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Succession Planning VS External Recruitment for Senior Management and C-Level Roles

When recruiting for senior management and C-level roles, is it best to groom current staff for the management track, or look externally? This is a question many businesses face, however, in short, there is no right answer. Different circumstances call for different needs to be filled and as such, there are benefits to going either way.  

Hiring internally, or grooming staff for the management track, can not only breed a good workplace culture, it can also encourage staff longevity and satisfaction. With a good internal hiring policy in place, the transition into those senior level roles (when they arise) can often be quicker than looking externally. This is a long term approach however, that relies on the development of employees throughout their tenure within your business. Internal hires generally know the ins and outs of the business and therefor, can settle into the role relatively quickly. Although they may not have prior managerial experience, particularly at a senior level, knowledge of your business can go a long way. Furthermore, they generally have pre-formed relationships with current staff, keeping disruptions to a minimum.

Looking outside of your business however, opens up the field of candidates, allowing you to explore more applicants with the right skillset for the role. Recruiting externally, not only allows for fresh perspective and ideas in the workplace, it is also a great way to challenge the status quo and get your business out of its comfort zone. In addition, external hires generally bring with them experience and education that may not be available through internal staff. Choosing to look externally can also take away the resentment felt by staff, when an internal colleague is promoted over them. Although external recruitment can, at times, be a longer process, it can be highly beneficial for businesses who are perhaps going through a tough period, or looking to expand their business, or simply looking for fresh perspective. 

If you’re still undecided on how to approach your next senior level recruitment exercise, why not open the doors to both internal and external candidates? There’s nothing to say you can’t explore all of your options. It is important however, to have a set of critical criteria for your role, that all candidates can be matched against. Materials such as psychological testing can also be beneficial in these circumstance, allowing you to identify a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses, ability to lead, problem solving capabilities and intelligence.

Whether you choose to look internally or externally, it is important to have a good on-boarding process for any senior level roles. Expectations and goals should be made clear and recorded from the outset, in addition to set performance reviews. Before starting the recruitment process, assess what your current employees can provide and compare that to the benefits of an external hire. 

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