Should you promote from within... or hire externally?

3 minute read


An important position at your organisation becomes vacant and it’s your task to find the replacement. Will it be an internal hire, or someone new from outside the business?

The source of talent you choose has consequences (good or bad). Therefore, it’s important to know when to look outside or when to promote from within.

In this blog, we talk about the positives and negatives of each approach, and how Winsborough can help you select a winning candidate in either case.

Promoting a current employee

Your existing workforce could be a goldmine waiting to be tapped. Hiring from within comes with a number of key benefits:

  1. It raises the morale of your workforce.

    With a promotion, you reward an employee for work they’ve done right. The candidate’s peers will appreciate the fact such rewards are possible. While some competitiveness can arise, selecting from inside the camp often helps create a performance-oriented culture.

  2. It encourages employees to stay and perform.

    Employees see that advancement is possible in your company when you hire from within. This encourages loyalty and retention, even when tempting opportunities from outside the business arise. But beware that promoting an employee often means leaving the former post empty, necessitating yet another hire or internal promotion, and so on...creating a catch-22.

  3. You can better predict the performance of staff you already know.

    When you hire from outside, you’re making an educated guess that it will go well. The prospect’s future behaviour and functional skill remain an open question.

    When you select an employee you have a relationship with, though you miss out on a fresh ‘outsider’ perspective, there’s established trust and less guesswork. You likely have a fairly strong and reliable instinct about how they will perform. 

Hiring from outside

Bringing in someone new for a high-stakes position has its risks, but high potential rewards. Hiring externally has distinct advantages:


  1. Fresh blood comes with new ideas.

    Any corporate culture can become insular and stagnant over time. A new hire can bring unique insights and approaches to the table, which might increase the efficiency of the daily flow of business.

    CVs and interviews often don’t reveal an innovative perspective, so it's possible to come up relatively empty with a new recruit. Even so, the right person, especially for management or executive leadership, can breathe new life into the company and the teams he or she will lead.

  2. There are more prospects to choose from.

    Your current workforce might harbour amazing talent, but it’s a limited resource. You can tap into a much broader field by widening your options.

    Finding a new hire via job listings and recruitment efforts can be a drain on time, money and human resources. But sometimes, looking outside is the only way to fill a job demanding the highest levels of skill and experience.

  3. There’s less infighting and jealousy.

    It’s common on the corporate scene: some employees feel resentful when a peer ‘gets ahead’ of them. Hiring externally can put this to rest.

    A new hire may or may not adapt to the organisational culture quickly (or at all). But since they’re from outside, it can quell the envy that often brews when staff members ascend to power over and above their colleagues.


How Winsborough can help

Hiring is a risk, any way you slice it. But Winsborough can be your partner to help make outstanding personnel selections, whether from inside or outside.

If you choose to recruit talent from the outside, we offer a range of tools for evaluating a candidates’ fit within your culture, as well as their personality, skills and prospects for success in leadership. Our psychometric tests, executive coaching, and impartial in-person analyses will reveal whether a candidate has the right stuff for an influential job.

If you’re promoting internally, we can help develop your firm's own standout talent into great leaders. Using insights from personality assessment and one-on-one consultations, we instil self-awareness and strategic thinking in potential leaders. In this way, we prepare them to bring their teams - and your whole organisation - to higher levels of success.

Whether you’re looking to source talent from outside or choose from within (or you’re wrestling between the two options), Winsborough is ready to help. Talk to us today.