Risks & Rewards of Applying for Internally Posted Job Opportunities
Many companies have a policy of posting available positions internally prior to seeking candidates in the open market. There are many advantages to this policy for both the organization and current employees. For employers, hiring from within can save time and money (i.e., recruiting fees). Additionally, the company already knows the potential internal candidate, lowering the risks of hiring a seemingly qualified candidate that was better at interviewing than actually performing the job at hand.
Recruiting from within the organization also shows employees that they have opportunities for growth within the company, helping to minimize the loss of quality workers that may feel unimportant or otherwise stagnant in their current role. Employees that are bored or generally not satisfied in their position are a clear flight risk.
It is common knowledge that training new hires is far more expensive and time consuming than training current employees.
So why not hire/promote from within? For one thing, it generally leaves a resource gap in the employee’s previous position. Stealing from Peter to feed Paul, as they say. For another, it can create animosity with the worker’s current co-workers, who may feel overlooked or forced to take on their colleague’s former responsibilities.
Depending on the organization’s policies and practices, there could be a serious professional risk for the potential internal candidate. What will the worker’s current supervisor think about their direct report seeking new opportunities, in another department or business unit? Could their manager effectively blackball the candidate in order to save their good worker? What happens to the employee/manager relationship then?
Could there even be a question about the employee’s dedication to the company? If she/he is not satisfied in their current job, maybe they won’t be satisfied in the new role either?
Does applying for a promotion or lateral move internally signal anything at all about the employee’s loyalty, general satisfaction, or frankly anything other than simple interest in a possible job change? There is no simple answer to this question. But there are actions the employee can take to circumvent the risks. When there is interest in a new internal job posting, the prospective candidate should do the following:
- Alert their supervisor in advance of applying and explain their interest in the possible change. Give positive reasons only. Any manager worth their salt will understand and provide encouragement. They will also respect the fact that you demonstrated respect for them. And you will likely need their recommendation.
- Fully understand the potential new role and be certain you are ostensibly a good fit. Applying to too many job posts without success creates a red flag for HR and all involved.
- Do your homework and take nothing for granted.
- If possible, quietly try to find out who else is applying. That will provide clues as to your chances of landing the job.
- Speak positively about your current position, and make it clear that if not offered the job, you are perfectly happy continuing in that position.
- Fly under radar. The less your colleagues know about your pursuit, the better. There is nothing worse than a jealous co-worker that may attempt to torpedo your opportunity. Sadly, this happens more than you think.
- Regardless of whether you win the job, be gracious to everyone you encountered during the interview and selection process.
Hopefully, as you may now recognize, applying to internal job posts should not be considered without forethought. There are certainly positive ramifications, but also negatives as well. Understanding both and preparing appropriately can only help advance your career, while maintaining a strong professional relationship with your employer.