Comparing Internal vs. External Recruiting Methods

June 10, 2020
Posted in Hiring
June 10, 2020 Lauren

Comparing Internal vs. External Recruiting Methods

According to a 2019 Gartner survey, organizations worldwide said a talent shortage is a rising risk.

A talent shortage complicates an already time-consuming recruiting effort. Some companies share that their average time-to-hire can take up to 30 days—this is after a candidate has been chosen.

Nevertheless, recruiting is a crucial part of creating substantial growth for your organization. So, how can you adapt your recruiting methods to hire faster?

Finding the right recruiting method can streamline your process.

Because your talent needs are unique, your recruiting process must be as unique to produce the best results. While there are numerous types of recruiting that exist, the two main categories that any methods fall into are internal vs. external recruiting.

We’ve taken a closer look at internal and external recruiting below. Keep reading to learn recruiting methods, advantages, and how you can choose the best option for your search.

Internal vs. External Recruiting Methods

Before we dive into recruitment methods, let’s briefly define internal and external recruitment.

Internal recruitment refers to the process of hiring within your organization.

Conversely, external recruitment refers to the process of recruiting candidates that exist outside of your organization.

Internal Recruitment Methods

Internal recruitment prioritizes talent searches within your organization.

Depending on the role that you need to fill, your search can be entirely internal.

Let’s say you have a leadership position open up in your company. Some internal recruitment methods that you could use to fill this role include promotions and transfers.


The process’s effectiveness will depend on the structures you have at your company. There are a few ways you can execute a promotion. 

Some companies have prerequisites for an employee to be eligible for a promotion. Depending on their role, this can include professional development strategies they must complete or certifications they must obtain.

This promotion method takes advantage of a preexisting promotional path.


Transferring an employee from one department to another can be similar to promoting an employee. Unlike promotion, however, an employee may not need to meet prerequisites.

If an employee in another department has desired skills, then you might consider transferring them.

Before making the transfer, consider how it may impact both departments and if the new role is appropriate for the employee.

External Recruitment Methods

External recruitment methods prioritize finding candidates outside of your existing worker base.

Let’s use the same example of an open leadership role. Various external recruitment methods can help you search for your ideal leader.

Partnering with a search firm

Many companies partner with a staffing firm to recruit candidates externally. However, this method is not limited to just external recruiting. Internal and external recruiting methods can benefit from a skilled staffing agency.

There are also numerous types of staffing agencies that work for external recruiting efforts. Two major types of firms are retained and contingency search firms.

The biggest difference between retained and contingency search firms is payment. Each search firm has its criteria for the fees paid and when they’re paid.  

Another type of firm to consider for external recruiting is recruitment process outsourcing or RPO firms. These firms take on all of a company’s recruiting efforts.

Using social media

As technology continues to change how companies work, the use of technology in recruiting has become more prominent.

A prime example of this is the use of social media for external recruitment methods. On social media, you can find people by looking at certain industry topics.

Let’s look at Twitter as an example. By searching for trending topics in your industry, you’ll find potential candidates interested in or discuss those topics.

Other platforms include LinkedIn and discussion forum websites.

Internal vs. External Recruiting Advantages

There are advantages and disadvantages to consider between internal vs. external recruiting methods.

Some advantages may be more critical to your search than others. So, keep your search goals in mind when reading the advantages of internal and external methods.

Internal Recruitment Advantages

A significant advantage of internal recruitment is the knowledge of your candidate.

When compared to an external hire, an internal hire will have more experience and knowledge of your company because they already work for you.

This existing knowledge can be extremely beneficial for quickly filling leadership positions. You can streamline the onboarding process because you know what information an internal candidate does and doesn’t already know.

Also, internal recruiting can boost employee engagement.

The potential for promotion can improve employee engagement and provide a genuine way to pursue professional development.

Professional development and promotion can also improve employee retention because employees have a reason to remain at your company to advance professionally.

External Recruitment Advantages

There are multiple advantages to external recruiting, especially when a company is looking to expand its services.

External recruiting allows you to find a candidate who possesses skills your company lacks. Additionally, by expanding your network, you are actively recruiting new perspectives, which can benefit a growing company.

Another advantage is that this method allows you to work on your employer brand. This is especially true when using the recruiting process of finding leads on social media.

With an actively maintained employer brand, you become more attractive to potential candidates by showing them why they want to work for you.

Choosing the Right Recruitment Method

When comparing internal vs. external recruiting, choosing the right method depends on the needs of your search. These needs can be defined by the role you’re trying to fill or the organizational goal that you want to achieve.

Are you looking for a leader who knows your culture and structure to keep their team aligned with your vision? Or, are you looking to broaden your horizons by adding a new perspective to your team with a uniquely qualified candidate?

Determining what you’re looking for from your ideal candidate can help you narrow down what method will work best for you.

If you’re still unsure how to conduct your search, you can always consult a staffing agency for guidance.

As we mentioned before, staffing agencies like TruPath are great partners for both internal and external recruiting efforts. Whether you enlist them to take on your recruiting process or need a skilled consultant, TruPath’s team can help.

TruPath’s team can construct a personalized staffing solution for clients by prioritizing what makes your company unique.

Additionally, TruPath provides consulting services throughout the recruiting process. That means its team is there when you start your search through your onboarding process. In the end, TruPath ensures that the candidates a client receives are culturally aligned with their company and are ready to boost a client’s success from day one.

Are you weighing the pros and cons of internal vs. external recruiting?

Contact the team at TruPath and receive its team’s expert consulting advice to kickstart a successful talent search today.