Internal or External? The Pros and Cons of Hiring

Why does filling a job opening take so long sometimes? The reasons for hiring bottlenecks can vary. Some claim the talent pool is thinning out. Others point to greater recruiting competition, or the fact that job candidates have more options than in recent years. And, in the current job market, companies are taking strides to improve retention, and help current employees map out their careers.

In the view of some HR professionals and hiring managers, the interview process is where things really slow down:

  • On average, the interview process can take up to 24 days from start to finish.
  • Add background checks and screenings to the mix,and it can still be a slow, uphill battle to fill the position.

Whatever the reason, one fact remains: the longer a position stays vacant, the more stress this can place on your business and existing workforce. Either your current employees pick up the slack, or the work can go undone.

Hiring Internally Can Reduce Time-to-Fill

There are pros and cons to hiring externally or internally. Let’s have a look at some of them below.


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Pros and Cons of Hiring Internally vs. Externally

Hiring from within pro: you’re already familiar with the candidate, and they’re familiar with you.

Familiarity can bring peace of mind when you’re hiring. That’s why so many companies value things like receiving a warm referral from an existing employee, transitioning contract workers into employees, and promoting from within.

  • Internal hires already know your company’s culture and overall strategic objectives.
  • They often possess working relationships with certain departments, and will ideally bring a proven track record of commitment and reliability.

Hiring from within con: you might miss out on the new ideas that an outside candidate can bring.

For all the peace of mind that comes with hiring from within, there’s a catch: are you selling your options and opportunities short by not looking outside the company? While your internal candidates might know the company’s direction, it’s possible that their preconceived notions can create blind spots.

  • While familiarity is often a good thing, it can create a vacuum that prevents employees, and the company as a whole, from being open to new ideas. For this reason, bringing in a new perspective can help shake a department or team out of stagnation.
  • Internal candidates might be less flexible when it comes to fulfilling the demands of a new position, or might find themselves pining for their old job if and when things get difficult.

Hiring from outside the company pro: diversify!

Diversifying isn’t just a buzzword when it comes to your workplace culture. Doing so can be one of the most critical decisions you make when it’s time to hire.

Earlier we mentioned stagnation. Something else that can set in over time is groupthink, which can show up in a business when things like consensus and agreement take precedence over thinking outside the box, or bringing disruptive ideas to the table.

  • A new hire from outside the company is bound to bring fresh ideas, and help push conversations in new directions. This can be a game-changer for a company if things have gotten stagnant, or fresh ideas are lacking.
  • External hires might also be eager to prove themselves, especially if they’ve come from a competitor, or are looking to get on the fast track toward advancement. This type of energy can become infectious in a workplace, and might ramp up other employees in the process.

Hiring from outside the company con: how much rocking can your boat take?

In the end, it often comes back to culture, which is the workplace water we swim in every day. So, while things like big ideas and disruptive thinking might help bump a company or department out of a stagnant phase, there’s always a point where enough is enough, and too much may start to work against you.

  • Let’s say your new hire is a great match on paper, interviews well, and brings the type of thinking that leads to immediate changes and improvements. But what if they start to create friction, and wind up not playing all that well with others?
  • It’s possible that the diversity you originally liked can start working against you, especially if company culture isn’t part of your onboarding process. After a while, you’ll want your external hire to get on board with company policies and practices. What happens if they don’t?

No matter how you hire, the culture piece will always be key.  

Your culture will continue to influence how your company performs, how others perceive your company, and how you attract job candidates. Besides wanting to fill an opening, what would benefit a team the most: someone familiar who can jump right in, or someone who will help shake things up a little? This answer can help guide your next steps.


The myStaffingPro applicant tracking system can help you expand the way you recruit through links to corporate social media accounts and social apply options for job candidates. To discover more about how myStaffingPro can improve the candidate experience and strengthen your talent pool, send us an email or give us a call.

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