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rantnrave

Strong Internal Candidate - No Interview Given

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Hi all,

 

Could do with some objective thoughts on a situation at work.

 

A few months ago, a colleague announced unexpectedly that she was stepping down – spend more time with the family etc (her young daughter is struggling a lot with school and more). The position is one I’ve long coveted, but certainly didn’t anticipate being available. Two other co-workers soon after said I should apply, would be a very strong candidate etc – without me even raising the subject.

 

To my amazement, they advertised the role in August and with a week before the deadline, an internal memo from HR mentioned that interest in the vacancy had been surprisingly low. This all sounded very encouraging, so I got my application in. Taking nothing for granted, I ensured my career details referenced all the relevant criteria. I have some very unusual background experience which the role requires and is very hard to find – it’s a very powerful ace in my hand of cards.

 

Found out yesterday that I haven’t even been shortlisted for interview – apparently the quality of the applicants they received was far higher than anticipated (so they must have all leapt out of the woodwork at the last minute??). Am utterly and completely stumped. I have of course politely asked for some feedback of specifically where I fell short. I can’t help but feel it’s the name at the top of the application form and somebody in the decision process has a grudge / isn’t keen on me.

 

Any thoughts, similar experience? What should I do next, if anything?

 

Appreciate any comments

 

RnR

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If you like your job, nothing.

If this makes you unhappy at work, look for something else.

Whatever you do, don't rush into anything.

Office politics can be evil, but you just have to rise above it or the only person to suffer will be you.

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3 minutes ago, Option5 said:

If you like your job, nothing.

If this makes you unhappy at work, look for something else.

Whatever you do, don't rush into anything.

Office politics can be evil, but you just have to rise above it or the only person to suffer will be you.

Office politics can indeed be brutal.

The circumstances surrounding my current job are better than the work itself (which I find a bit dull and straightforward, although it is niche so others hold it in higher regard than I do). Short working hours, live within walking distance, good pension scheme, OK-ish pay. Live in an OK place and rent at a reasonable rate. Landlord very keen we stay as long as we want (owned outright, not a BTLer). Changing company means changing location for sure - I've done that a lot in the past and am tired of upping sticks. Past an age where moving somewhere new appeals and now have young family to think of. Ho hum.

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10 minutes ago, rantnrave said:

Office politics can indeed be brutal.

The circumstances surrounding my current job are better than the work itself (which I find a bit dull and straightforward, although it is niche so others hold it in higher regard than I do). Short working hours, live within walking distance, good pension scheme, OK-ish pay. Live in an OK place and rent at a reasonable rate. Landlord very keen we stay as long as we want (owned outright, not a BTLer). Changing company means changing location for sure - I've done that a lot in the past and am tired of upping sticks. Past an age where moving somewhere new appeals and now have young family to think of. Ho hum.

I'd stay put and see who they get. Remember it isn't the new persons fault so please don't take it out on them.

My circumstances are slightly different, single (again) kids grown up, I take the jobs I want and rent within walking distance if it's a nice area. Hate being promoted as I don't like management but as a consultant engineer I get paid well enough. Currently in SE England but looking at job offers in Switzerland, Germany and Italy (I also have an Irish passport so Brexit won't affect me as much)

Good luck

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4 hours ago, Option5 said:

If you like your job, nothing.

Yeah take this advice if you want to be one of lifes also rans, forever being pushed around and passed over. If youve got a pair OTOH ...

4 hours ago, rantnrave said:

 

 

Any thoughts, similar experience? What should I do next, if anything?

 

Appreciate any comments

 

RnR

 

Its possible someone applied who has personal connections with those making the decision, or that they don't want to hassle of replacing your current role. If this is the case you can probably force the issue by making them visibly go through their process so they cant fudge it as easily. Familiarise yourself with any documented hiring procedures in the company, pounce on any non-compliance that you can see. I'd probably ask for written feedback at the very least.

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7 minutes ago, goldbug9999 said:

Yeah take this advice if you want to be one of lifes also rans, forever being pushed around and passed over. If youve got a pair OTOH ...

 

Its possible someone applied who has personal connections with those making the decision, or that they don't want to hassle of replacing your current role. If this is the case you can probably force the issue by making them visibly go through their process so they cant fudge it as easily. Familiarise yourself with any documented hiring procedures in the company, pounce on any non-compliance that you can see. I'd probably ask for written feedback at the very least.

A bit of selective quoting there :D

Didn't you get to the next line?

4 hours ago, rantnrave said:

If this makes you unhappy at work, look for something else.

 

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7 minutes ago, goldbug9999 said:

Yeah take this advice if you want to be one of lifes also rans, forever being pushed around and passed over. If youve got a pair OTOH ...

 

Its possible someone applied who has personal connections with those making the decision, or that they don't want to hassle of replacing your current role. If this is the case you can probably force the issue by making them visibly go through their process so they cant fudge it as easily. Familiarise yourself with any documented hiring procedures in the company, pounce on any non-compliance that you can see. I'd probably ask for written feedback at the very least.

I get the feeling that if anyone externally / objectively looked at the job description and my application they'd struggle to see why an interview wasn't offered. There are precious few opportunities that come up like this, so I am especially gutted and gobsmacked not to get shortlisted. Surely an interview shortlist shouldn't be about filling a specific number of time slots, but interviewing any applicant who seriously offers something to the role.

Am awaiting the written summary of the explanation. Will keep you posted...

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In many places the only way to get promoted is to leave, work somewhere else for a while and then apply to come back. It is possible to jump 2 salary grades in a couple of years that way, something that would never happen with an internal promotion.

You get zero reward for loyalty these days.

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13 minutes ago, Habeas Domus said:

In many places the only way to get promoted is to leave, work somewhere else for a while and then apply to come back. It is possible to jump 2 salary grades in a couple of years that way, something that would never happen with an internal promotion.

You get zero reward for loyalty these days.

Exactly this. My biggest promotion to date was because I left a job to go elsewhere. 3 months later they asked me to go back, I demanded a lot more than they were offering and got it. They knew in the first place I wanted a promotion/change of job but rubbished it. By leaving I was able to ask for every more. I won massively, they lost out by not being loyal.

Internal promotion always seem to want you to jump through hoops to "prove" yourself. Im not doing that, pay me and I'll do it but like hell am I doing the job for 6 months unpaid when I can just go elsewhere and do it, paid!

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6 minutes ago, scb said:

Exactly this. My biggest promotion to date was because I left a job to go elsewhere. 3 months later they asked me to go back, I demanded a lot more than they were offering and got it. They knew in the first place I wanted a promotion/change of job but rubbished it. By leaving I was able to ask for every more. I won massively, they lost out by not being loyal.

Internal promotion always seem to want you to jump through hoops to "prove" yourself. Im not doing that, pay me and I'll do it but like hell am I doing the job for 6 months unpaid when I can just go elsewhere and do it, paid!

The only issue I have with this advice is, if we do have the crash we all expect and jobs are shed, the last in first out rule may well apply........just a thought.

Of course it depends on the business sector you're in.

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Two points come to mind:

1. In my long HR experience, most applications arrive on the closing date or the day before it. 

2. Remember that internal candidates are known and review your organisational behaviour and relationships with colleagues. 

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The joys of being employed.

90% of my work related stress evaporated when I started my own business. It's more secure too, you're the last to get made redundant and the first to get a rise, assuming the company can afford it.

 

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8 minutes ago, Bossybabe said:

Two points come to mind:

1. In my long HR experience, most applications arrive on the closing date or the day before it. 

2. Remember that internal candidates are known and review your organisational behaviour and relationships with colleagues. 

Agreed. Once I heard that their hadn't been a huge interest, I sent my application in five days before the deadline - hoping they wouldn't extend it to give others a chance.

Internal candidates are of course a known entity. How does one manage though to get on with all colleagues, all of the time - given pressures and personality clashes?

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13 minutes ago, rantnrave said:

Agreed. Once I heard that their hadn't been a huge interest, I sent my application in five days before the deadline - hoping they wouldn't extend it to give others a chance.

Internal candidates are of course a known entity. How does one manage though to get on with all colleagues, all of the time - given pressures and personality clashes?

Grit your teeth. Hear all, say nothing. Easy to say, I know, but with a promotion in view, it must be worthwhile, right?  

I'm currently working as an administrator with a bunch of lame brains, managed by people whose knowledge of management you could cover with a pinhead.   My career, before I had a stroke, was in senior manager in HR, commuting daily to a famous London teaching hospital. There I was dealing with consultant doctors, medical schools, postgraduate deans, and attending regional HR Directors' meetings. I taught on the Consutant trainees' management courses and have a Masters in HR Management. 

Doing this job since 2012 because the stress of my old life would kill me. I didn't foresee how difficult and stressful it is to keep my mouth shut and watch morale take a nosedive from gutter level, when I know I could turn the whole place round in about three months, including managing the difficult personalities out of the organisation. I grit my teeth daily. ?

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So companies operate in their own economic environment typically taking into account the external market pressures.

Where people expect or deserve a pay rise on a bell curve of competence (e.g high performers receive 6% pay rise, low performers receive 0% and the average is 3%) 

the aim is to understand your ability to raise your margins above inflation in the external market vs keeping your employee costs at/or below inflation in order to generate more profits. Its a delicate balance and the golden rule is that no employee is bigger than the system (same as footballer wage caps in a way) if someone wants outsized pay, even if they are good performers you have to let them leave, because others will find out and your employee structure will crumble as more people ask for the same thing. In effect, you control people's expectations and only the bravest/ most qualified attempt to leave as they will always have options. Most will follow the herd as that is just human nature. 

As soon as you leave a company, you are now outside the company economic environment and back into external market inflation/costs. These are often higher than the internal prices for labour e.g people stay at firms if they receive a 0% pay rise but generally people don't join a new company for a 0% pay rise). Obviously the market can always go the other way, when there is a depression for instance and there is lots of labour available.

So that said, it explains why you can leave a company and then they hire you back for more money than if you had just stayed and got the promotion you wanted. As an individual it seems non nonsensical to you that the company has created all this chaos in your life just to end up paying you want you wanted (or more even!) if you had just stayed. But from a corporate structure pov it is very important to let the herd know that it is "difficult" and "risky" to do these things. The herd generally don't do "risky" things. In this way you preserve your corporate pay structures whilst giving exceptions to certain people who can provide value in your organisation.

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2 hours ago, goldbug9999 said:

Its possible someone applied who has personal connections with those making the decision, or that they don't want to hassle of replacing your current role.

I have personally seen this where the person applying for a more senior role (withing the same company but different department) was turned down because they were involved in a big project and TPTB didnt want to risk any disruption.

Equally I have seen it where the internal applicant was always favourite and the external candidates were purely to make up the numbers to make it look a meritocratic decision- most liekly to avoid agency fees.

Either way the world of recruitment looks very random to me ultimately and the published procedures aren't followed anyway.  I personally would never ask for feedback these days as they are rarely honest anyway.

Question for the OP: what would you do if the incoming candidate didnt last in the role and it became vacant again?

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6 minutes ago, nightowl said:

I have personally seen this where the person applying for a more senior role (withing the same company but different department) was turned down because they were involved in a big project and TPTB didnt want to risk any disruption.

Equally I have seen it where the internal applicant was always favourite and the external candidates were purely to make up the numbers to make it look a meritocratic decision- most liekly to avoid agency fees.

Either way the world of recruitment looks very random to me ultimately and the published procedures aren't followed anyway.  I personally would never ask for feedback these days as they are rarely honest anyway.

Question for the OP: what would you do if the incoming candidate didnt last in the role and it became vacant again?

I think I would need to see the feedback from this failed application first and assess whether it is worth applying again.

Another question for everyone - I wasn't going to tell my boss I had applied unless I got an interview. So obviously, nothing has happened on that front. Is there any worth in me mentioning that I put in an application, or is it better to keep quiet?

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OK - feedback has arrived.

My application did not apparently demonstrate enough strength with regard to change management. The successful candidate is expected to oversee and implement a wide-scale strategic review within the first 6 - 12 months. While the job role doesn't mention this specifically, it is expected that any suitable candidate would have this in their skillset.

Not sure what to make of that...

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3 hours ago, rantnrave said:

OK - feedback has arrived.

My application did not apparently demonstrate enough strength with regard to change management. The successful candidate is expected to oversee and implement a wide-scale strategic review within the first 6 - 12 months. While the job role doesn't mention this specifically, it is expected that any suitable candidate would have this in their skillset.

Not sure what to make of that...

Change management word bingo. Sounds to me like they were scrabbling around looking for an why that wasn't listed on the original job spec is a mystery but if there's a hidden list of 10-12 desirabilities then I doubt any other candidate would tick all the boxes. 

Years ago I did very well in the interview process for a bonds trading position to the point where the head guy said I wouldn't have to do a second interview and he would speak to my manager in my back office role and get me transfered. It didn't happen and I later found out from another colleague that he blocked the requests on the grounds he didn't wish to fix what wasn't broken. Basically if I was mediocre in my role he'd have allowed it to happen.

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3 hours ago, longtomsilverunderwater said:

Change management word bingo. Sounds to me like they were scrabbling around looking for an why that wasn't listed on the original job spec is a mystery but if there's a hidden list of 10-12 desirabilities then I doubt any other candidate would tick all the boxes. 

Years ago I did very well in the interview process for a bonds trading position to the point where the head guy said I wouldn't have to do a second interview and he would speak to my manager in my back office role and get me transfered. It didn't happen and I later found out from another colleague that he blocked the requests on the grounds he didn't wish to fix what wasn't broken. Basically if I was mediocre in my role he'd have allowed it to happen.

It might just be word bingo to give you an answer without giving you a meaningful answer, but giving them the benefit of the doubt,  its possible they are looking for a outsider who  has no pre-formed view of the company and is more distant. 

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7 hours ago, rantnrave said:

change management. The successful candidate is expected to oversee and implement a wide-scale strategic review within the first 6 - 12 months.

It could be that they want a hatchet man. He will come, do the deed, be despised, then leave. They are saving you from this. You can't change the mindset of an organisation without changing the staff.

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8 hours ago, rantnrave said:

OK - feedback has arrived.

My application did not apparently demonstrate enough strength with regard to change management. The successful candidate is expected to oversee and implement a wide-scale strategic review within the first 6 - 12 months. While the job role doesn't mention this specifically, it is expected that any suitable candidate would have this in their skillset.

Not sure what to make of that...

Was that expectation on the job spec?

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7 hours ago, Bossybabe said:

Was that expectation on the job spec?

There was a bullet point about understanding importance of strategy and contributing to discussions about strategy. Thought I had that covered in the details I included in my application.

A further thought is that the specialist who was in this role has now literally left the building. There is no-one else in that section who totally grasped the full scope of what she did and where it fits in. The interview panel for her replacement is therefore all HR people - ie, no-one with the specific background which I have and which was the main thrust of my application. On that basis, I might as well have written most of my application form in Swahili. Feeling very deflated about it all today. Glad its Friday.

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9 hours ago, nightowl said:

It might just be word bingo to give you an answer without giving you a meaningful answer, but giving them the benefit of the doubt,  its possible they are looking for a outsider who  has no pre-formed view of the company and is more distant. 

Yes - there could well be an element of that. Am frustrated because I have a lot of ideas for how the role could be done better - based upon solid, relevant experience. Instead, it looks like they're going to bring in a generic management type who specialises in change, but doesn't under the specific sector. Grrr.

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1 hour ago, rantnrave said:

There was a bullet point about understanding importance of strategy and contributing to discussions about strategy. Thought I had that covered in the details I included in my application.

A further thought is that the specialist who was in this role has now literally left the building. There is no-one else in that section who totally grasped the full scope of what she did and where it fits in. The interview panel for her replacement is therefore all HR people - ie, no-one with the specific background which I have and which was the main thrust of my application. On that basis, I might as well have written most of my application form in Swahili. Feeling very deflated about it all today. Glad its Friday.

Don't feel bad. You've got to see that most corporate have no real interest in meritocracy. That all died out when they were a struggling startup. Now they just want total obedience and consistency. They need you to have debt/a mortgage / a family and they actively want you to learn no more than what your role needs.They'll pretend to upskill you, but only in a mediocre way to keep you happy, essentially some sort of course that takes your mind of things for a while. 

The people who want to achieve more just sort of ignore all these rules and do more and meet more people and snake up to the top. They ignore the "rules" set by HR as they know they are made up nonsense.  People often feel this is unfair i.e who you know rather than what you know. But in a world where computers are doing the main activity e.g accounting, banking, sales, marketing etc. and you have hired large pyramid of facilitators you just want to have a stable process. At the top the organisation you need someone who understands this and can read between the lines, can bring in external business or implement using external advice which can improve the day-to-day cost/revenue position you have. 

As always loyalty is not rewarded. It is preyed upon. The the same way we prey upon other human emotions e.g women not feeling they are good enough because they were told they have to be perfect!?, men looking for a quick fix -see DIY aisle/ betting shops, the inability for people to do "Boring" paperwork - so we give them more T&Cs than anyone can ever read, or make you change your utility bill every year to keep a discount!

We have used psychology to examine and exploit the human condition at every turn. We do the same within the workplace.

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