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Recruitment - internal & external

Author: Jim Riley  Last updated: Sunday 23 September, 2012

Internal and external recruitment

A manager can recruit in two different ways:

  • Internal recruitment is when the business looks to fill the vacancy from within its existing workforce
  • External recruitment is when the business looks to fill the vacancy from any suitable applicant outside the business

Of course, the option to use BOTH internal and external recruitment can be used. This is often the case for senior management appointments.




Internal Recruitment

Cheaper and quicker to recruit

Limits the number of potential applicants

People already familiar with the business and how it operates

No new ideas can be introduced from outside

Provides opportunities for promotion with in the business – can be motivating

May cause resentment amongst candidates not appointed

Business already knows the strengths and weaknesses of candidates

Creates another vacancy which needs to be filled

External Recruitment

Outside people bring in new ideas

Longer process

Larger pool of workers from which to find the best candidate

More expensive process due to advertising and interviews required

People have a wider range of experience

Selection process may not be effective enough to reveal the best candidate

The four most popular ways of recruiting externally are: 

  • Job centres – Government agencies to help the unemployed find jobs or get training
  • Job advertisements - the most common form of external recruitment.  Where a business chooses to advertise will depend on the cost of advertising and the coverage needed (i.e. how far away people will consider applying for the job)
  • Recruitment agency - Provides employers with details of suitable candidates for a vacancy and can sometimes be referred to as ‘head-hunters’.  They work for a fee and often specialise in particular employment areas e.g. nursing, financial services, teacher recruitment
  • Personal recommendation - Often referred to as ‘word of mouth’ and can be a recommendation from a colleague at work.  A full assessment of the candidate is still needed however but potentially it saves on advertising cost

When recruiting externally, the business will almost certainly have to produce a job advertisement.  The objectives of the advertisement are to:

  • Inform audience of potential candidates about opportunity
  • Provide enough information to both inform and interest possible applicants
  • Help “screen” or dissuade unsuitable applicants
  • Obtain most number of suitably qualified applicants for post advertised

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