Internal selection refers to the assessment and evaluation of employees from within the
organization as they move from job to job via transfer and promotion systems.
Substantive assessment methods are used to select finalists from among the internal
Discretionary assessment methods are used to select offer recipients from among the finalists
The Logic of Prediction
The logic of prediction is equally relevant to the case of internal selection.
Research indicates that cognitive ability is strongly predictive of long-term job performance and
Another positive aspect of the nature of predictors for internal selection is variability. Rather
than simply relying on the opinion of one person as to the suitability of an internal candidate for
the job, multiple assessments may be solicited from other supervisors and peers
A factor that can undermine the logic of prediction for internal selection is title inflation. A
recent study revealed that the job responsibilities of nearly half (46%) of recently promoted
executives remained roughly the same after their new titles.
Types of Predictors
One important difference to note between internal and external predictors pertains to content.
There is usually greater depth and relevance to the data available on internal candidates
Decision errors often occur when relying on subjective feelings for internal selection decisions
Initial Assessment Methods
Given the time and cost of rigorous selection procedures, organizations use initial assessment
methods to screen out applicants who do not meet the minimum qualifications needed to
become a candidate
Most organizations have a desire to internally select, or promote from within, for both
informational and motivational reasons. Reasons are, that one knows one’s employees better
than external applicants and that valued employees may be motivated, and retained, based on
an expectation of future promotions.
Talent management/succession systems keep an ongoing organizational record of the skills,
talents, and capabilities of an organization’s employees to inform human resource (HR)
o Can be used to attain many goals, including performance management, recruitment
needs analysis, employee development, and compensation and career management
o One of the primary goals of such system is to facilitate internal selection decisions by
keeping an organized, up-to-date record of employee skills, talents, and capabilities.
Whether developed internally or purchased from a vendor, a good talent
management/succession system includes the KSAOs held by each employee in the organization.
An effective talent management/ succession system also includes the employee’s current
position, along with any future positions that the employee is capable of occupying. One of the problems with talent management/succession systems is that they often quickly
become outdated. Another limitation is that the KSAOs are often rather general or generic.
In order for a talent management/succession system to be successful, it must be specific,
actively maintained and updated, aligned with an organization’s strategies, and used when
internal selection decisions are made
Assessments by peers or coworkers can be used to evaluate the promotability of an internal
Peer assessments have been used extensively in the military over the years and to a lesser
degree in industry.
A possible downside to peer assessments is that they may encourage friendship bias and may
undermine morale in a work group by fostering a competitive environment
A probable virtue of peer assessments is that peers are more likely to feel that the decisions
reached are fair since they had input into the process; thus, it is not seen as a “behind the back”
maneuver by management
Job incumbents can be asked to evaluate their own skills as a basis for determining
One problem of this is that “Some people think a lot more highly of their skills and talent”
Increasingly, organizations are relying on higher-ups to identify and develop the KSAOs of those
at lower levels in the organization
Research shows that employees working with sponsors who provide them with challenging
developmental experiences earn higher promotability ratings after those experiences.
Validity refers to the strength of the relationship between the predictor and job performance
Utility refers to the monetary return, minus costs, associated with using the predictor.
Adverse impact refers to the possibility that a disproportionate number of women and
minorities are rejected using this predictor
Seniority and Experience
Seniority typically refers to length of service or tenure with the organization, department, or job
o It is a purely quantitative measure that has nothing to do with the type or quality of
Experience includes not only length of service in the organization or in various positions in the
organization but also the kinds of activities undertaken in those positions.
Seniority and experience are among the most prevalent methods of internal selection for many
o 1. Organizations believe that direct experience in a job content area reflects an
accumulated stock of KSAOs necessary to perform the job
o 2. Promoting experienced or senior individuals is socially acceptable because it is seen
as rewarding loyalty
While experience is more likely