Hiring someone can be a tough decision for human resources professionals and hiring managers, but the trickiest decision in the hiring process may come even before the interviews are set. Deciding whether to hire internally, or conduct a search outside the office, can have a big impact on your office politics.
How do you decide whether to promote internally or conduct an outside hiring search? First, identify the specific position. Are you creating a new position, or is the hiring to fill a void left by someone leaving? It may be easier to hire from within for a new position, than when someone leaves. When a position opens because someone leaves, there is often a pre-defined list of qualifications you are looking for in the replacement. Unless someone was already being groomed as a replacement from within, hiring externally is probably the best way to go because it provides a bigger pool of candidates to choose from and improves your chances at finding the most qualified individual.
Hiring a new employee from within may change pre-existing office politics, especially in a small office. The hiring process causes increased competition amongst workers, leading to potentially strained relationships and sour office politics if someone feels shafted by the company. Hiring externally may still leave some sour tastes, but it is unlikely to cause friction amongst people who previously got along well.
This isn’t to say there aren’t advantages to hiring from within, even in regards to office politics. If a clear front runner emerges, or there’s an obvious choice for a successor, the company culture may benefit from hiring within the company. An internal hire, who is already comfortable with the rest of the company employees, may command respect from fellow employees quicker than an outside hire. He/she can more easily navigate office politics, knowing who gets along and works well with each other from the get go.
When hiring a new employee, making the decision whether to promote someone from within or hire an outside candidate can make or break the overall hire. It’s the first, very necessary, step in the hiring process and one that will impact your office politics. Be sure to strongly consider all the options before making a decision either way.
Have you ever had to consider office politics before choosing how you fill a position? Share the experience in the comments!
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