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Internal Hires May Not Always Have the Inside Track

Internal Hires May Not Always Have the Inside Track
Credit: Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock

It's no secret that some employers have a strong preference for hiring from within. In the world's top organizations, it's nearly impossible to even land an interview, let alone a job, unless you're already involved in the company in some way. But are outside job seekers forever doomed to lose out to existing talent? Probably not.

New research from American Management Association (AMA) found that the majority of companies don't necessarily favor internal talent when filling open positions. More than half (55 percent) of respondents said their company has no overriding preference and acts according to shifting business needs, while 11 percent expect high turnover and recruit external candidates aggressively. Only 34 percent actively focus on developing and retaining current employees.

The AMA survey also found that 52 percent of companies say their employees are less loyal than they were five years ago. Sam Davis, vice president for AMA's customized consulting solutions, believes this relatively low percentage of companies with a strong internal hiring strategy could be the reason for lackluster loyalty.

"So many companies seem to discount internal candidates and just call a recruiter to fill an opening," Davis said in a statement. "But this sends an unfortunate signal to employees, who are usually eager for promotion and advancement."

In large organizations in particular, companies are more likely to base their hiring strategy on the business's current needs. Davis noted that human resources departments often put a priority on building internal talent, but managers who are involved in the day-to-day operations may call for an outside search to meet their requirements.

While employers' ambivalence about internal hires may be discouraging for professionals looking to advance, it's good news for job seekers who are looking for new opportunities. External recruitment is sometimes unavoidable, Davis said, such as when there are skills gaps that no internal candidate can fill, or when an infusion of outside expertise is needed. [4 Surefire Ways to Impress a Hiring Manager]

Regardless of whether you're looking to join a company from the outside or get promoted at your current employer, Davis said the most important thing you can do to improve your chances of landing the job is selling yourself as the perfect fit.

"[Potential or current] employees need to do their research and be able to present how their specific skills meet with a gap in the organization," Davis told Business News Daily. "It's even better if they can demonstrate how their skills will help to deliver on the organization's business objectives. That is how job seekers stand out."

Nicole Fallon

Nicole received her Bachelor's degree in Media, Culture and Communication from New York University. She began freelancing for Business News Daily in 2010 and joined the team as a staff writer three years later. Nicole served as the site's managing editor until January 2018, and briefly ran Business.com's copy and production team. Follow her on Twitter.