Promoting internal candidate mobility is now a big focus for many hiring organizations. And while prioritizing hiring from within makes sense strategically, it introduces a bigger downside to not getting the candidate experience right.
An absolute scarcity of candidates, along with the understanding that bad candidate experience comes with a cost, has resulted in unprecedented efforts in recent years to ensure candidates are treated with respect and come away from the talent acquisition process satisfied.
Now with quiet quitting, the great resignation, job ghosting and even layoffs for some industries, companies are focusing even more effort on retaining the right workers. This is where the internal candidate and internal mobility comes in. And positive candidate experience becomes even more important.
The Fragile Internal Candidate Experience
This focus on internal mobility walks a fine line. The idea is that organizations can minimize talent losses and increase company affinity by prioritizing internal recruiting. If you’re losing people to opportunities at other companies already, you might as well market jobs more heavily within the organization.
This strategy accepts that unemployment is still quite low and opportunities abound. If an internal candidate is restless, they would likely leave for another company anyway so the result is that even if you haven’t removed a vacancy, you have retained an employee.
This is a fragile framework.
It’s fragile because we know the cost of bad external candidate experience: Slower time to hire, higher cost per hire, lower quality of hire, potential lost revenue and more. We call this the cost of candidate resentment.
As organizations focus more on internal mobility, all those potential pitfalls are more likely to fall on valued employees instead of outsiders. This is all the more reason to make sure Talent Acquisition is monitoring candidate experiences so they can minimize any downside if an internal candidate is not communicated with properly, or if their time is disrespected, etc. In fact, even the simple process of rejection introduces a threat to retention if it is not properly handled.
Internal Mobility and Listening
The bottom line is that companies going all in on internal mobility need to minimize the damage to employee morale and attrition by monitoring and listening to the internal candidate. They also need to truly understand what is motivating the internally mobile candidate to move. Are they restless? Do they not have a good relationship with their manager? Have they outgrown their current position? Understanding these motivators makes targeting internal employees for jobs more effective and can uncover problems within the organization that could be causing attrition.
As for rejection, organizations focusing more on internal mobility will have more under qualified and under performing employees applying for jobs. How are rejected internal candidates treated and how does that affect their motivation going forward? How does this increased employee rejection affect an employer’s Glassdoor ratings and therefore their employer brand? How does the rejection process need to be tailored to the internal candidate to minimize downsides?
Luckily, a solid program of automatically gathering feedback from internal candidates can answer all of these questions. Pulsing the internal and external candidate throughout the hiring process allows organizations to use that feedback data to intervene when things go wrong. This data can also avoid future problems by optimizing hiring processes for both internal and external candidates to address the distinct needs and risks of each.
Going all in on internal mobility without having a solid internal candidate experience listening and optimization capability is a risky strategy at best.