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Promote From Within or Look to the Outside: Part Two

In part one, we examined the value of promoting from within. Now we take a look at the benefits of looking to the outside.

December 6, 2007
Sponsored by Spherion Professional Services
by Brendan Courtney, senior vice president, Professional Services Group

Last month, we tackled the inevitable challenge that confronts all employers in the corporate finance world at one time or another: a key employee leaves and you’re stuck with the challenge of finding a replacement. We specifically broached the sensitive but crucial question that must be asked and answered each time — will you look within the company for the best candidate to replace the departed employee or will you go outside the company for external help to recruit and hire the ideal replacement?

In the previous article, we examined the value of promoting from within. This month, we will explore the benefits of looking to the outside and offer some practical suggestions for how to navigate the decision-making process that leads you to the right decision each time.

Looking to the Outside

Unfortunately, the fact is that there will be instances for any company — from the small retail business to the international corporation — when the talent simply does not exist inside their organization to fill the vacancy created by the departure of a key employee. In these cases, it becomes necessary to look outside the company and hire a new employee.

There are no guarantees when it comes to hiring, but employers can improve their success rate by first understanding the difference between hiring “good” people and hiring the “right” people. The key is to remove as much emotion from the process as possible and instead rely on proven assessment tools in the evaluation of candidates.

After employers go through the interview process, all of the principal parties involved in making the hiring decision should meet to discuss each candidate’s qualifications. The meeting should include an open discussion of who they liked, who they didn’t like and who they feel is most qualified for the job. These sorts of feelings are inherently emotional and personal, but too many employers make the mistake of letting these personal feelings become the dominant — or even exclusive — consideration in making hiring decisions.

Hiring decisions will always be partly emotional, but an important strategy to help find the right person for the job is to try to remove as much emotion from the process as possible. One way to do this is to use objective assessment tools, such as behavioral and personality profiles. These kinds of tools give employers an objective look at the candidates without all of the fuzzy considerations that can blur your judgment.

It’s important to hire someone you like, but it’s more important to hire the right qualified person to get the job done.

If You Engage a Recruiter

Even if an employer decides to look outside of their organization to fill a vacant position, they may find it very difficult to find the right needle in the haystack of candidates. The problem is that great-looking resumes can be sent in from average candidates and the most qualified candidates can actually emerge from mediocre-looking resumes.

Many employers choose to engage a recruiter to help them navigate this maze. A recruiter’s job is to be a consultant to you during the hiring process so that you can focus your time and energies on finding the right talent fit for the position you’re seeking to fill. Your recruiter will identify, evaluate and narrow the field down to the best three or four candidates for you to consider.

If you engage the help of a recruiting firm, make sure to select one with a proven track record of success in your specific industry. Ask them to provide you with references before you engage their services.

In the end, remember that the success of your organization is directly connected to the quality of the employees that you recruit, hire, train and promote. Any employer would be well-served to get as much assistance as possible to find the right talent to help the company succeed for the long haul.

For more information visit Spherion Professional Services.

Brendan A.J. Courtney, Senior Vice President & Group Executive, Professional Services Group, Spherion Corporation. Brendan Courtney serves as senior vice president and group executive of professional services for Spherion Corporation (NYSE:SFN).