Posting jobs within a company

Q: I was recently asked by a friend about a job at my company that was posted on a popular and well-known career/jobs site. I knew nothing about this posting or that we were hiring. The job is in a department that I work with every day and it would have helpful to have known about this opportunity. Do companies have to legally post all jobs internally first? What is the best process for posting jobs? You would think that my company would have notified employees of the opportunity first even if it was not legally required.

A: Employers are not required to post all jobs internally in most cases. There are some exceptions including government organizations, federal contractors or if it required by a union contract. However, most employers are not mandated by law to post a job internally.

Many employers do post jobs internally though for several reasons. First, there may be a current employee interested and qualified for the opportunity. Second, a company’s employees are often a viable source of referrals for an open position. Third, it sends the message that the company is hiring. When a company is hiring, that is often a positive sign. Fourth, it is often less expensive to hire internally than to hire a new employee externally. Lastly, it provides a career path for employees, which will hopefully retain valuable employees over the long run.

In my opinion, it is a good practice to post jobs internally for 7-10 days. That time period allows interested employees to complete any steps to apply internally. Sometimes a company will ask the employee to complete an internal job posting application form and submit it to an internal company representative. A 7-10 day time frame also gives the employee some time to research the department and/or the specific role.

Sometimes employers will not post a job internally and this can be a controversial decision, especially from an employee’s perspective. However, the employer may feel like bringing in new talent to the organization is best for the company. Or the employer may feel like internal candidates would not be the best option for this role. Yet, I agree with you. There should be a communication mechanism for informing current employees of the external recruitment effort. Your employer could circulate current opportunities within the company and ask employees to check a designated section of the company website. There are options!

Pattie Hunt Sinacole is a human resources expert and works for First Beacon Group in Hopkinton, an HR consulting firm. She contributes weekly to Jobs and the Boston Sunday Globe Money & Careers section. Click here to read about more employment topics in The Job Doc Blog at