There’s no definitive right or wrong answer here, if you’re in the position of needing to make this decision and you are instinctively leaning toward one option, then perhaps stop and take a moment to evaluate why you you are and if, in fact, that’s the right decisions for you.
There are some, easy to fall into pitfalls when it comes to filling a position and the way in which you approach the situation will depend upon the kind of company culture you have nurtured.
While it may not be mandatory that you advertise the position internally first, you may find yourself dealing with a disgruntled workforce if they discover second hand that there is, or was, a position open within the company. By giving current staff the opportunity to apply and fairly compete for the position, in the case that they are not selected, at least they were able try, plus they might surprise you!
That said, you equally want to avoid promoting internally due to blind loyalty or guilt, if no member of the current team is right for the position then feel free to hire externally to secure the right candidate for the job, for the benefit of the company.
Altering attitudes can be an issue when a new member of staff arrives, both for them and the team they’re entering into, but equally this newbie could help to avoid awkward and destructive competitive attitudes amongst the team when one colleague gets promoted and the others don’t.
There are, generally speaking, less issues in this area when an external party takes up a role.
With an external candidate you’re welcoming new blood into the team; it depends where you are as a company perhaps, but if you need the shake up, a new perspective, new ideas and a new energy can be injected with the right candidate selection.
How you hire externally will matter greatly to your employees, as we touched on above, if you have staff who feel they would be well suited to the position, are eager for a promotion or to prove themselves then an external hire may not be well received by some members of your team. You’ll get a poorer performance out of staff in their current role if they feel your decision was unfair.
Hiring externally gives you a wider scope to find the candidate who is really going to fill and flourish in the role, not only the very best of your own limited candidate pool; you give yourself more options and opportunity.
Promotions are simply more cost effective; if money is a deciding factor for your recruitment choice, then internal promotion demands no recruiter fees or advertising fees.
Internal promotion is a quicker and easier execution than the process of external hiring, your pool of candidates is already on your system and you have a good knowledge of their capabilities and working styles, although don’t allow this to let you think you know all of their capabilities.
They are already on your payroll, already know, understand and presumably are happy with, your company culture and are more able to hit the ground running.
Seeing the ability for staff progression is a great motivator for all of your staff, knowing that there is room and in the company for growth and opportunity during their career with you.
Be aware that you’ll likely still be hiring out of the company as you’ll need to replace your promoted employee.
Hiring internally has its benefits but ensure you’re making your choice because it’s the right one, not because your employee has been overlooked in the past or you only needed a quick fix. If the member of staff isn’t right for the position, or hasn’t thus far shown the necessary qualities, they’re not the right choice.
If you’re not in need of any particular change or shake up and your business performance and your company culture is thriving, then perhaps you’d be happy to turn to your existing employees to find your recruit.
However if you sense that a change could be welcomed and make a difference for the company, either in terms of business performance, diversity or even if you have discovered a lack of leadership or initiative which has removed members of your current team from consideration, then it sounds like hiring externally is the option for you.