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Look inside: Could your next star candidate or career move be internal?

The battle for talent. The great resignation. The skills gap. Whatever you call it, more and more organisations are finding it tough to fill roles. The fight for eligible candidates is fierce and it can leave organisations feeling like they are constantly losing out on the skills they need to meet their goals. In a recent McKinsey Talks Talent podcast, McKinsey leaders Bryan Hancock and Bill Schaninger speak with associate partner Emily Field to ask “is the best talent hiding in plain sight?”

But it’s not just employers who can benefit from focusing on and developing internal talent, ambitious workers can also reap the rewards of seeking out internal learning and development opportunities and looking at the career benefits of choosing internal roles.

In this blog, we explore some of the key talking points from the podcast alongside tips for candidates and employers on thinking internally.

Bridge talent gaps internally

During the discussion, Emily talked about the importance of creating an internal digital marketplace:

“A digital talent marketplace reveals who within your organisation wants new opportunities—it’s about identifying talent, their skills, and their openness to take on new roles.”

Traditionally the capabilities of internal jobs networks have been limited. Roles are not widely advertised and only those candidates who are actively seeking a particular role in a particular area will move upwards. Digital marketplaces open everything up – enabling candidates to show off their skills and capabilities and be matched with relevant roles. A successful internal marketplace opens up a huge pool of talent to hiring managers while creating visibility across the organisation.

Look for skills and attributes, not accolades

We’ve known for a while that some job listings can be overly restrictive and screen out potentially strong candidates for arbitrary criteria. As Bill mentions on the podcast:

“The question becomes where can we change—but not lower—the bar to open up the funnel, so people can become aware that their qualifications are close to those required for open roles?”

When creating an internal labour pool, organisations should consider carefully which skills are really necessary to the success of a role. They should also consider transferable skills and whether they should be thinking about people who have some of the skills required and could shine with supplemental training.

The benefits of an internal career move for employees

The benefits of sticking with a current employer can be huge for employees. Emily summed it up neatly in the conversation with Bill and Bryan:

“From the individual’s perspective, the benefit is massive. Employees are able to stay at the organisation they’ve chosen to be at. They’re able to transition to a role that they’re a match for already, or perhaps that requires them to learn a couple of skills.”

If you love where you work and the people you work with, but you’re also ambitious and driven it can feel like you have no option but to look outside your current company. This isn’t always the case. Always take the time to examine internal career and learning opportunities, it might be the best way to accelerate your jobs search.

Here are some quick tips for candidates and employers that are thinking about internal roles:

Tips for candidates

•Make connections across departments and business areas

•Actively search for learning and development opportunities

•Identify your passion and look for opportunities to grow it internally – even if that means thinking outside of your current specialism.

•Make your desire to stay and grow with the company known.

Tips for employers

•Consider people with transferable skills across every area of your business.

•Reconsider the skills and barriers attached to every role.

•Give current employees the space to say they are open to new challenges.

•Consider how technology can enhance your internal talent pool.

Internal talent pools are often overlooked. Make sure your organisation isn’t making this mistake. By developing robust internal talent pools and internal talent marketplaces, everybody wins. ​