Promote From Within

Looking for the perfect candidate? Consider promoting from within.

By: Don Harkey

Nov 27 2016 at 5:09 a.m.


An organization we are working with had a job opening for a key position.  As we talked about the responsibilities of the job, the manager kept talking about an existing employee who had traits that would work for the position.  I asked if that employee was being considered for the open position. The manager hadn't thought about it. The employee had been hired for an entry level position and the manager had simply never thought of that person in the different way.

This is an easy mistake to make as a manager. When a new position opens, look at your existing team to see if anyone might be a good fit. Posting new jobs internally might bring you internal candidates that you hadn't considered before. Here are considerations before promoting someone from inside your organization. 


1) Cultural Fit: Every interview process has some level of uncertainty, but with internal candidates, you typically know what you've got, even if you haven't seen them in the new role.  Is the internal candidate a good cultural fit to your organization?  


2) Avoid Toxicity: I've seen some employers attempt to deal with someone who is toxic to the organization by promoting them to a new position thinking that it will improve their attitude towards the company. It won't. Promoting a toxic employee sends a bad message to the employee and to the team.


3) Strengths Fit: No matter how badly someone wants to do something, they should be hardwired to do it well. Sometimes this is hard to see, especially if the person isn't doing anything close to the job you are filling. Sometimes you have to dig into the employee's work history to see specifically how they are most successful. Sometimes you can find a surprising match.  


4) Be Prepared to Say No: Some employers don't look internally for promotions because they are afraid of the hurt feelings caused when someone internally doesn't get a position.  This can be a problem, but it also can be a good development opportunity. One client of ours passed up an internal person for a promotion and the person was very upset. The manager immediately met with the employee and laid out the reasons the employee was not selected and what the employee could do to rise in the company. With renewed clarity, the employee focused on his own personal development and is next in line for the next promotion.

Don't forget those internal candidates you have when filling a job.  Your best option might already be on your team.


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