Hello all,

I will be posting a position to fill a vacancy in the next week or so. We have two internal candidates (interns for sake of argument); that are both expecting to compete for the position. They have both done well here. But, neither of them really fits what we are looking for (bad fit). I have had several people from other ares come to me to endorse one of them in particular. How do I handle these two individuals through the process? Do we interview both of them out of courtesy? They both have really done a good job in their current role. They just don't fit what we are looking for in this open position (they are qualified/ entry level position).

Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated.


timrutter's picture


What I have done in this situation before is treated all the applicants as one pool of resources. I screen, interview and consider in the same light whether internal or external applicants. The advantage the internal candidate has is that I'm prepared to have the application feedback conversaion with them at the point they drop out of the race.

If they are not worth an interview, don't interview them.

Hope this helps


Kevin1's picture

Give them a chance.

Ask them to formally apply with a Cover Letter and Resume - who knows they might have a history you aren't aware of

Give them an interview

Ask them the same questions you ask external candidates

Documents their responses and your reasons for not offering them the position.

This covers your butt and is totally fair and equitable.

Kind regards


NLewis's picture

Hi Bill -


I've done interviews of internal candidates that I didn't believe fit.  The process usually uncovered things about them that I didn't know before.  For example one candidate had run his own business.  Even if they didn't fit this position my eyes were opened to other possibilities for their advancement.  They might not fit you but they might be a good fit someplace else - possibly even in your department.

In all cases we held a feedback meeting after the hire.  I candidly explained why they didn't get position, offered tips for how they could improve to increase their chances for future advancement, and in a couple cases offered to sit down with them and help them revamp their resume'.

For this most part this led to a stronger relationship with the candidate.  At least one left the company shortly thereafter but is still part of my network.

The biggest downside is their advocates.  If their are people championing them then those people are likely to view whoever gets the position with a touch of negativity.  This can be problematic and at least one case caused me some serious political headaches.


Hope this helps!


wdroddy's picture

Thank you to everyone for your responses.  They are much appreciated and I believe they will help me through this process.  Any advice on how to handle them leading into the search?  I had considered sitting with them to discuss their interest in the position and let them know that we plan to have a fair and open process.  I would further encourage them to apply.  Any thoughts on this specifically?  

- Bill

dana's picture

Don't give them any preferential treatment! If they apply, they apply. If they don't, they don't. In fact, you can cite fair hiring standards here - if they approach you in the office to talk about the job, you can shrug and say "I'm sure you can understand that we're running an open hiring process! I'm glad you're thinking of applying and I look forward to reviewing your resume and cover letter."

If you don't think you want to hire them - why would you encourage them to apply? That seems to me to be leading them down a path that you don't intend. 

Tressie William's picture

You can simply tell them that they are doing best for the company and you really want them to work from the current position.