The advantages and disadvantages of internal recruitment

Candidates waiting for a job interview

When a position opens up in your organisation, you’ve got a decision to make. Do you choose someone that you are familiar with from within your company? Or do you take the risk of bringing in a fresh candidate who may inject new possibilities into your organisation but may not fit into your company culture, and may not understand your business? The advantages and disadvantages of internal recruitment are worth exploring when deciding your way forward. Similarly, it may be worth looking at external recruitment possibilities outside your business to find the right fit. As a digital recruitment agency, we’ve seen the pros and cons of both hiring strategies, and we’re going to expand on them for you.

What are the differences between internal and external recruitment?

Internal recruitment means hiring people already in your business to fill a vacancy within your organisation. External recruitment is the process of attracting and recruiting an individual who doesn’t already work for you to join your business. 

Both of these processes require active advertising of the position. They also both involve an application and interview process in which an individual (hiring manager) or committee from your management team places the right person in the job. Internal recruitment is different from promotion. It isn’t a linear advancement of a candidate up the responsibility hierarchy but instead requires candidates within your existing team to actively apply for a change of roles or responsibilities.

The advantages of internal recruitment

Internal recruitment can shorten onboarding times, save you money, strengthen company relationships, encourage retention, and reduce the time it takes to hire someone. 

If an internally recruited employee is already familiar with your business’s company culture and business processes, acclimatising them to your company won’t be an issue. Hiring them into a different position in your company will minimise the time it takes to draw up a new contract and get them accustomed to the behavioral expectations of your workplace. They will not need the same onboarding, as they’ve previously established work relationships, and they’ll already be on your payroll and used to your pay structure. Their training process will also be less extensive.

If you hire from inside your business, you’ll save money on recruiters’ fees, background checks, and job fairs. You’ll also save time on sifting through CVs and conducting interviews.  You will incentivise your employees to work harder and communicate better if they know they can advance to another position. This could drastically improve your workplace culture and employee retention.

Your hiring process could skip many of the time-consuming steps you usually take when onboarding new talent. You won’t need to sift through endless applications or conduct lengthy background checks. You know who you’re hiring, and they have a proven work history that you can rely on.

The disadvantages of internal recruitment

Internal recruitment has several disadvantages. It can limit your pool of recruitment significantly and not allow new applicants a chance to shine in your organisation. 

An internal recruitment focus can also create conflict between colleagues. By fostering a corporate culture of competition, employees may become encouraged to outdo one another rather than working together. 

By hiring existing employees into vacant positions, you leave a gap where that employee previously worked. This can create significant workflow problems in the future. You’re also at risk of developing a stagnant and inflexible working environment. In this space, social cliques can form, and your team might become resistant to new ideas and outside influences.

The advantages of external recruitment

External recruitment can broaden your businesses’ potential to hire exciting talent, diversify your organisation, fill gaps you didn’t know needed filling, and redirect your workplace’s productivity to relevant places. 

If you’re an established business, a new idea can go a long way. By bringing in an external, enthusiastic individual, you may find your purpose has a refreshed sense of vigour. The right, excited hire can initiate your company’s path to innovation. 

Similarly, if your workforce consists of many people from the same walk of life, a diverse new hire could provide perspectives that bring your product or service to a broader demographic. Your appeal can broaden based on your personnel. 

If your organisation needs more people, hiring from within won’t solve that problem. Sometimes, another employee in the space will alleviate pressure and allow your operations to run more smoothly. 

A new idea from a new person could be exactly what your workplace needs. If you’re finding your business stuck in a routine, sometimes fresh eyes can set you on a new path that extends further than the one you’re currently on.

The disadvantages of external recruitment

An external hire may take much longer to recruit, interview, and onboard than somebody who’s already part of your organisation. They will also require more training and job orientation than somebody already familiar with your company culture. Conducting an external recruitment process will incur extra expenses, from posting on job boards to assembling a recruitment panel. 

Recruiting outside of your organisation may also demotivate your existing employees, as it will appear to reduce their possibility of advancement. The process of hiring new individuals will be more time-consuming than internally hiring, too.

There’s no hard and fast answer to the “advantages and disadvantages of internal recruitment” dilemma. It depends entirely on what you want to foster in your organisation. If you’re looking for incentivised employees and easy hiring, go internal. If you’re looking for fresh new ideas and flexible company culture, go external.

Hiring? Salt connects you to outstanding top talent worldwide

If you’re interested in hearing about how Salt’s top talent recruitment experts around the world can help with your hiring right now, get in touch. Click below to contact the closest Salt team to you!

Keep up with Salt’s top talent job market insights and hiring advice! You can keep in the loop by following us on. LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Spotify

Related articles


Upload your CV

Upload your CV to our database.

  • Max. file size: 5 MB.
  • Hidden
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Candidates waiting for a job interview

Please let us know where you are, or where you would like to be in the world so we can point you in the right direction.