Why Rejected Internal Candidates End Up Quitting

In most cases, rejected internal job applicants will eventually quit: research shows that they are almost twice as likely to leave their organization than those hired for a new job. internal job or not applying for a new job at all. The lost productivity and talent, combined with the cost of finding replacements for these employees, is often substantial. So what makes it more likely that an internal candidate will reach out? First, internal candidates who are rejected after interviewing with the hiring manager are half as likely to get out as candidates who were rejected earlier in the process. Second, the likelihood of a candidate being rejected is halved if they are switched in favor of an internal candidate over an external candidate.

There is perhaps no better experience for a hiring manager than seeing the resume of a brilliant internal candidate lying on their desk. You can get things done in no time, and because current employees know the organization and its quirks, they require less work to get started quickly. You also rarely have to paying the premium is often required to attract external applicants. As an added bonus, hiring an internal candidate signals to other employees that they too have a future in the organization, making them more likely to be introspective when contemplating their next career move.

With these benefits in mind, companies have been expanding their efforts to make it easier for existing employees to learn about and apply to new internal opportunities. Creating more open internal talent markets certainly increases the odds that a hiring manager will find that perfect internal candidate, but it also means hiring managers often find themselves in the inevitable position of having to tell other employees they don’t get the job. While good data on internal application patterns is hard to come by, recent estimates suggest that managers can expect to receive an average 10 internal apps for every open job, a number confirmed in our conversations with talent acquisition leaders across more than two dozen major organizations. That means it’s often the case that 9 employees – 10 if you hire an outside candidate – hear “no” every time a job is posted.

How did those rejected employees react? They react poorly, at least in the short term. After all, no one wants to be turned down for a job, and the pain is often greater when you are told “no” by your current employer. Studies have shown that internal rejection leads to reduced job satisfaction and reduced commitment for the organization. Rejection can also be born feeling jealous towards workers who “beat them” for work or lead employees to engaging in counterproductive work behaviors, such as stealing from their company. However, if employees stick around for several months after being rejected, these negative effects tend to disappear.

But many employees decide not to stick around. In fact, research shows that internally rejected candidates are twice as likely to leave their organization của compared to those who were hired for an internal job or did not apply for a new job at all. The lost productivity, combined with the cost of finding replacements for these employees, is often substantial. We wanted to find out how companies could systematically reduce the chance that rejected candidates would systematically quit. Fortunately for companies, our research shows that while rejection can be inevitable, revenue is not.

We analyzed just over 9,000 employee rejection experiences at a Fortune 100 company over a five-year period. An insight from our research are employees who don’t apply for a job just because they want a new job right now; They also sign up to find out what opportunities may be available to them Future. If an employee is rejected today, they are more likely to continue working if they feel they will have a good promotion tomorrow. Because of flatter hierarchies, rapidly changing job requirements, and increased external hiring have combined to confuse employees as to what career path within their organization, how easy The easiest and most straightforward way for employees to figure out possible opportunities – both today and in the near future – is to apply for a job. While a rejection is a clear indication that an employee is unable to move into a current role, employees also pay attention to two aspects of the hiring process to determine if they are likely to move into a current role. similar role in the future or not.

Did they interview with the hiring manager?

We found that internal candidates who were rejected after interviewing with a hiring manager were half as likely to get out as candidates who were rejected earlier in the process. The reason is twofold. First, because hiring managers typically interview only a very small number of candidates (Recent estimates suggest that about 2% of applicants), receiving an interview signals to candidates that they already have many of the traits needed to move on to the job. Second, an interview provides a forum for hiring managers to give feedback to candidates about any knowledge and skills they may currently lack, as well as how to proceed. collect them if they want to be hired for a similar job in the future.

In contrast, employees who don’t make it to the interview stage tend to feel their job applications are not being taken seriously and rarely receive specific feedback on how to improve their chances of future success. future. As a result, they are more likely to look outside for future promotion opportunities.

Important to note: Having someone from human resources interview a candidate is not a substitute for an interview with the hiring manager. In fact, we’ve found that candidates who are denied an interview with human resources but aren’t the hiring manager are just as likely to leave as candidates whose applications were rejected as part of the hiring process. of an automated prescreening process that is incorporated into most applicant tracking systems.

Are they rejected in favor of an internal or external candidate?

We also found that the likelihood of a candidate being rejected is halved if they are passed in favor of an internal candidate rather than an external candidate. Why do candidates seem so interested in hiring colleagues or outsiders? No wonder employees believe the past predicts the future. When they see their organization favoring an external candidate, they assume that they will face external competition for similar jobs in the future, reducing their own chances of being hired. . When employees see a colleague being hired, they assume that internal candidates (like them) will be favored in the future. As a result, they are less likely to explore outside opportunities.

In addition, seeing a co-worker being hired initiates a positive, upward social comparison process in which rejected employees feel as though they can mimic migration efforts. the employee’s future success. We performed additional analyzes that support this argument: rejected internal candidates are more similar to the winning candidate (e.g. in terms of functional expertise and tenure within the company) are more likely to be rejected. ability is denied.

Given these results, what should companies do? While it is impractical for most companies to guarantee that every internal candidate will be interviewed, it is not practical for companies to be strategic in considering which employees are interviewed.

Consider a star employee in the marketing department applying for a finance job. Chances are the hiring manager doesn’t know that this employee is a star in the marketing field, and it makes sense for the hiring manager to be hesitant to interview someone with little relevant experience. However, not interviewing that candidate doubles his chances of leaving the company. Therefore, organizations must ensure that their applicant tracking systems are capable of marking applicants whom the organization wishes to retain and requiring them to be interviewed. To prevent hiring managers from being overwhelmed with internal candidates, some of whom may not be the right fit for a certain job, we recommend that organizations think twice about who to hire. that they put on their “must interview” list. They can also redirect workers to other jobs within the company where they may be better qualified. Companies like IBM, for example, have technology development explicitly provide personalized information about alternative internal career paths through online career management tools.

While we do not recommend that organizations hire only internal candidates, our work suggests that organizations should consider carefully whether to hire an external candidate when available. a viable internal candidate. Outsourcing can bring valuable knowledge and new perspectives to the organization, but doing so also increases the odds that existing employees will take their knowledge elsewhere.

In short, companies that manage their internal talent market strategies are better positioned to retain rejected employees.

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