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Hiring Internally, or Externally?

Hiring Internally, or Externally?

Alison Green | Ask A Manager

A reader writes:

Another question along the lines of job rejections. I have been applying to jobs at the company for which I used to work (I left to stay home with kids). I still have great references from colleagues and managers; they pass my resume and cover along with recommendations if they know the hiring manager. While this gets me in for interviews, the jobs are invariably given to internal candidates. In the most recent case, the hiring manager called to tell me, was very apologetic, offered to help connect me for future postings, asked to keep my resume. I gained a great contact, but no offer. I emailed to thank her for calling me personally and said I would take her up on her offer.

That said, I wonder why companies post positions externally if they need to hire internally? Is it to save the time it would take to post externally if no appropriate internal candidate applies? I understand the need to give the job to someone already within the ranks, but it is really frustrating to go through the process, get one’s hopes up after a great interview, only to be told that they went with someone from inside. Can you provide any insight?

It’s true that sometimes a company plans to hire an internal candidate and is just going through the motions with others, often because their internal rules require that every job be posted, that a certain number of candidates be interviewed, etc.

But this is often not the case, and I’ve noticed that candidates — the external ones — tend to assume it’s true even when they don’t have reason to believe it is.

Often what happens is this: A job opens up. An internal candidate expresses interest. The employer welcomes their interest, but isn’t ready to anoint them and genuinely wants to consider other candidates as well. In this case, the internal candidate is one of many candidates on relatively even footing. They may get the job, or they may not. But in cases where they do, it can look like that was the plan all along, even when it wasn’t.

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