Hiring Internally vs. Externally


When a company has a new job position to fill, they can face the following dilemma: hiring internally vs externally. Internal recruitment can have multiple advantages, especially with regard to the engagement and morale of employees. At the same time, hiring externally can also bring in a fresh perspective. There is also the possibility to select from a larger pool of candidates.

This article will discuss hiring internally vs externally. As a company expands, it is clear that its needs for employees will also expand. So there is always an expectation for hiring externally. However, we are going to show that there are multiple pros and cons of both hiring internally vs externally.

What is Internal Recruitment? What is External Recruitment?


Internal recruitment refers to a company filling a job role by choosing from one of the existing employees.

If you want to find out all there is to know to ace your internal interview, we have compiled the ultimate guide for you, available on our blog-HR.

By contrast, external recruitment refers to a company filling a job vacancy by choosing from candidates outside the company. The company itself, or third party collaborators, such as recruitment agencies or headhunters, manage the recruitment process.

Regardless of how they fill job positions – hiring internally vs externally – employers have to aid new hires in their transition to a new role. When employees step for the first time in an organisation, they have to participate in preboarding and onboarding. Meanwhile, employees who are changing job positions will have to participate in a crossboarding process. You can read more about crossboarding on our blog HR.


Pros and Cons of Hiring Internally vs Externally


In order to investigate when do companies prefer to hire internally vs. externally, we have compiled a list of pros and cons of hiring internally vs externally. As this list will show, there are advantages and disadvantages associated with both strategies.

Evaluating the pros and cons of hiring internally vs externally can help you answer the question of why do companies prefer to hire internally. Or, if there are circumstances when an organisation should strive to hire externally only.




It can cost as much as 6-times more to hire from the outside than to build from within the organisation. This the conclusion of Josh Bersin, industry leader and HR analyst.

The cost per hire for external candidates is higher than for internal candidates. Firstly, there is less expenditure on job boards or sourcing expenses. Moreever, there will be no expenses for pre & onboarding the employee.

Secondly, new employees are more expensive for companies because of the learning curve associated with onboarding. New employees cannot be as productive as tenured employees. They initially lack a full understanding of the company and its processes.


Knowledge & Understanding of Culture


It is obvious that when crossboarding to a new role or department, you will preserve the knowledge and understanding of culture. You gathered everything from the very moment of signing the contract. Your Pre & Onboarding and daily work experiences are also crucial.

As an internal recruit you have a clear advantage. You understood the organisational culture and developed skills adapted to the organisational needs.




The speed of filling a position is much lower in case of internal recruitment. Think, for example, of the processes of background checking, gathering documentation for setting up the taxes, pension, insurance etc. All of these occurred the first time you joined the company.

Speed to full productivity is definitely linked to gaining a full understanding of business culture and “how things are done.” So, unsurprisingly, internal hires have the advantage of knowing the company culture, its tools, methodologies and formal and informal practices.

Organisational knowledge is something that takes a while to be grasp. You need time to fully understand and then to fully apply it in your day-to-day work.


Employee Engagement


Once you fully immerse yourself in a company, its culture and its mission, you will feel that you belong. Consequently, you will be more prone to remain in a long-lasting employment relationship.

Long-term employee life-cycles are beneficial for both yourself and your employer. To keep you inside the organisation for the long term, your employer will be more prone to invest in developing your skills. This leads to your professional development and to a raised productive output. All of this contributes to your engagement with and commitment to the company.

“Hiring internally also increases engagement. And folks tend to refer others more frequently when their own career has grown within the organization.” These are the highlights of Daniel Sonsino, Founder at Guia Consulting and former VP of Talent Management.

Hiring Internally vs Externally Insights

Hiring internally increases engagement. And folks tend to refer others more frequently when their own career has grown within the organization.

—Daniel Sonsino, Founder at Guia Consulting and former VP of Talent Management.

Employer Value Proposition and Employee Morale


An employer that commits to helping and guiding employees up their career ranks, benefits from a positive employer branding. Rewards to devoted and capable employees, and better career prospects and continuous upskilling will motivate you. Also, you will be more prone to recommend the employer to friends and family.

A culture founded on constant improvement contributes to an increased morale of the entire workforce.


Success Rate


Hiring externally can always be a gamble. Although companies spend time and resources in finding the best match for a job, nothing can guarantee a successful hire. Will the new hire be someone that adapts, learns, integrates and contributes fast?

Data from CCI Consulting suggests that poor cultural fit, rather than lack of competencies or skills, plays a greater part in why new hires leave companies.

Hiring Internally vs Externally Insights

Poor cultural fit, rather than lack of competencies or skills, plays a greater part in why new hires leave companies.

—CCI Consulting.

This is the reason why introdus focuses so much on Preboarding and Onboarding. Structured Pre & Onboarding Programmes mitigate the risk of losing new employees. This is due to the fact that they strategically address both the practical needs of a new hire, and their social and emotional needs. Pre & Onboarding must make employees feel at home in their new companies.

Additionally, when deciding between hiring internally vs externally, internal hires have a competitive advantage. The company is already familiar with their performance to date. There is also awareness of their future potential.

Furthermore, companies already have information on the work ethic of internal candidates. They have already proved their professionalism and their competence.



A landmark study published on The Effects of External Hiring versus Internal Mobility concluded that employees promoted from within the organization had a significantly better performance in their first two years than external hires.

Additionally, the study revealed that external hires were 61% more likely to be fired from their new jobs. Meanwhile, internal hires were promoted faster and had lower rates of voluntary and involuntary exit. Hence, performance on the job is an indicator for the success of the hiring process.

Hiring Internally vs Externally Insights

External hires are 61% more likely to be fired from their new jobs. Meanwhile, internal hires are promoted faster and have lower rates of voluntary and involuntary exit.

—Matthew Bidwell.

Missing Expertise & Diversity of Candidates

Internal recruitment can provide a great strategy for companies with a substantial workforce. However, for many smaller companies, this might simply not be an option. The company might be small enough that it simply misses the expertise specific for the new job vacancy.

In this context, external recruiting ensures accessing a large pool of talented candidates. There is always the potential to find a rock star for the organisation. This would be someone that is just perfect for the organisational needs and its objectives.


Potential for Innovation

Bringing in new employees, who have gathered considerable experience from other workplaces, means also a boost of new and fresh ideas. Sometimes, an external candidate has an outlook that is completely different. Their outlook is not influenced by the routines that more tenured employees might have developed. Outsiders are not enmeshed in any organisational politics that might render them unproductive.


Filling one Vacancy, but Creating a New One

When a company uses internal candidates to fill up a job position, they are automatically creating new vacancies. So, for example, if a technical team leader is promoted to CTO, the company will need to fill up the newly vacated technical team leader position. And they promote a senior engineer as a technical team leader, then the company needs a new senior engineer.

Thus, external hiring is convenient because it fills one vacancy without creating another. Whereas, internal hiring creates a cascade of new vacancies within the job hierarchy.


Hiring Internally vs. Externally: Conclusions


To conclude, the pros and cons of hiring internally vs externally should, of course, be placed in the specific circumstances of each organisation. It is not absurd that an organization would hire externally when its own pool of talents is very small. For example, a small organisation would never be able to have access to the same human capital resources as a multinational corporation.

However, the growth and development which can be put in motion by an internal recruitment strategy can produce many positive outcomes for that company.

Generally speaking, employees respond really well to growth possibilities within a company. It makes you feel like you always have space for development, that there is acknowledgement and rewards for your efforts. It will make you feel more prone to refer potential candidates to the company.

Companies invest considerable resources for filling up job vacancies. Especially with regards to external recruitment, they spend a lot of capital for finding the right person for filling a job position. And oftentimes these companies think that filling the position is the finish line of the recruitment race. But for us at introdus, signing the contract is only the beginning of the new hire journey.

Pre & Onboarding Summit Insights

My dream is that we invest the same time and energy that we use for finding the right employee to help the new employee have a good start.

—Anders Thorup, Pre & Onboarding Specialist.

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introdus, employee onboarding software is committed to help employees taking new job roles excel at their new jobs. Regardless if you are in the pre & onboarding stage in the company for the very first time, or if you are crossboarding to a new role, introdus has got you covered.

Achieve success regardless if hiring externally vs internally with structured Pre & Onboarding Software.


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