When you’re considering your application for a new role, do you consider the possibility of internal applicants applying for the role too?
As an external candidate make sure you’re not being lined up as ‘column fodder’. i.e. filling the numbers – allowing the hiring manager to tick all of the boxes including merely benchmarking internal options.
If you’re truly objective about your decision to apply for a new role, firstly you’ll have undertaken exhaustive research and – assuming you still want to apply, you’ll consider as many scenarios as possible in your bid to win the role. Included in your list of scenarios will be the possibility of an internal candidate and being up against a ‘known’ quantity. Potentially a ‘no win’ selection process.
I’ll quote a recent example. A very senior exec ($300k+ pa) applied for a role and, in the end was the only external candidate considered. Following an exhaustive psych testing process (not a great experience but none-the-less exceptional results) and an exemplary interview (personally called by the CEO and congratulated) the role went to an internal candidate. Whilst the external candidate ticked all the boxes the CEO went for the ‘known’ quantity – an internal candidate.
Was the decision already made prior to interview? Only the CEO will know that. But what it tells us is that candidates need to be cognisant of all the facts and be clear that they are in with a real chance before proceeding too far down the track.
- Hiring managers – particularly in large organisations, must be seen to be adhering to company policy regarding the appointment of a new hire.
- The hiring process may include a compulsory external search before appointing an existing employee. Sometimes it’s called ‘benchmarking’. It’s also good practice.
- The hiring manager may already have their preferred candidate lined up and on the hook – a person they already ‘know and trust’ and they believe can do the role.
Qualify the Opportunity
To qualify the opportunity in or out it is important that external candidates ask the following questions:
- What are the reasons for recruiting this role?
- Is the role open to internal and external candidates?
- What is the hiring manager looking for – specifically from external candidates that they believe doesn’t exist within their current internal skillset?
- What are the weightings for each competency / skill set – and how do you compare?
- What is it about my experience that the hiring manager / search consultant thinks makes me a strong candidate for this role over internal candidates? (Internal candidates may ask the same question over external candidates).
There are many other questions – those are just a few to get your mind working for starters.
The important point is that you need to consider the opportunity as objectively as possible without fear of asking the hard questions. If you’re sure it’s right – then position yourself smartly.
The alternative is not good – wasted time and cost, along with a whole heap of emotion and frustration. Frankly – you don’t need the distraction or the emotional roller coaster right now, do you?
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