External vs. Internal Hiring

I am frequently asked: "what are the pros and cons of hiring an internal candidate vs. external?  How do you decide which position requires internal, company, industry and / or political knowledge (and related relationships)?" Couple of key thoughts on the topic:

Position "Required" Knowledge.  There are some positions within companies that absolutely require knowledge of the business.  For example, there are a number of supply chain, finance, and business intelligence-related positions within companies that absolutely demand knowledge of the business, how the business operates, decision-making process, data and information standards, etc.  For these positions, it just does not make sense to even consider outside candidates.

New Ideas.  One of the real benefits of bringing in outside resources is that the individual brings knowledge and experience that may not already exist within the organization.  While this can be an absolute positive, this can also be "threatening" to existing staff and for those unwilling to learn new things or accept new ideas.  Many business cultures are "closed" to new ideas or out-of-the-box thinking and outside resources may become frustrated quickly with the lack of acknowledgement of new ways of getting things done.

Training and Development.  There is no question that new hires to an organization will require training, time to develop and time to get to know the culture and operational processes within the organization.  For strategic hires, it absolutely makes sense to invest and during this process, it is important to identify core competencies or skill sets that will enable the new-hire to be successful in the organization's environment.

I carefully consider the following when I am starting the process of recruiting and hiring for a position on my team:

> What business and technical skills, knowledge and abilities are required of the team member?

> What relationship skills are required (or not required)?

> What interactions will take place between the team member and other teams, managers, executives...or will take place in the future?

> Is there an aspect of the role that requires a specific set of internal skills and abilities?

> How do the candidates in the succession (talent management) process stack up against the requirements for the role?