Is LinkedIn’s New Internal Hiring Tool a Solution to the Wrong Problem?

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Nov 10, 2022
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.

Turnover costs a fortune. Given that employees want growth, first place companies often look to fill positions is within their own workforces. Yet matching internal candidates with positions is still a struggle.

With that in mind, LinkedIn is adding new modules to help recruiters find people who are already working for the company and may not be applying to posted jobs. According to a blog post by Hari Srinivasan, VP of Product at LinkedIn, the platform aims to make hiring easier and career pathing clearer.

Will This Ease Hiring Challenges?

Marie Lobbezoo, director of human resources at Loss Prevention Services (LPS), finds that her organization has to recruit internally. She explains:

“Because we are a unique niche, it is very difficult to find outside candidates with the industry knowledge needed for our open higher-level positions. We have to develop talent from entry-level and grow them in a career path within our company. We try to identify high-potential team members early on and give them the tools and training to be successful.”

While companies like LPS already have career paths and plans for moving people up, many others do not — and simply telling recruiters to focus internally more is not enough.

This, a tool that can help companies identify high-potential individuals within the company can help make hiring easier. If you can fill critical high-level roles internally, you take advantage of internal knowledge and known skill sets. You can fill lower-level positions with entry-level employees and train them.

However, right now entry-level positions are often difficult to fill, especially in hospitality, leisure, and retail. Promoting from within may be what employees want, but it may leave recruiters with even more complex tasks. For instance, it would be great to get a hotel shift manager internally, but then you’d have to find yet another housekeeping employee. (Of course, the moral thing to do is promote internally if someone is ready, but you need to keep business struggles in mind.)

Solving the Culture Issue

Sarah Hudson, an HR manager at a global organization, points out that finding internal candidates is not the real problem. Dealing with managers and culture is.

“Sometimes, even subconsciously, managers might not really be preparing someone for the next role because they’re so valuable on their current team,” Hudson says. It does the recruiter no good to find out who is available if a manager isn’t interested in letting an employee move on. 

On the flip side, Hudson explains, “Promoting internally because it’s your company culture to do so — without first building the appropriate skills and ensuring that the selected employee is truly ready to take on new responsibilities — won’t serve that employee or your organization. So every decision should be intentional, whether there truly is an internal candidate to consider or not.”

In other words, are LinkedIn’s new effort really a solution to a problem of recruiters and hiring managers not knowing who is available internally? Or is it masking the real pains around company culture and career progression?

The Elephant in the Room

Being too good at your job to be promoted is a long-standing problem. In a LinkedIn article, career coach Krista Mollion describes the problem:

“You are a model employee. Not only are you considered highly reliable, but your manager often comes to you for advice or to ask questions. You are de facto doing more than they pay you for. You train and supervise others, over-deliver, and come up with improvements that save the company time and money. You are the one the clients ask to work with. You often feel like the company would fall apart without you or at least suffer.


“You can’t seem to get a promotion.”

Recruiter and author of The Robot-Proof Recruiter, Katrina Collier, concurs. She states that having Linkedin focus on internal candidates won’t solve the problems with management and internal promotions. It’s a bandaid to a gaping wound. She also suspects that this is another way to get companies to pay for LinkedIn premium tools. (Which, of course it is, but the question is whether this tool will help recruiters.)

Worth the Investment?

While LinkedIn has other new modules, like LinkedIn Learning Hub, that help employees build skills, LinkedIn’s user demographics may mean that many employees at organizations don’t have much, if anything, to do with LinkedIn. 

For instance, 58% of LinkedIn’s users are between the ages of 25 and 34. That’s a very skewed data set for recruiters to work from. (And this does not help companies battle age discrimination, as only 3% of users are over 55.) 

In other words, having the tools to find internal candidates may not bring about the desired change. Unless such features are coupled with management understanding the big picture and a proper understanding of the labor pool, it may not be worth employers’ investments.

This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.
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