Denied an Internal Promotion
Has this happened to you?
Alison Green | Ask A Manager
June 09, 2010
A reader writes:
Recently, my manager decided to introduce a new position that would be in between my current position and his position, basically someone to make sure the daily job functions of me and my coworkers get done at the company’s computer support desk. This position was opened to both internal and external applicants, and he encouraged both me and another coworker to apply.
For some background, I’ve been with the company for 4+ years and have had many different responsibilities, as well as been depended upon to be one of the top service desk technicians. I have a total of 6 years experience in the field. My skills matched almost exactly what they were looking for, with the exception that I had a 2-year degree while they were looking for a 4-year degree.
In any case, after encouraging us to apply, my boss refused to interview both me and my coworker, and now we will be stuck with someone who does not know anything about the company or how our service desks functions, and worse yet, I will have to be training this new guy. Is this my boss’s way of telling me to move on and find something else and should I be as ticked off about this as I am currently feeling?
There’s nothing wrong with encouraging you to apply but ultimately not hiring you, but your boss owed you the courtesy of an explanation why. Some people would argue that he also owed you an interview after explicitly urging you to apply — but I’m going to argue that if he already knew that he had stronger candidates and wasn’t going to hire you, it’s kinder not to waste your time and mislead you. But either way, he owed you an explanation of why.
I recently wrote about why companies often don’t give rejected candidates any feedback — but it’s a totally different story when you’re an internal candidate. In this case, courtesy and morale — as well as your boss’s obligation to do at least a minimum of professional development — mean that you deserve feedback about why you ultimately weren’t hired.
There are plenty of legitimate reasons why your boss might not have chosen you, even after suggesting you apply. The most obvious one is that he thought you were strong enough to be in the mix, but ultimately stronger candidates came along. Or, who knows, maybe someone higher than him in the company ordered him to hire a specific candidate, or any other myriad reasons. But no matter what it was, he owed you an explanation.