Why Are Some Jobs Posted for Internal Applicants Only?

job posting section of newspaper
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Hiring managers sometimes post a job for internal applicants only. This means that only current employees can apply for the vacant position. There are a few reasons a hiring manager might choose to do this.

Why Hiring Managers Post Jobs Open Only to Internal Applicants

First, the hiring manager needs someone with particular organizational knowledge. For example, someone hiring a senior-level subject matter expert might limit applicants to current employees.

This would produce an applicant pool of junior-level subject matter experts and other current employees. The manager is likely to know almost all viable applicants. If the manager does not know them personally, the manager at least has an idea of their reputations around the office.

They Already Have Someone in Mind

Another reason a hiring manager might limit applicants is that he or she has one or a few people in mind for a position and does not want to spend time working through a large applicant pool. In government agencies, hiring managers cannot promote someone without allowing others to formally indicate their interest in the opportunity. Limiting the pool provides a legally defensible justification for excluding people from the hiring process.

It Saves Time

Hiring managers want to save time where they can. Posting to internal applicants can save time, but it can also come back to bite hiring managers.

A huge drawback to posting as internal only is how limited the applicant pool becomes. Hiring managers certainly exclude many people who could do the job satisfactorily. If they get an insufficient applicant pools, they might have to repost the positions, or they might force themselves into bad hires they wouldn’t otherwise make if they took their time.

They Want to Promote Current Employees

A fourth reason for limiting the applicant pool is to ensure a maximum number of promotional opportunities for current employees. An organization trying to do this would post most mid- and upper-level jobs as internal only and advertise entry-level jobs as open to all applicants. The organization would divert from this practice if a hiring manager foresees no viable candidates or has to repost a position after going through the hiring process with an internal applicant pool.

Sometimes internal postings are restricted to particular parts of an organization. For instance, a city might post a police detective position and restrict applicants to current city police officers. This would ensure that someone from within the police department would promote into the position through a competitive selection process. After the detective position is filled, the city would likely post the vacated police officer position to internal and external applicants. Doing this routinely means the police department makes a big assumption: that the department hires and retains police officers who have the aptitude to be detectives and then fill even higher ranks as they progress through their careers.

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