These Recruiting Tips Will Make You Rethink How to Fill Roles With Internal Talent


Hiring for open roles continues to challenge a lot of companies as the war for talent drags on. A 2015 survey from ManpowerGroup found that 38 percent of employers are facing talent shortages

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A lot of companies are looking inward to solve their talent woes, in part because internal talent mobility is one of the most valuable sources of hire: the 2015 CareerXroads Source of Hire report found that companies filled 37.1 percent of their total hires in the preceding year through internal transfers and promotions.

But internal hiring raises some serious questions. How do you best match internal talent with openings at the company? What does "internal talent mobility" even mean?

This latter question is particularly important to answer, considering that 24 percent of the organizations surveyed in the 2015 Talent Mobility Research Report from Lee Hecht Harrison say the top challenge they face is a lack of organizational understanding of talent mobility and how it can be leveraged.

To put it simply, "talent mobility" is the strategy of using internal talent pools to fill open positions at a business. The main difficulty organizations face in implementing this strategy is knowing how to match roles to qualified employees.

Let's take a look at how you can fill open roles with your most qualified existing talent:

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Conduct Assessments

One of the first steps to implementing a talent mobility program is understanding which roles need to be filled. Start by prioritizing talent needs, then review your employees to find out who among them is most qualified.

Unfortunately, a lot of companies don't understand the value they have on their hands. The 2015 Talent Mobility Research Report from Lee Hecht Harrison found that only 42 percent of companies understand their employees' unique skills and experience. It's difficult to find qualified candidates when you can't identify who has what kind of qualifications.

Start conducting assessments to develop a better understanding your talent pool. First of all, ask employees to conduct self-assessments wherein they can highlight their strengths and weaknesses. Then provide your own evaluations of their performances and look at these evaluations side by side.

You should also consider your employees' personality types (e.g., introverts compared to extroverts in leadership roles) and inquire about their personal goals. Do they align with the opportunities that are presented?

You will walk away from your assessment process with a good idea of your employees' skills, competencies, and areas where they need to – and want to – make improvements. Then, you'll be able to consider what your open roles require and which employees have the experience and qualifications necessary to succeed in these positions.

Offer Training

Some internal talent may not be ready for a promotion or a change in position. However, if they express an interest and demonstrate a passion for learning, you should consider offering training and education.

Providing professional development is beneficial in many ways. For one, it impacts job satisfaction: in a May 2014 study from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 42 percent of the employees surveyed said their organization's commitment to professional development was "very important" to their job satisfaction.

Professional development programs also create teams of highly skilled employees who are growing and advancing within your company. You're retaining talent – which saves on the cost of turnover and recruiting – creating a happier workplace culture, and improving your workforce all in one go.

The options for educating your staff are endless – e.g., you can create mentorships, offer tuition reimbursement, conduct seminars, or offer financial assistance for certification courses, among other things. Help your employees create action plans to guide their learning and continually evaluate how their plans are working.

Offer your employees regular constructive feedback so they can learn how to meet expectations. When you assist them in setting goals that align with their personal visions, empower them with the tools they need for success, and maintain an open dialogue with them, your employees will grow and become qualified to fill open roles in your organization.

Seek Out Peer Recommendations

It's impossible for leaders, managers, and HR pros to be hands-on at every organizational level. That's why you should learn to rely on your employees for help – even when it comes to hiring.

Request input from employees during the hiring process. Emphasize the importance of being unbiased, setting aside personal connections, and offering an objective opinion about which candidat would perform best in an open position.

Hold meetings with relevant team members to discuss what's best for the whole department. They will appreciate the trust you have in them, and they will like having a say in the people they will be working alongside.

When the candidates are narrowed down to a handful of employees, conduct panel interviews wherein the candidates' potential coworkers can ask questions and help talent acquisition professionals assess fit.

Don't hire internal talent based on gut feelings about how nice a person is or how well they get along with everybody. Instead, create a process that involves in-depth employee assessments, career development action plans for top talent, and additional feedback from staff members.

Kes Thygesen is the cofounder and head of product at RolePoint. Connect with him and RolePoint on LinkedIn and Twitter.