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External vs Internal Candidates


Robby

If you are thinking of making a job change, you’ve probably thought about the difference between internal and external candidates. People who are already inside the company where you want to work have some advantages and disadvantages over people outside the company. What is it best to be, and why?

Climbing the Corporate Ladder
© Flickr User NCRGov

Job Candidates from the Outside

The great advantage to an external candidate is that they have spent their entire career at places other than the company.

That means they have an outside perspective, you can think more clearly about how decisions impact external stakeholders, and you bring a fresh look at old ideas.

People sometimes feel promoting internal candidates towards their loyalty. But by that token, we would reward children for staying at home, reward athletes for failing to graduate, and reward contestants by suggesting they forgo the prize and keep playing.

External candidates are also a matter of probability. Unless your business employs half the people on the planet, chances are that stronger candidates are outside your firm rather than inside.

Internal Candidates

The big advantage of an internal candidate is that you already know something about them. They’ve worked for you in the past, so you are aware of their work ethic. They’ve already completed projects and essential tasks, so you know what they can handle and you may be aware of their skills.

And naturally, a key conceivable advantage of an internal candidate is that they know the culture, the systems, and the protocols of the company. They know the people and they generally know how things work.

Comparing the Two

Is the outside perspective of an outsider really an advantage? It is if you have time to make use of it. If you’re in a hurry an insider may be more useful.

Is the insider knowledge really an advantage? It’s not if you’re thinking long term. That’s a liability; something that may cause problems or be hard to transfer.

So what should you do if you’re seeking work? Figure out if you’re an external or external candidate, and adjust your language accordingly.

And: good luck.

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About the Blogger: Robby Slaughter is a productivity speaker and expert. He is a principal with a AccelaWork, an Indianapolis consulting firm.

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Tue, February 18 2014 » Career Planning and Goal Setting, Corporate Culture

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