At some point, we’re all likely to run a hiring process which includes internal candidates. As one study recently showed, this needs handling very carefully.
The first thing to say is that hiring from within is great. It sends a very positive message about progression within our companies and internal candidates have existing context and relationships which help them have a more immediate impact than an external candidate.
However, if you’re interviewing internal candidates, at some point you’re also going to reject some of them - either in favour of another internal candidate, or an external one.
It’s here that it gets tricky.
After analysing more than 9,000 rejection experiences of employees at a Fortune 100 company over a five-year period, researchers at Cornell’s Industrial and Labor Relations school found that rejected internal candidates were twice as likely to leave their company than those who hadn’t interviewed.
As the authors make clear though, the answer is not to stop hiring external candidates who might be a better fit, but to best manage the inevitable rejections of internal ones.
They found two areas which halved the likelihood of a rejected candidate leaving the company:
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