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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2007

    Default Internal recruitment challenges!

    Hi fellow HR buzzers

    I'm after a bit of advice regarding internal recruitment. It's actually for a friend who is in a new management role (not HR) and he needs to recruit someone internally for an "acting" position. It is however a very important role and neither my friend nor his employer can afford to have the wrong person in the job.

    The problem is that there are some internal candidates who are likely to apply whom he feels are not suited to the position for a variety of reasons. He is quite sure that these people are likely to demand to know why they were not appointed.

    My friend also does not want to waste time interviewing people whom he already knows he doesn’t want to appoint.

    The organisation's recruitment processes have been rather hap-hazzard in the past and to be frank the HR dept seems to be ineffective where recruitment is concerned, (it's an environment where HR doesn't have much clout!)

    I'm therefore helping him develop a more rigorous approach to interviewing with a view to conducting a transparent and objective process.

    My suggestion so far has been to clearly define selection criteria and competencies and to create a set of largely pre-scripted behavioural interview questions that will be used with each candidate so that comparisons between candidates are objective.

    I have also suggested that each candidate be required to submit a formal application addressing the selection criteria.

    I would be interested to hear any views on this approach or any other ideas people may have.

    Also, would you interview all candidates given that they will all be internal? (it's a private sector organisation).


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Melbourne, Australia


    Your advice to your friends, all sounds like you are on the right track.

    If your fiend has employees whom he thinks will apply and are not suitable, the best thing for him to do is make sure he has specific selection criteria and he works by this criteria.

    Whether the position is internal or external, my personal preference is that they apply like they are applying for another position - resume, cover letter, etc. They still need to be selling themselves against the other internal applicants that would apply.

    If the internal candidates do not fit the selection criteria, I would have a conversation with them letting them know that they do not fit the criteria so will not be going ahead with an interview. Candidates that meet the criteria should then be interviewed using rated interview questions.

    Hope this helps.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Newcastle, NSW


    Hi Sonya,

    In addition to the competency based interview format, you could consider using psychometric testing as a means of objective comparison of candidates; ie percentile score comparisons and relevant job competency profiling/matching. The tools used by org psych's (like myself) are another legally defensible way to screen and select candidates. The testing could be done either pre or post interview to add additional weight to the selection process. At the very least, unsuccessful candidates can get feedback from the psych on their results and use the process as a development tool with transparency all round.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009


    Hi Sonya yes you are on the right track and I would also suggest psychometric testing so that your friend can make a much more informed decision hire...I only have an additional suggestion: to increase the transparency of the recruitment process your friend could do the first interview to assess potential candidates and a second interview with another manager or both together to make final selection. It is always harder with internal recruitment, however at the end of the day you want to recruit the most suitable person for the role.

    Good luck!!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007


    Thanks for all the input, it's much appreciated.

    I also feel that psych testing could be a useful tool in this process, but unfortunately my friend believes it is unlikely that he could get agreement to use it in time for this recruitment task, given that the organisation have never used it before.

    As for getting another manager involved, it has already been decided that a more senior manager will be involved in the process, but I gather they are hoping to do only one round of interviews given that they already know all the candidates.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2010


    Wow, Sonya. Looks like your friend is in for some tough learning times and needs some tough love too. You have raised a number of issues in your query that he will need to face firstly by looking in the mirror.

    Why does your friend feel that the people who have put their hand up not warrant the role? It is easy to feel prejudice for a person you have worked with and have little understanding of their true skills and experience, particularly when you have never had to manage that person. Beware of potential discrimination here.

    Feedback? Of course every internal candidate deserves feedback as to why they have not been successful for a role. As a competent manager, he should be able to sit down with each of them and discuss their performance in interview, and where they could develop so they could be considered next time the position is available. This is best done with the person’s current manager so they can actually put it in their development plan. HR can show him how to do this properly.

    Regarding his HR team, it is very easy for an inexperienced and inefficient manager to label HR as unhelpful. HR is not there to have ‘clout’, they are there to partner and support the business. They will absolutely have a solution for your friend if he takes the time to sit down with them, discuss what he is trying to achieve and ask for their advice on the best way to reach their desired outcome.

    As above, working out a matrix of the skills you are looking to assess – through behavioural interview, exercise – could be in-tray / work or knowledge test etc is the way to gain full understand of all applicants both internal and external. This will also provide the basis of the feedback for your friend to give those unsuccessful candidates. You never know, one of them may surprise him when presented with a true and unbiased selection decision.

    If there are many internal applicants, you can try shortlisting through technical exercise first so that only a few will go through to the interview stages. This is the only fair and reasonable way to do it.

    The questions raised here are not looking for a response, they are simply stated to have your friend reflect on his approach to the situation. I would absolutely advise caution to him continuing on his current recruitment path and think it is appropriate to have a more senior manager with him, in the interviews on this occasion.

    It sounds like your friend is attempting to ‘cop-out’ of what is a very important role of being a manager – recruitment, retention and talent management. By trying to blame others ie HR he is simply showing his lack of experience. I would suggest the best advice you could give him would be to step up, admit he doesn’t know everything and ask for help from the people who are there to support him.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007


    Josie thanks for your input.

    Quote Originally Posted by josie View Post
    Why does your friend feel that the people who have put their hand up not warrant the role?
    It's not "people" it's a specific person, whom I understand is widely considered to be immature, domineering, aggressive at times (when things don't go his way), not a team player, has poor professional dress and language and is feared would be a liability in an important client facing role.

    Last time this person failed to secure a similar position in the organisation he confronted the person who did get the job and demanded to know "why the f#*! did she get the job over him?"

    It is easy to feel prejudice for a person you have worked with and have little understanding of their true skills and experience, particularly when you have never had to manage that person. Beware of potential discrimination here.
    My friend has worked in close proximity to this person for several years and he is already in a dotted line report in a different type of role (non client facing).

    There are times when it is very clear that a candidate is not suitable for a role without having to interview them to find out. This is one of those times.

    Regarding his HR team, it is very easy for an inexperienced and inefficient manager to label HR as unhelpful.
    Sorry, perhaps I should have been clearer. Although my friend has only been in his current role for a relatively short time he is not an "inexperienced and inefficient manager". He has an enormous amount of experience (including other leadership roles) and is extremely efficient. What he hasn't had much experience with is interviewing someone who is very aggressive and potentially litigious.

    HR is not there to have ‘clout’, they are there to partner and support the business.
    Sorry, a poor choice of words on my part, maybe "influence" would be a better word. Unfortunately HR do not provide very much support to this business, in part because they don't have much influence. To be fair the HR team is too small and lack many of the specialist skills which I believe the organisation needs. The organisation simply does not invest enough in it's HR team.

    Because of this I urged my friend to take the lead on this and present his PD and selection criteria, which I also suggested he include in the advert for the position, so that all applicants knew up front what was important.

    Unfortunately he decided to be diplomatic and wait to see what HR came up with. I say unfortunately, because HR advertised the position without running it by him first or even talking to him about it, in fact he found out from someone else in the organisation it had been advertised! HR didn't include any selection criteria in the ad.

    Fortunately my friend was very well prepared for the interview process (he had a bit of help ) and the C level manager involved decided my friends interview plan was much better than his and the outcome was that they ended up appointing the candidate whom my friend felt was the best for the job. It was a unanimous decision by the interview panel.

    The C level manager gave the feedback to the unsuccessful candidates.

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