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Sunday, January 27, 2008

denied a promotion

A reader writes:

I starting working at my present company about 1.5 years ago. Before working here, I was doing recruiting for about 2 years at an agency. I came into my current company as an assistant to the recruitment team because I was told I didn't have enough experience as a recruiter in this specific industry. I wouldn't have accepted this position, but the money was the same and the benefits were better and it was a shorter commute. I also thought my career path would be better here.

At the time the person who recruited me turned out to be my manager. I told her I understood she would like me to have more experience, but I also made it clear that I wanted to recruit. She told me that the plan was to stay in the assistant position for 1 year and then move into a recruitment position. Well a year came and went and then it turned into 1.5 year. Well, that looks like it's going to come and go and nothing. In this time they promoted the other HR assistant who was here before me. I have no problem with that b/c she put her time in (2 years), but she had no recruiting experience and I suspect that was their plan all along.

I have since gotten a new manager, but he seems to want to keep things as is and he plans on bringing in a more senior recruiter. I told him I would like to be considered for this position, and he straight up told me I am not qualified for what he needs. I tried every angle, "I know the company, promote within, bla, bla, bla". He stayed at no. I get great evaluations, no one ever complains about my work. Without me doing the administrative things for the group, it would fall apart.

I feel like I am being jerked around. I am not the only person this has happened to in my HR department. My question to you is, is this a common practice among companies? and what do you think I should do? should I wait it out? I am fairly happy with the company and my co-workers. I get paid decent for what I do, but I am not at the top of the scale and I could be making more money recruiting or working for an agency.

This gives me a chance to say something that I think people often lose sight of when they're in the middle of it: You cannot make your company promote or compensate you in the way you want. But you also don't have to stay there. You can lay out your case and ask what you need to do to get what you want, but ultimately, you must decide whether or not you want to stay under the conditions being offered.

Here's how this applies in your case: Go to your manager and ask him to tell you what you would need to accomplish in order to earn a promotion. What specific experience would you need to get, or what areas do you need to improve in? If he's able to give you a specific answer, decide if you're able/willing to do what he's asking. If you are, tell him you're going to make it your goal to meet those criteria in __ months, and ask him if he'll agree to reviewing your progress and considering you for a promotion at that point. But if he's not able to give you a specific answer about how you could earn a promotion, take it a good sign that it's probably not going to happen in this job, for whatever reason -- and start looking at other jobs.

In fact, no matter what his answer is, start looking at other jobs. See what else is out there. Nothing says you have to take a new job if it's offered to you -- but you'll likely feel much more in control once you have more options. Good luck!


HR Wench said...

Never, ever believe a hiring manager or recruiter that tells you that you will be in a certain position for x amount of time and then transition to something else. They may not necessarily be lying per se but things change at the speed of light and businesses have to adjust to survive. They don't care what someone told you when you were hired. In fact that person may be long gone. Even if they are still around, unless they have the authority to enter into a written employment contract with you, and do so, believe them about as far as you can throw them.

Message to managers: Do not promise anything. Ever. Do not even say "this is what the future will bring". Do not even say "this is the plan". Just shut your yap!

Evil HR Lady said...

One of my friends followed that same advice--she went to her manager and asked for a detailed plan on what she needed to do to be promoted. Her manager's reply? "You won't be."


So, she took that as a sign and went on a job hunt. Since she was employed, she had the time to find what she really wanted.

When she did and told her manager she was leaving the manager was so shocked! Shocked! To find out she was leaving.

I'm sure her manager still doesn't understand why my friend went in search of a new job.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you are being discriminated. EEOC has guidelines for promotions in the workplace. Just becasue he said you weren't quialified doesnt mean that is true. Take the case to HR and speak to them and how you feel becasue it never hurts to find out.

Ask a Manager said...

Anonymous, what makes you think there's discrimination going on? The letter writer didn't say anything indicating that there's discrimination. The EEOC only gets involved if there's negative employment action specifically due to someone's membership in a protected class (race, religion, sex, national origin, etc.), which doesn't sound like the case here.