The Power Behind Hiring Internal Talent

by Nick Hutchinson | Posted | Talent Acquisition

The Power Behind Hiring Internal Talent

When it comes to hiring candidates, the first instinct for recruitment teams is to dive into the external talent pool. But have you considered hiring internal talent to fill open positions? The benefits of hiring from your internal talent pool are robust, so I'll only skim the surface on why you should give your current employees a chance to swim in the pool too!.

The candidate experience matters – even for internal talent

How do you set yourself up for success when hiring internal talent? Believe it or not, the candidate experience matters even for internal hires. Enabling your employees to experience personal growth and career progression creates competency-based talent pools and allows recruitment teams to identify employees with a specific skillset that can step into the new role (and be successful) while retaining talent and maintaining costs.

In the long run, this will empower your employees to expand their breadth of expertise and ultimately become champions for your organization.

What hiring internal talent does for your employer brand

In our first audio blog, we discussed the impact that your employer brand has on the candidate experience. And your employer brand is equally important for internal talent acquisition. It may seem obvious, but candidate buy-in (internal or external) has a direct link to the strength of your employer brand.

A strong employer brand and candidate experience means that your current employees will stay and grow in their careers and refer candidates for new opportunities. According to a recent study by Brandon Hall Group, the internal referral rate is a leading indicator of your candidate experience.

The candidate experience shouldn't be sink or swim

Don't let your talent pools – internal or external – sink. If you can get the candidate experience right, you will find talent faster and enable your organization to thrive.

Listen to my Q&A chat with Cliff Stevenson, Principal Analyst for Workforce Management at Brandon Hall Group as we dive into the link between hiring internal talent and the candidate experience.

In this conversation, we'll discuss:

  • The power within internal talent pools and what it means for your organization
  • How your internal talent pool will set your recruitment team up for success
  • Why your employer brand can make or break your candidate experience

Full Transcript

Cliff: Hello everybody, this is Cliff Stevenson from Brandon Hall Group. I am the Principal Analyst for Workforce Management and Talent Acquisition and I am joined today by Nick Hutchinson who is the head of Talent Acquisition for Saba.

Nick: Hi, Cliff. Good to be here.

Cliff: It is, it is, excellent to be here. Nick, we are talking today about candidate experience, and we're talking a little bit about the idea of hiring from within. When we're talking about branding and candidate experience and the employee experience we're often sort of, I think, implying going after external candidates, going after those people that are out there in the workforce, sort of the traditional idea of recruiting. But it's also important to have the same exercise, the same mindset, when going after your internal talent pools. I think that we get behind sometimes.

Nick: Yeah, absolutely, and as a recruiter or as a hiring manager within an organization, I think we need to hire internal first. Going out to market and sourcing external candidates, it can be a vicious circle, right?

We need to hire so we go out to market, we perhaps spend a lot of money advertising across various job boards, we might even use agencies trying to attract the right individuals to our organization - very, very expensive. That person applies to the company and we might be lucky, we might get a successful hire. But if your employer brand, your reputation for being a great employer isn't right, and that individual joins your company, guess what? You're going to be in a vicious circle because, if they're not nicely onboarded, if they're not learning, they're not able to expand and grow their skills. They can't plan their goals and career, they're not getting recognized and rewarded, they're going to leave the organization quite quickly, and then you need to start recruiting externally again and going back out to market.

I think what's key here is to remember the employer brand is your reputation for being a great employer. If we can get internal hiring right, it's a no-brainer for the organization. It enables you to grow your internal workforce, it enables you to stop that big recruitment spend. Internal hiring really works around personal growth and career progression.

If you can get a really strong understanding of the skills your organization needs, and most importantly, when you're hiring internally, the ability to identify those people who have those skills and could step into the new role that you're recruiting for and be successful, you're going to start to find the right candidates in a more cost effective way. You're going to stop people from walking out the door, you're going to stop the churn as well. If not, if people want to progress, they want to get a promotion. If they're leaving the company, then hiring starts to become very, very, very expensive. You're losing your internal candidates and you're going to be facing those high agency bills.

It seems really obvious, but I think the most important thing is the biggest part for me, around employer brand, around being a great employer and making sure you can recruit from within is really getting that right. When a candidate starts to get interested in your organization, make it really easy for them to apply, and let's throw technology into the mix, right? It's important. But making sure that career site is mobile responsive, perhaps having a nice chatbot on there to answer frequently asked questions. When people apply internally as well, make it really easy for them to apply. Perhaps using their employee profile, so they don't need to create a new CV, but can go ahead and apply directly with their employer profile, and can easily identify the roles which are available in my organization.

Your recruitment team should be able to really be able to tap into your internal talent and know the right skill sets and know who those individuals are. Hopefully your software can start to target that. But its internal talent pools and hiring from within that is absolutely key. I think, if you can get that right, not only are you going to be able to find the right talent faster, but looking at the bigger picture, it's going to enable your organization to grow, to move forward and enable your internal workforce to start making referrals. Yeah, for me, Cliff, it's where you should start and every great recruiter and hiring manager should be reaching out internally before they start going externally.

Cliff: Yeah, absolutely, and I'm just going to jump in to one of the comments you made about the career site, that's something we're actually seeing from the research as well. You've heard that we're seeing almost one in four companies, 24% of the companies saying that one of their biggest challenges is their career site, and is that portal, because obviously that's setting the tone.

Nick: Yeah.

Cliff: Given their organizations, they don't know if it's made by some external company, all they say is, "Oh it's tough to even apply here, why would I want to work here?"

Nick: Yeah, exactly, and, even for your internal staff, it's so important to have that internal application correct. They shouldn't have to go through the same processes as external hires as well. You should really be able to build competency-based talent pools for every critical area of your business. If you're really working on targeting those development plans within your organization, you're starting to build a highly skilled and engaged internal workforce, but you're also able to ensure that the people you do have, have the skills that you need for your organization to thrive as they step into new roles for the organization as well. It's really, really key that the internal experience, from development, but also from a recruitment perspective, that being able to identify your internal talent is correct. Offering personalized learning experience as employees, and really encouraging them to become your recruiters as well. If you don't have the internal people you need, they're going to reach out and refer external great talent.

Cliff: Oh, absolutely, and that internal referral rate is a leading indicator of the strength of your candidate experience. It's a sort of internal NPS, right? Internal candidates really are neglected often when we talk about candidate experience and I think that's true for some technology solutions too. They're designed to be only outward facing instead of providing that same level of care for internal and external candidates. But you know what, that's a topic for another one in this series of audio blogs that we're doing here on the topic of candidate experience. We're also doing retaining top talent, new hires and developed, and where candidate experience connects to the sort of overall employee experience. I want to thank you Nick, for joining us and all of you for listening to this audio blog and please check out the rest in this series, bye.

How to deliver a market-leading candidate experience

Learn how to build strong relationships between your organization and your candidates.


Watch Now
Cover of the book
Cover of the book

How to deliver a market-leading candidate experience

Learn how to build strong relationships between your organization and your candidates.


Watch Now


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