Experts POol


Sometimes a bird in the hand is not better than two in the bush. An organization seeks the best possible talent in order to create competitive barriers or deliver world class products and services.

When an opportunity arises to recruit for an open position it is possible that an internal candidate may be one viable option. When hiring internally, this option is weighed against an external search. It can sometimes seem cost effective or a fast solution to an open position. After all, the internal candidate knows the culture, has demonstrated success in his or her functional area, and hiring somebody we know minimizes our risk of making a mistake. Or does it?

Even when there is a potentially viable internal candidate, there are significant benefits of going to search. For example, search allows you to gain an understanding of the marketplace and talent within your space. It can also serves as a tool in benchmarking the internal candidate against that of the competition or the open market.

Meeting with external candidates can be the equivalent of entertaining strangers. Meeting with candidates that do not know your culture forces the hiring manager to sharpen the messaging related to the reasons somebody might want to work for your organization. And because external candidates are likely to ask a lot of questions such as what success looks like in the role; investing in an external search virtually forces the hiring manager to articulate the vision for the role and create measurable requirements that might otherwise be overlooked.

A properly constructed search process also provides an excellent professional development tool for hiring managers and search committees. Revisiting and defining the organization’s mission and core values is an excellent exercise and can provide confidence in the decisions of day to day management.

In the end, your internal candidate may result in the best hire for the position but you can be assured that the perspective gained in the process will serve you well not only in understanding the talent but also the potential areas of professional development for the selected employee.

Rose IanelliRose Spano Iannelli is a founding partner at Spano Pratt Executive Search, one of the leading privately held search firms in the Midwest. She can be reached at



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