onboarding requirements. 

Faster Process – You won’t need to run background checks or slog through thousands of resumes which will save you time during the hiring process. The formality of the interviewing and screening process can be adjusted if they’ve been with you for a significant time and their track record is easily accessible.

Investing Value – Recruiting internally sends a message to employees that you value them and want to invest in them. Other employees may see this as an opportunity in the future to advance their careers and even move horizontally within the organisation to a role they may be interested in. Existing employees who change roles advance professionally, as well as develop a better understanding of company practices in different areas.

The cons of recruiting internally

Candidate Conflict – If two or more candidates apply for the same job internally, you may inadvertently provoke internal conflict, potentially run the risk of having more roles to fill if one person is selected over others. 

Another Vacancy – If someone is recruited internally, you’re likely creating a gap in your existing workforce that you will also then need to fill. Without clear communication and transparency, this may create undue burden on the employee’s previous team members.

Stagnant Perspective – Although an internal recruit may already be up to speed with company culture and behaviours, being too comfortable may also be a dilemma since they’ll be less likely to view the organisation critically or experiment with new ways of working.

Limited Talent – Even if you have a few good candidates internally for a position, by hiring internally, you may miss the opportunity to hire someone with better skills, knowledge, or talent that the role would benefit from.

The pros of recruiting externally

Fresh Perspective – A new hire brings a fresh perspective and new ideas. They may bring best practices from their previous company that you could incorporate into yours, therefore increasing productivity.

More Variety – You’ll likely have a wider variety of candidates, more suited skill sets and greater talent to do the job to a high standard. You can also collect resumes you can keep on file for future similar positions.

The cons of recruiting externally

Lacking Productivity – The onboarding, orientation, familiarisation and training time is likely to take longer for external recruits, cutting out time they could be being productive members of the team. 

Introducing Conflict – Familiarising them with company culture and team mates may have its difficulties if they are not a good fit. 

What Tools Help with External Recruitment?

DISC Assessments

Recruitment is one of the most commonly utilised functions of DISC personality tests. DISC assessments can assist with the recruitment process on many levels:

Shortlisting – sending out an assessment with an application helps you to better understand how an applicant thinks and works with teams, which isn’t readily apparent in their Curriculum Vitae. 

Pre-Employment Assessments – most DISC assessment users apply them for pre-employment purposes, to profile and assess a candidate before they go in for an interview. It can provide a useful guide for the interview process.

Interviewing – DISC assessments can reveal attributes that wouldn’t usually arise during the normal interviewing process. The interviewer can directly address any issues or identify unforeseen collaborative opportunities. It can also elicit an interviewee’s motivating factors which can be leveraged in the interview and any potential job offer.

Rejection – Including DISC reports of candidates with rejection letters can help them understand and process why they were not selected. It would also help guide them for future roles and can improve the general perception of the company.

Onboarding – Onboarding is one of the most essential tasks when bringing on new employees. By understanding an employee’s underlying motivations and synergies, DISC assessments help to facilitate the onboarding process and identify potential ideal team members or mentors.