Almost every business owner or decision maker will eventually face some version of a universal staffing question: Is it wiser and more cost effective to launch an external search for new managers? Or can the best candidates usually be found among existing teams? Should candidates be sourced through national job boards, or groomed and trained through an existing internal pipeline? This can be an especially challenging question in the IT field. Excellent IT employees usually possess strong technical skill sets, some of which can take years to acquire, but technical and programming skills don’t automatically translate into management skills. And IT leaders often make the mistake of promoting employees to management positions based on their technical performance. Before you take this route or decide to do the opposite and focus your search outside the company, ask yourself these three critical questions. How much time do you have to fill the gap? If you have the luxury of time, you can start cultivating leadership skills in high potential employees who won’t officially step into management roles for months or even years. When you’re faced with an open position, you can carefully evaluate candidates drawn from both internal and external sources, and simply chose the candidate that best meets your established criteria. But be cautious; if internally trained and groomed employees know that they’re competing with outsiders for management positions, they may resent taking a subordinate position to the applicant who represents you final choice. Are you dealing with a skills issue or capacity problem? Do you simply need managers to handle budgets, schedules, motivation, and workflow for a growing group of employees? Or do you need managers who can address skill-based performance problems and direct employees on the finer points of specific programming issues? If capacity is your primary concern, outside candidates with no need for management training may be easier to find. But if skills are your focus, trusted and proven internal employees may be a better bet. Will your decision be a short or long term goal? Where would you like this decision to take the company in six months? How about five years? If one matters far more than the other (if, for example, you have a very short term, high-demand project to complete for a single client), then you’ll need to factor this into your decision to mentor and train an internal candidate or hire from the outside, possibly through a respected staffing firm. For more information and guidance that can help you resolve tricky management questions like this one, reach out to the Seattle IT staffing experts at Pace. If you are looking for information technology employment agencies in Seattle, contact Pace today.