Hiring the Best

In recruitment, the question often arises about whether an internal candidate should be preferred over an external candidate.  In truth, qualified candidates-internal and external –should be considered and compared equally, at the same time.  Failure to include qualified internal candidates creates many problems for the hiring manager and those problems can persist for years throughout the employee ranks.

The operative term here is “qualified”.  Employees who aspire to promotions large and small must meet the same qualifications as are advertised for all candidates.  The process of comparing internal/external candidates can assure the internal candidate and their colleagues at the organization that one of their number was treated fairly and, if selected, they were clearly chosen because of their outstanding qualifications, not because of their incumbency.  In comparison with all others, this person was the best candidate, the most qualified.

The hiring decision is one of management’s most important decisions.  The process of recruitment is inherently discriminatory-discriminatory in that not all prospects or candidates will be chosen to move forward in the process.  That discrimination is to be based on competence and “fit” and those criteria cannot be sullied by any other form of discrimination.  Hiring managers must avoid preferences given to candidates because of their age, the name of their college or graduate school, their need to relocate, or any personal characteristic that is not directly relevant to their ability to successfully perform the duties of the job. Besides, many of these criteria are unimportant in predicting performance.   Clearly, all laws about discrimination should be observed as should the ethical expectations of the hiring organization, the industry, and society.

The fiduciary responsibility of the hiring organization-and its principals-mandates that the best candidate be chosen.  Experience, education, maturity, skills and references all figure into the process.

The hiring and selection processes are not easy.  The importance of recruitment dictates due diligence, wide publicity for leadership opportunities, and serious, hard work by all involved.  The fruits of such diligence are sweet and long lasting for all.  The fruits of a bad hire are also well known.

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