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Every single time you hire a new employee, your business takes a risk. Will the new person live up to your expectations? Will he or she fit in well with the company culture?

Since employee turnover costs a lot of money, sometimes it’s in your best interest to hire from the inside. After all, you already have a good idea if an internal candidate has what it takes to fit in and succeed.

Hiring internally, however, is not fail-safe. That’s why we’ve given you some tips to help you and your promoted employee hit the job fulfillment jackpot.

1. Implement an Internship Program and Have a Mentoring Mentality

By giving students a chance to embed themselves in your business, not only are you reducing your hire risk (since the internship is temporary and costs little regarding salary and benefits) but you are also giving yourself a strong base of options for hiring into your permanent entry-level positions.

By getting someone in the door on the ground floor and mentoring them on company culture and expectations, you are setting them up to work their way through the ranks and contribute to the company’s success.

Also, developing mentorship relationships with your current employees is a must. Give them opportunities to feel established, invested in, and valued.

2. Be Very Descriptive in Your Job Descriptions

You may assume (wrongly) that internal job applicants already know all they need about internally posted job positions. Because of this assumption, you may also believe (again, incorrectly) that you don’t need to put much effort into the job post and a description.

Since you don’t want to deal with crowds of unqualified candidates or applicants that won’t end up being happy with the new position, you need to craft an attractive, effective job listing.

Here are some tips that can improve your job descriptions:

  • Treat the job title as an attention-grabbing headline.
  • Make the description easy to scan by using subheadings and bullet points.
  • When it comes to applicant requirements, only list those that are essential. This screens out the unqualified but also leave enough flexibility for you to work around.
  • Be very clear about what the job entails as well as its hours, benefits, and compensation.
  • List why a candidate will enjoy working in this new position.

3. Interview an Applicant’s Coworkers (And Potential Coworkers)

This move can be a little risky, as bias can come into play pretty quickly, but it’s not a bad idea to get others’ opinions when it comes to hiring the best person for the position. After all, team members have been or will be, working with the candidate side-by-side every day.

You will probably receive some input, both positive and negative, that you wouldn’t have gotten otherwise and you will get a feel for compatibility so that the team’s future success can be more effortless.

4. Be Careful When Courting a Current Employee

If you already have a candidate in mind for the opening, but they aren’t actively looking for a new position, you need to do plenty of footwork first. Research, research, research before you even speak to them about a job.

Your belief about what they can do and want to do may be way off. You also don’t want to build any bad blood between you and the other supervisors or coworkers.

When it’s time to speak to the candidate, make the employee comfortable, and create a connection.

Start with questions. Is there something else you can offer that they’re not getting from their current job? Be prepared to sell the position, its compensation, and the benefits to internal hires.

employees working in an office together-Successful Internal Hire

5. Have a Vision and Share Your Strategy

If you want to win over the best and brightest internal hires, you need to demonstrate that you’re a leader, not just a manager. This is an area where you can’t afford to wander. What does team success look like to you? What kind of steps do you need to take to get there?

Selecting a goal, collecting relevant information, and knowing your numbers will go a long way toward working out the flaws of your vision and getting you on the path to achieving it.

Share information regularly, especially once you know where your team is going and your strategy for getting there!

The Center for Management & Organization Effectiveness (CMOE) shares one of its 10 Guiding Principles of True Strategic Leadership to help you inspire the best in your employees, both current and future.

“When your team sees what they’re working towards, they will be more motivated to achieve it – and they’ll feel more accomplished when they do. Let them in on your grandmaster’s plans. Better yet, let them be part of the process of developing goals. That way, they will feel like they have a say in their future, which will empower them and enhance their motivation.”  

6. Before You Make Your Decision, Create Some “Psychological Distance”

Once again, CMOE offers some interesting insights that can improve your problem-solving skills, which can extend to hiring the top choice for the open job.

When you train your brain to think in different ways, both logically and abstractly, you open yourself to finding the optimal path forward for internal hire.

Before making your final decision, try out these ideas:

  • Rely on others’ experiences and ideas, even those from outside the company and in different career fields.
  • Make a mind map. Draw the goals you want to achieve with your new hire. Surrounding them, add the reasons for the aspirations and then the problems that are in the way of achieving the goals. Next, make a separate mind map of the final few candidates and how they can help you achieve the goals. Keep drawing in detail until it’s apparent which candidate resolves the most problems and gets your team closer to achieving its goals.
  • For a time, increase your mental distance from the internal hire decision by working out, spending time in nature, or getting a good night’s sleep. In doing so, you’ll enjoy an increase in creative solutions. This is because thinking more abstractly helps our brain to form unexpected connections between seemingly unrelated concepts, and allows us to expand our problem-solving (or job hiring) capacity.

Final Thoughts

According to a recent study, “43% of U.S. office workers are bored, and that bored workers are twice as likely to leave.” The bottom line is that your employees desperately want to progress their careers and add value to their company.

When you invest in upskilling your team and promoting from within, you end up with a more engaged workforce, an increase in productivity, and reduced turnover. It’s a win-win for everyone!


Written By
Annabelle Smyth is a freelance writer who covers everything from HR to technology and team building. Her most recent work involves partnership marketing with CMOE where she has had the opportunity to learn about the relationship between leadership and successful businesses.

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