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My company has this tendency to hire externally open positions.

They tell the old employee with experience to train them instead of promoting the old experienced staff.

What could be the reason?

  • The typical reason would be there is no one internal that they have confidence in doing that job and/or lose in their current position. – UnhandledExcepSean Apr 6 at 15:22
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    There is another factor, when you hire externally you only have to train ONE person for a new position, promote internally and you have to both train the person you promoted to do the bigger job, AND train someone to cover the now vacant role. Worst case you wind up with a whole queue of people all moving up one step and ALL needing training in their new duties, bringing in someone from outside sidesteps all that. – Dan Mills Apr 6 at 17:37
  • Often people who were working along side the promoted person for a long time as their equal will not respect the authority the promoted person holds because they were "equal" for so long. A new hire is less likely to have that risk. – JustSaying Apr 6 at 20:15
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Why would a company hire someone from outside rather than promoting internally?

Here are some reasons why a company would chose to hire externally instead:

  1. Lack of qualified internal candidates or qualified candidate(s) declined new position.
  2. Change in leadership - When an external leader is brought in and they have the opportunity to hire, they may chose to hire externally, because they can chose someone that will be loyal to them or shares the same vision. It's harder for a new leader to gain trust internally than to hire externally.
  3. Change in company direction. - This reason is similar to the lack of qualified internal candidates. The idea is that if your company is dramatically pivoting you may need to bring in new people to execute that strategy.
  4. Reduce some kinds of attrition. - Anytime there is a change in leadership you introduce the likelihood of attrition. But when you promote from within, those that peers with the promoted person that were not promoted could be unhappy with who was promoted or that they were not chosen and take action to leave. This isn't a great reason to hire externally, because people may still leave because they weren't promote and they aren't able to grow in their careers.

My stance is that a company should try to promote from within wherever reasonable, because employees tend to stay with companies where they can grow their careers too.

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    All of these reasons are true. I would add, "bring in different experience". Everyone in the company does things the way the company has always done things (obviously). A new hire brings a fresh perspective. This might or might not relate to 2 or 3, but is separate. – BittermanAndy Apr 11 at 13:07
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Flip side: I have three times been in a position where person was promoted internally and went from being a peer to being my boss. In all 3 cases I lost a good friend. This can be hard on both the former peers and on the new boss.

I think this is more likely in a tightly knit team environment. It can be avoided too if there is the right training for the new boss, both ahead of his move, and after.

(In my case it was staff at a boarding school. Everyone does everything, and during the school term you don't have a life outside the school.)

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