Alessandro Di Leta had to fill two key positions. The usual approach would have been to advertise the vacancies in market cultivation externally, also opening them up to other applicants. This time Alessandro intentionally tried a different strategy: he decided from the outset to recruit internally from within the team. We asked him why he chose to do so.
Internal recruitment from the team – prioritizing your own ranks
There are good reasons for looking internally when making appointments. In an interview, Alessandro Di Leta, Head of Marketing Retail Banking, explains why he decided to recruit internally from the team for two team leader vacancies and what approach he adopted.
Internal vs external recruitment: which factors did you consider when starting the recruitment process?
I looked at it from the perspective of my team and employees, but also in terms of what the job involves. For my employees, ensuring stability and continuity was a key factor, but also maintaining strong team spirit. Over recent months, lots of development has been done in and by the teams. We also wanted to maximize the expertise available to us internally. We’re in the process of realigning how we work and think towards journey-centric marketing. So I looked for a solution that would allow us to continue this change and development process without interrupting our employees’ learning process.
I looked for a solution that would ensure stability and continuity in the change process.
Similar factors applied in terms of what the job involves: to meet the highly demanding requirements of delivering an integral market identity, I was looking to immediately replace the strong communication skills which I risked losing when the previous team leaders left – ensuring continuity and stability for our stakeholders. I also wanted to continue the substantive development of journey-centric marketing from an overall perspective.
What ultimately tipped the decision towards recruiting internally?
After weighing up these factors, I decided that the best way to meet our requirements and objectives would be to appoint internal talent from our own ranks to the team leader positions. I validated my decision with my direct reports. It was soon clear to us that we have good and talented employees who we can develop. So we opted for the internal route.
How did you inform and involve your employees?
We did this initially after the resignation of the two team leaders. I promised the team I’d give prompt updates on the recruitment process. Then I updated them again when we’d actually decided to recruit from within the team. I outlined the situation and explained that we saw potential internally. A fair process was vitally important. All employees had the opportunity to apply by writing a cover letter and they had any questions answered in advance. Everyone who applied had a genuine opportunity to pitch at an interview with a member of the HR team, my deputy and myself. And all applicants were entitled to open and honest feedback which benefited them regardless of whether or not they got the job – also in terms of future development opportunities.
What were the advantages of internal recruitment in this particular case?
One advantage was definitely the speed that was a crucial factor in filling these two key roles. We saved a lot of time by opting against advertising the jobs externally. Recruiting internally also meant we reduced the risk of making the wrong decision as we know our employees who have already been through our rigorous recruitment process. The major benefit in my view was that we gave our employees the opportunity to develop by recruiting internally and opened up fresh prospects – to the benefit of both the employees and the company.
Useful to know
The opportunity for personal development is part of what we pledge to existing and future PostFinance employees in our employer value proposition (EVP).
Were there any drawbacks?
There are some downsides to internal recruitment. Jealousy can emerge within the team and the employees who didn’t get the job can be left feeling disappointed. I minimized these risks by ensuring a transparent and fair application process. Other drawbacks were either not relevant or negligible: the risk of not obtaining external ideas and perspectives did not apply in our case as we have appointed lots of new employees externally over the past two years. And the danger of leaving a hole elsewhere by recruiting internally wasn’t really a criterion for me.
Were you also recruited internally?
I’ve been working at PostFinance since 2006 and have got jobs internally several times in different ways. In one case, I was encouraged to apply internally, and another time I took the initiative myself. But things didn’t always go to plan: I remember starting a new position which fell victim to reorganization measures just a few days after starting the job. I was offered a new role which wasn’t really what I wanted. When I told the decision-maker, I got the chance to do a suitable job – but on a temporary contract. I left my comfort zone and took a risk. Fortunately, my temporary contract was eventually made permanent.
Alessandro Di Leta is Head of Marketing Retail Banking which includes the five units of “Strategic Marketing”, “Marketing Conception”, “Market Cultivation”, “Marketing Implementation” and “Marketing Valuu”. As a manager, he places great emphasis – in addition to loyalty – on transparent communication with employees and stakeholders and to the principle of justifying decision-making. And he always tries to think two steps ahead so that at least one step forward is always taken.