Internal Recruitment

What does internal recruitment mean?

Internal recruitment is where a company hires from within their existing team for a new position. This could be a promotion or offering people from other teams or departments the opportunity to fill the position.


There are many reasons a company could choose to promote from within. Sometimes it’s to minimise costs. Promoting from within means no external recruiter, agency or advertising fees. You can use your existing team and platforms to help advertise the role instead. In other instances, it might be because the business feels the company’s existing talent would be more suitable. Some businesses have policies in place to offer vacancies internally prior to advertising them externally. This can be advantageous as you get the best of both worlds. To begin with, you can advertise internally and save yourself the time and cost. You might be lucky and get a great candidate. If the talent isn’t already there, then you can expand your search and look outside the business.

There’s no singular reason to prioritise internal hiring, however, there are many reasons that companies might choose to do it. Cost saving is a common reason, but its success at improving staff retention could be the reason. The added benefit is that in addition to saving on recruiting/agency/advertising fees, it’s likely that the training needed will be much less significant than that required for a new hire. The lack of need for training will save you both money and time, increasing overall productivity.

Aside from improving staff retention and reducing costs, hiring internally helps create an environment where staff can progress their careers. Career progression is extremely valuable to most people, so if opportunities are available internally, they may look to try and climb the ladder rather than finding a new position with another company.


While there are many benefits to hiring internally, there are also reasons you might want to hire externally. New people often bring new ideas, ways of thinking, connections and experience. More diverse teams also contribute to better employee performance and increased profits.

Limiting yourself to existing employees makes your talent pool smaller, as the existing staff already have an understanding of the business and work in a certain way. Hiring from other industries, companies, departments or roles can bring fresh perspectives and new ways of looking at things. Different networks can also be useful for sharing content, knowledge and opportunities – this can increase the size of your audience as well as opening the business up to people who may not previously have been aware of you.

One study showed that 24% of people were open to a job with another company after being overlooked for a promotion.

Another, more obvious disadvantage to hiring internally, is that while you are filling one vacancy, you’re creating another. The new position may be considered more urgent, so might therefore be prioritised over keeping someone in a less significant role, but it does create another vacancy which would need filling.

In-house vs. internal recruitment

Though they sound similar, in-house recruitment and internal recruitment are two very different things.

In-house recruitment refers to having a dedicated team or department within the company that deals with your recruitment. These teams often comprise recruiters, creatives and marketers, so that all aspects of the recruitment process can be met without the need for external providers or freelancers. A dedicated in-house team is advantageous though, as they’re more likely to have a good understanding of the culture, work environment and company goals. This understanding can make the difference when creating adverts and screening/selecting candidates, as they’ll know who’ll fit the company well. Due to their familiarity with the business, in-house teams have a better understanding of what an ideal candidate might be.

Internal recruitment is where you look to your existing workforce to fill vacancies. As mentioned earlier, there are advantages and disadvantages to this practice. Promoting talent from within can save time and money, however, it can make creating a diverse team more difficult. Since diversity brings benefits such as new connections and ways of thinking, which can lead to increased performance and profits, you shouldn’t rigidly stick to hiring internally or externally. To be as inclusive and diverse as possible, but still give your workforce the opportunity to progress their careers, you should consider both internal and external candidates if possible.

Why should I use internal recruitment and when?

There are times that suit both internal and in-house recruitment. Determining which to use for each hire requires an understanding of your existing team, the company needs and the role. For example, you may have a fairly new team, but also have an urgent hiring need. In that instance, it may be a better use of time to look externally. If your team is well-established and the vacancy better suits someone with a strong understanding of the business, its goals and challenges, then an internal hire might be more appropriate.

Making a checklist for each new vacancy could help you choose the correct method of recruiting. Are there people in your team who might be looking for a promotion? Is there someone in the team who matches the requirement of the role well? Would the role benefit from a fresh perspective and new ideas? Making sure you’ve got the answers to these questions could help you determine where to look first for candidates.

There are certain roles in companies that require a deeper understanding of the company, its values and its goals. Recruiting internally for positions like this can be beneficial. Existing employees have already experienced the work environment, giving them the advantage of having a good understanding of the culture and who would be a good fit for the company.

Hiring internally means no need for onboarding, familiarising staff with systems, etc. as they’d already have had that training. This means your ‘new hire’ can begin working on what you need them to immediately. For certain roles, particularly more technical or senior ones, having someone who can hit the ground running can be worth its weight in gold.

If you’re thinking about working with a provider of RPO or Embedded Talent solutions, we’d love to chat with you. With close to 15 years’ experience helping companies brand themselves and hire the right talent, our teams in North America, UK and South Africa work as an extension of your team. To find out more about how our flexible approach to recruitment can help you or to let us know more about your future recruitment projects, contact us