Passed Over for an Internal Job: Follow-Up

Almost two years ago, I penned some thoughts about being passed over for a promotion opportunity when you are the internal candidate. This single post has generated significant feedback and spurred additional questions – some of which I hope to address here.

The original post focuses on what to do next in one’s career path, stay or leave, and what are some of the items one ought to consider when making this decision.  Many readers have written to me inquiring about how to deal with their new boss if they choose to stay at the current employer. This is a potentially important career move one is about to make because how your new supervisor views you can affect your future career options within and outside of your current employer.

It is important that you are positive when speaking to and about your new boss.  The new boss (if they are smart) should be able to quickly identify who are the key talent pieces within the division.  He or she may also be able to deduce that you were a viable candidate for the opportunity they currently hold.  This causes the boss to either see you as an ally or an adversary.

Ensuring your interactions are positive with your new boss can go a long way to having you viewed as an ally.  Helping your new boss navigate some potential landmines, providing some history to situations (without inserting biased opinions), possibly brokering some introductions within the division to help with the transition…all these steps will help you be viewed as someone who can get on board with the new regime and someone who adds value to the office.

Another reason to be positive about your new boss is because others are watching.  The way you respond (your body language, your support level, your actions) will speak more loudly than your words and will be noticed by others around you.  Others will pay attention to how you are reacting to the change, if you are positive and supportive, your standing will rise in the eyes of your colleagues.

Showing support can help your career in other ways – promotions or leaving.  Your new boss can become a champion for you when other opportunities arise within and outside of the organization.  It can be a powerful statement to have the new boss speak of your value to others.

Finally, the new boss could be a hot mess.  In that case, you want to be supportive because you want to help keep the office functioning (since you helped build up the department)  and you do not want to be associated with the dumpster fire that is your new boss.  By helping keep the office together in difficult times, when the time comes for senior management to correct the bad hire, your actions will not go unnoticed.

So, swallow the pride and welcome the new boss.  Think if the roles were reversed and you were supervisor an employee who was the internal candidate, act as you would hope your new report would treat you.

Tomorrow: Should you tell your new boss you were the internal candidate?


About Kevin Monahan

I have 10+ years experience in coaching clients in their career management and career change efforts. Personal career consulting services combined with employer outreach to help find opportunities for both constituents.
This entry was posted in Career Management, Job Search, Layoff, rejection and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Passed Over for an Internal Job: Follow-Up

  1. Pingback: Passed Over for an Internal Job: Should You Tell Your Boss | Kevin Monahan – Career Seeker's Guide

  2. What if there is the additional sting of being told when you joined the company, that all promotions would come from within? Or, what if you find the new hire to be a cultural clash and hard to work with? This was the situation that lead me to move on. And while I felt a little bratty about the situation, my thinking was this: “I don’t know if I trust this company/CEO any longer. If they don’t see my value, but another company does, do I not deserve to go where I’m appreciated?”

    And regarding the hot mess boss, you seriously risk intimidating the person who now has the power to let you go.

    I just don’t see how you can owe anything to a company that would do you a disservice.

    • Kachi: you raise some great points about what were promises/expectations when you took the role. From my original post ( I agree that if you cannot trust or support the leadership, you need to leave. Trying to stay at an employer where you don’t trust or believe the leadership will create a negative ball of energy inside you that will spread like cancer. The danger then is you become negative at work or a poor performer and the leadership now has reason to fire you.

      If one knows he/she is in a bad situation, one should get out as soon as possible.

  3. Pingback: My Boss is a Nightmare | Kevin Monahan – Career Seeker's Guide

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