Once the job requirements and selection criteria for the position have been determined, employers are immediately faced with a decision— how to generate the applications needed to fill its labor needs. Whether or not a particular vacancy should be filled internally or externally typically depends on the nature of the job, availability of qualified candidates, company policies, and recruiting costs. Some employers find it necessary to use several recruiting sources in order to generate a sufficient number of qualified applicants. This is especially true in tight labor markets or when searching for specialized skills.
Although similar in many respects, internal and external recruiting sources differ in terms of planning, effort and time required to implement, and cost. Therefore, every employer should weigh the pros and cons of recruiting employees through each source based on your company’s own needs. Irrespective of the source(s) selected, employers must use fair and consistent practices that comply with applicable regulatory requirements. The following briefly evaluates some of the merits of using internal and external recruiting sources:
Internal Sources for Recruitment
Many employers try to follow a “promote from within” policy when filling job vacancies because:
- They can capitalize on investments made in recruiting, selecting, and developing current employees.
- Promotions reward employees for past performance and motivate them to continue their efforts.
- Job opportunities created by promotions help protect other employees from layoffs and send a positive message that the company supports career development.
- Management is already aware of the job history and capability of internal candidates, which may be a more accurate predictor of the candidate’s success than data gained about outside applicants through the selection process.
- The use of internal resources may facilitate compliance with EEO/AA requirements, maximize prior investments in existing human resources, eliminate the need for orientation, minimize training time, and reduce recruiting time and associated expenses.
While many companies find this option to be a valuable resource, it assumes the availability of qualified internal candidates. However, specialized skills or experience may not always be readily available within the company. This is particularly common in smaller companies. Applicants hired from outside of the company may also be a source of new ideas and knowledge, which could help to expand the company’s internal capabilities and prevent the inbreeding of ideas and attitudes.
Companies who decide to use this recruiting method need to develop a system for locating and enabling qualified job candidates to apply for the position. This involves establishing formal procedures for using and communicating system requirements. Two of the most common methods used to maximize the motivational value of a “promote from within” policy are job posting/bidding and skill tracking. Posting internal jobs is effective only when done before external job postings are made available. Employees should be made aware of vacancies by placing notices in areas where employees regularly frequent such as lounges, elevators, and near time clocks. Postings should also be placed in circulating publications (newsletters, memos) and on company bulletin boards. A system of internal job postings will allow for the upward and lateral mobility of employees.
External Sources for Recruitment
Companies typically use external recruiting sources when they have exhausted their supply of internal candidates, are recruiting specialized talent or higher level positions, or have made a conscious decision to recruit externally. An array of sources exists to choose from including, but not limited to: newspaper and trade publication advertisements, educational institutions, labor and community organizations, job fairs, employee referral programs, state agencies, professional search firms, on-line recruiting sites, employee leasing, temporary agencies, billboards, and past employees. The amount of time, effort, and cost involved varies by source. The first five sources stated require the company to take a more active role in the process, while the remaining sources inherently limit the company’s role.