This is part three of our five-part series about effective recruiting in a candidate driven market.
By: Edna Nakamoto and Jessica Barrett
In part two of our five-part series on recruiting, we took a look at resources, strategies and processes. We’ve already briefly touched on the topic of internal screening, but today, we’re going to further unpack this important topic.
All too often, as soon as an employee gives notice that they are leaving, organizations quickly post the open role to fill the vacancy as soon as possible. It’s a natural reaction as losing someone means lost productivity, lost revenue, and a heavier workload for their colleagues. However, taking a step back and examining your current talent pool may prove to be the best first option.
Importance of Internal Screening
Rather than immediately looking externally to find your next new hire, first, start with your existing talent pool. There are several reasons you’ll want to begin from within.
Retention – Most companies sell advancement opportunities while they’re recruiting new talent. If you really intend to offer that, you need to follow through and do it. Far too often, employees are leaving because they found their next promotion outside of your organization. With the high cost of turnover being what it is, no one can afford to lose employees, especially when it’s within your power to retain them. Keeping your current employees challenged by moving them up or out into new roles is one of the best ways to keep them from moving on, and to also help avoid burnout for high volume and high turnover jobs.
Time to Productivity – Speaking of productivity, a brand new employee has a much longer learning curve than a seasoned associate. The time-of-hire to time-to-productivity metrics are drastically reduced, especially at a higher level, in those associates who already know your organization.
Culture Fit – Where better to find someone who is a cultural fit, both from a values and behaviors perspective than those folks who are already working for you? Employees who have already proven themselves to be a great company fit have valuable intellectual capital you don’t want to lose.
Successful Succession Planning
No matter the size of your organization, succession planning is important. Let’s take a look at some of the most important things to consider as you develop your internal talent.
Part of Recruiting Strategy – One of the most critical parts of a solid recruiting strategy is having a plan in place for keeping tough-to-fill roles filled. The best way to do that, is to have a plan to continuously train and develop internal employees to be ready to step into those positions when they become available.
Clear Career Path – It’s disheartening to lose employees because they found their next opportunity elsewhere, simply because they didn’t realize your company had anything they could move in to. Consider creating clear career paths for each role in your organization, so that employees can see the natural path they could be working toward. Also, make sure your associates know of roles they could move in to that are actually lateral moves, but that will equip them with a new set of skills that may take them where they want to go in the long run. Broaden their knowledge by planning job rotations, sharing more knowledge of the company and more knowledge of processes they aren’t currently familiar with.
Training and Mentorship – Identify those skill sets and skill gaps that exist within your company, and see if you can’t marry the two with existing talent. For those skill gaps you can’t fill internally, it may be time to go outside. However, for those that exist within the company, make sure you have the right people in the right roles. Additionally, train internal employees in the areas where they need development. Investing in your associates in this way can go a long way in retaining them, while rounding out your organization. If you don’t already have a mentor program, consider adopting one where more experienced employees spend time with employees looking to grow into a similar role one day.
Technology – There is a lot of technology on the market today that helps companies track their employees’ skills, experience, education, and career goals. In addition, you can use applicant tracking systems like The Applicant Manager (TAM) to do advanced boolean and keyword searches and view resumes. This can be tied to employees’ performance reviews and individual development plans to make sure that each associate’s succession plan is clear for both the manager and the employee.
As you look to make internal screening a critical part of your recruiting strategy, it’s important to have a process in place. Some companies simultaneously post a new vacancy internally and externally, while some companies have a policy where they’ll post an opening internally only for a designated amount of time, before moving the search outside. It may be advantageous to ask both internal and external candidates to apply through the same process so that they have equal opportunity to provide information. Sometimes we pigeon hole internal applicants based upon what we think we know of them, but how many managers actually remember or know what an internal applicant’s full experience is? Asking them to apply internally gives them the opportunity to pitch themselves and update their background based upon the relevant work they’ve done. Whichever way you determine works best for your organization, be sure that your process is consistent.
Internal interviews should be conducted similarly to external interviews in that the interview process should include questions targeting the core competencies required for the position. The only thing the internal interview will need to focus on a little less is organizational culture fit. You’ll still need to assess the associate to make sure they’re a fit for the team they’ll be moving in to. One of the advantages to internal interviews is that the new hiring manager can gather performance feedback from the existing manager, as well as gain access to the employees’ performance reviews, all solid indicators as to how this person may perform in their new role.
Looking to your internal talent pool is a great way to improve retention and save on recruiting costs, while maintaining productivity levels. Sometimes, however, in an effort to close skills gaps or infuse new ideas into your organization, it is necessary to go outside. Next time, look for Part Four of our Five-Part series on recruiting as we discuss external assessment tools related to the recruiting process.
To learn more about how TAM can assist you in creating a quality candidate experience, contact us today!