If you have someone in mind already for a job opening, do you legally have to post the position to attract other applicants? The short answer is: probably not – there are no laws that require positions get advertised (except for federal contractors covered under the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act).
I can understand wanting to save time and making an offer to the candidate you have in mind without having to consider other applicants – but I think advertising a position no matter what can be to an employers’ benefit in a couple of ways:
Open and honest communication to and from employees as well as sharing the “why” behind various actions, company results, and other business practices fosters a sense of trust and engagement from employees. It’s becoming more the norm that companies are sharing overall bottom line numbers and other formally secretive data in an effort to make employees feel like they’re part of the big picture. When an organization doesn’t post a position internally, it may promote feelings of favoritism and unfairness – not everyone got the chance to decide whether it was a position they wanted to pursue.
If an organization posts an opening internally, it may also allow current employees the opportunity to share their opinions about moving to a new position within the organization and allow for conversations about how an employee can continue to grow in order to meet his or her goals. Posting a position internally is a show of transparency and encourages feelings of mutual trust and respect. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time either, some companies post internal openings for 3 – 5 days max.
Equitable Hiring Practice
Most employers post job openings both internally and externally to ensure they have nondiscriminatory hiring practices and are hiring the best, most qualified candidate regardless of any protected classes (race, sex, family status, etc.). Posting a position allows others to get the chance to be considered, and you never know when the perfect candidate might apply – even when you thought you already had the perfect candidate!
Although there isn’t typically a legal reason to post a job opening, doing so can lead to better communication and transparency at your organization and also lead you to hire the absolute best person for the job.