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

Kevin scours the list of applicants to his recent posting for a marketing representative. Underqualified. Overqualified. Not enough experience. Every candidate misses the mark by a long shot.

Kevin is not alone: According to the 2015 Talent Shortage Survey from ManpowerGroup, 38 percent of employers are finding it difficult to fill jobs.

It's not surprising that companies like Kevin's are starting to look inward. Internal talent is one of the most valuable sources of hires – especially when external talent is hard to come by. The 2015 CareerXroads Source of Hire report found that companies filled 37.1 percent of their total hires in the preceding year using internal transfers and promotions.

But how do you best match internal talent with openings at the company? And what does "internal talent mobility" even mean?

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

Talent mobility is the strategy of using internal talent pools to fill open positions. The main issue many companies face when trying to leverage internal talent is matching roles to qualified employees.

Here are a few tips on how you can fill open roles with your best talent:

Conduct Assessments

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

Unfortunately, a lot of companies don't understand the value they have on their hands. The Lee Hecht Harrison report cited above found that only 42 percent of companies understand their employees' unique skills and experiences. 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 of your talent pool. First of all, ask employees to conduct self-assessments in which they can highlight their strengths and weaknesses. Then provide your own evaluation of their performance and compare it to the employee's self-evaluation.

Be sure to consider personality types – e.g., introverts compared to extroverts when filling a leadership role – and inquire about personal goals. Do they align with the opportunities that are present?

You should walk away with a good idea of your employees' skills, competencies, and areas where they need – and want – to make improvements. Then, you can consider what your open roles require and which employees have the necessary qualifications.

Offer Training

Some of your internal talent may not be ready for a promotion or a change in positions just yet, but if they express interest and demonstrate a passion for learning, consider offering training and education.

Providing professional development is beneficial in many ways. For one, it impacts job satisfaction. The 2016 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement report from SHRM found that 40 percent of the nearly 600 employees surveyed said their organization's commitment to professional development is "very important" to their job satisfaction.

Professional development also creates a team of highly skilled employees who are growing and advancing within your company. You're retaining talent, which cuts down on turnover and recruiting costs; creating a happier workplace; and growing your business along with its workforce.

Create mentorships, offer tuition reimbursement, conduct seminars, or offer financial assistance for certification courses. The options to educate your staff are endless. Help your employees create action plans and continually evaluate how their plans are working.

Offer regular constructive feedback so employees can learn how to meet expectations. When you assist employees in setting goals that align with their personal visions, be sure to empower them with the tools they need to succeed. Maintain an open dialogue and help your employees become qualified to fill open roles later on down the line.

Seek Out Peer Recommendations

It is impossible for leaders, managers, and HR departments to take a hands-on approach at every organizational level. That's why it's a good idea to rely on your team for some honest input.

Ask your employees to give feedback on their peers. Emphasize the importance of being unbiased, setting aside personal connections, and offering objective opinions about who would perform best in an open job.

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'll enjoy having a say in who joins their team.

When the candidates are narrowed down to a handful of employees, conduct panel interviews and have the candidate's coworkers sit in. Give them the chance to ask questions and help talent acquisition professionals assess fit.

Don't hire internal talent on a gut feeling or base your decisions on 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 other staff members.

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