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How Do You Interview Internal Job Candidates?

How Do You Interview Internal Job Candidates?

A study conducted by Glassdoor found that workers who stay longer in the same job without a title change are significantly more likely to leave for another company for the next step in their career. Internal job opportunities within an organization is a huge reason for employees to stay motivated and invest themselves in the organization’s culture. Even among the most supportive teams, hiring internally can mean that coworkers are competing for the same position within the organization. With this in mind, how should HR handle internal hiring?


Why Hire Internally?

While it’s important to balance hiring internally and externally for a variety of reasons, sometimes the perfect candidate for an open position already works at your organization. Benefits to hiring internally include the following:

  1. Internal candidates are already familiar with the company culture.
  2. Internal candidates are usually already onboarded and exist in an organization’s email accounts and HRIS.                                                                                                                            
  3. Hiring internally promotes retention efforts. If employees see growth opportunities at their workplace, they’re more likely to stay.

Tips to Keep in Mind When Interviewing Internal Candidates

If a job opening at your organization attracts multiple candidates from both inside and outside of the organization, HR and hiring managers should keep the following tips in mind:

  1. Treat Internal Candidates Like Any Other Candidate. To keep the hiring process fair, compliant, and less complicated, it’s best to treat internal candidates like you would any other candidate that applies for the position. Even if you are familiar with the internal candidate, you’re focusing on how they’d perform in a new role, not how you feel about them personally. Likewise, you want to make sure that the playing field is fair for other candidates, especially if there are external candidates you’re interviewing for the position. Maintaining the same interview process and asking the same question allows hiring managers to compare candidates equally as well.
  2. Notify the Right People Within the Organization. Make sure the candidate tells their current manager that they’ve applied for the job—or let the manager know yourself—so that they’re caught up to speed on all hiring decisions. This is also important just in case the candidate is not currently eligible for the position due to performance issues.
  3. Stay Compliant. Some organizations are able to post certain jobs internally only. However, most of the time, HR teams are required to post the job opening both internally and externally to give outside candidates a chance to apply.
  4. Be Prepared for Difficult Hiring Decisions. Multiple internal applicants mean that there’s a chance some current employees might not get the job. While rejecting internal candidates for a position is never easy, it’s important for hiring managers and HR to be transparent as possible about the reason behind hiring decisions. It also illustrates the importance of bolstering employee relations and having a strong company culture that fosters a supportive environment, not a combative one, when an employee is hired internally over others. This way, employees are more likely to be happy for their colleagues, trust hiring decisions, and continue to work for the organization.
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