Internal recruiting is the process of recruiting from the existing talent pool at a company. Internal recruitment occurs when a position opens that allows an employee to move up the ranks as the result of a promotion. The ripple effect is a byproduct of internal recruiting.


When a person is promoted to fill a vacancy, new vacancies are created. Most commonly, the vacancy is the position left behind by the person chosen for the promotion. If another employee is then promoted to fill the vacancy, another new vacancy is created. Because of this, some companies are hesitant to promote from within the current talent pool. There are benefits and drawbacks to internal recruiting that should be considered before overlooking promotions as a means of reaching staffing goals.

Positive Outcomes

If a ripple effect occurs and multiple people move up the rankings at the company, there is a good chance that the overall morale of the employees will increase as a result. With one hiring decision, a chain of events begins that rewards hard-working employees at several levels. In most cases, even the employees not directly affected by the changes are more motivated, as the company has shown that hard work pays off.

Negative Outcomes

In worst case scenarios, the ripple effect can be a human resources nightmare. If you have a highly competitive team or if you have multiple people vying for promotions, it is possible that the ripple will have a further reach. Those employees who feel as if they deserved a promotion that was awarded to someone else may show a drop in productivity, begin looking for work elsewhere or resign in protest. To avoid this, it is important to have a clear promotional process and system of evaluating existing employees to prevent the appearance of favoritism or bias. Consider planning a meeting with each candidate to explain where they fell short in the process. This allows you to develop a training plan to prepare them for upcoming promotions and often prevents unnecessary turnover due to emotional responses.

Effect on Customers

Similar to the affect on staffing, the ripple effect can affect customers as well. The employees who are promoted are likely to go above and beyond to take care of clients in appreciation. However, if key players on your team leave the company in protest, the loss could ultimately damage client relationships.


Most experts agree that internal recruiting is a positive approach to hiring. The key to avoiding the complications that the ripple effect causes is to plan for all outcomes. Develop backup plans in case employees decline promotional opportunities or leave the company. With careful planning, the ripple effect can be used to your advantage.