Are employers under a statutory duty to advertise job vacancies internally?
The simple answer is no. There is no legal obligation to advertise jobs internally or externally. But employers and managers must pay attention to any collective agreements to see if they specify whether roles need to be advertised internally first before resorting to external methods.
Recruiting from within has its advantages.
Can you advertise a job internally only? Yes, and it can be quicker and more cost-effective than sifting through countless applications, launching a recruitment campaign or going through an agency.
Managers will know the individuals in their organisation – they will be aware of their skills, experience and performance. There is the added bonus that the employee will know your company. They will be familiar with your structure, practices, processes, systems, equipment and staff. This will save you money and resource in training them about your organisation.
It also shows your employees that there are opportunities for professional development and promotion. This will help motivate and retain your organisation’s top talent.
If you have an employee referral scheme in place, it encourages employees to use it effectively and you can reap the rewards.
However, it also has some drawbacks.
You are essentially limiting your pool of candidates to a very select group, which may mean that you do not find the best person for the job.
You also need to think about what to do if unsuitable current employees apply to the job. How will you manage the situation? In what way will you deliver feedback? How do you ensure they remain motivated and satisfied in their existing post?
You may find that you do not have someone with the right skills, experience or qualifications necessary for the role. Therefore you have little choice but to advertise externally.
Even if you do have people internally who could do the job, opening it out to external candidates can mean you can attract the strongest candidates in the market, there is more open competition and a wider possibility of a more diverse workforce.
New candidates can bring fresh ideas to your business, constructively challenging how your organisation works.
However, if current employees believe that they are being consistently overlooked for opportunities that arise, this could lead to people feeling dissatisfied and affecting team morale and dynamics.
The most effective way to recruit is to look both internally and externally. Often, employers will advertise internally first before extending it to those outside the organisation.
Whatever approach you choose, it is important for employers to undertake a robust and fair recruitment process. When shortlisting and interviewing applicants, you should focus on areas set out in the job description, person specification and application form. This will help you find the right person for the role and your business.
Opening it to all also means that it eliminates any potential discriminatory hurdles. Depending on the circumstances, the lack of an internal advertisement can amount to unlawful discrimination.
Find out more about what not to say in a job advertisement here or to discuss this topic further, speak to your Employment Law Adviser.