my employer won’t interview me for an open position, even though I’m already doing the work

A reader writes:

I work as a part-time assistant working full-time hours in a very, very small office (think extremely small; it is just me and my boss), and as a result I have taken on many responsibilities in addition to my job description. I did not originally have a problem with this, as it has been lots of hands-on experience most assistants don’t get; plus, the new position that is opening up in my office holds a lot of the responsibilities that I am currently doing. However, I am now beginning to feel that I am being taken advantage of in my current role.

I started this position at the end of spring with a different boss. He was an interim, but really brought a new life to the office (which was run by the previous executive for about 20 years). Fast forward a few months and I have a new permanent supervisor. Without getting too deeply into it, she is totally incompetent in many ways. She seems like she does not want to learn certain essential aspects of her job, constantly drops the ball on numerous important items and meetings, and appears to be trying to create some sort of work-from-home policy of her own (I can probably count on one hand the amount of weeks that she has actually been in the office on all 5 days). As a result, I am always left to pick up the pieces, and I don’t only mean through paperwork. I am talking composing federal reports and leading meetings that are in her job description, not mine.

Now why am I dealing with this (and why would I even want to continue)? Well, like I said, a third position has been created in this office, one that is above my provisional appointment but below her executive one. This office does great work, and this is a field that I would like to stay in, so I applied and thought that I would at least be called for an interview since I am essentially already doing the job, but nothing happened. I should mention that my company uses search committees and the entire hiring process is extremely secretive, so no “networking” here. I know who the search chair is (she works very closely with our office, so she knows me and my role here well), but I can’t say anything to her about the position. However, I did mention to my boss that I applied so that she would not talk to me about the search and give me an unfair advantage (she tends to gossip). I know that by this time they have gone through the resumes/cover letters, and had to have seen my name. I talked to my boss about the position in a slightly informal meeting and she was saying that the pool is bad, and they may have to fail it. In this meeting, she even acknowledged that I have been doing certain things that aren’t in my job description (however, this has not yet stopped her from asking me to do them). Neither she nor the committee appear to even be considering me for the position.

My main problem is not the extra work; it is the fact that I am clearly good enough to do the job, but not good enough to be considered being paid for the job. The fact that I haven’t been even called in for a simple interview has been eating away at me. People praise my work all of the time and some have even joked that they will steal me away from her. I really feel like my boss is trying to keep me as her assistant, but as I am graduating with a master’s this semester, I do not feel like this is what I should settle for, especially since I would then be way overqualified and I am currently doing the duties of the new position. Am I being out of line and expecting too much here, the typical “millennial” kid? Or am I justified in being irritated by this?

What?! No, you’re totally justified and reasonable in being irked by this.

First of all, this is no way to treat an internal applicant even if you were a terrible candidate. They should be communicating with you, and someone should at least talk to you about the job (especially in such a small office). But when you’re actually been doing much of this work? It’s insane that they’re not interviewing you.

And it’s particularly offensive that your boss is mentioning to you that the candidate pool is bad. Um, you’re in that candidate pool. What an obnoxious thing for her to say.

In a normal hiring situation, I’d tell you to reach out to the hiring manager to express interest and ask about the hiring process and timeline. It sounds like that’s not done here (but make absolutely sure that you’re right about that — because that would be your ideal next step, if it’s at all possible).

Bigger picture, though, I’d look at whether you even want to continue working here long-term. Your boss is horrible, and you’re being treated disrespectfully by the organization as a whole (as represented by the hiring committee). I don’t know how long you’ve been there, but maybe it’s time to think about what you want to do next. There are real advantages to getting out of a two-person department, let alone one led by a shoddy manager.

{ 73 comments… read them below }

  1. Persephone Mulberry

    I am very, very confused by this letter. What evidence does the OP have that she is not being considered for the new position, other than that she hasn’t been asked to interview for it yet? If others outside of the OP and the manager are familiar with the level of work the OP is doing, maybe they don’t feel a formal interview is necessary and they’re weighing the outside candidates against that standard. How does she know what the timeline for the hiring process is, if everything is supposed to be “secretive”? Why is she saying on one hand that she doesn’t want an unfair advantage in the process, but in the other is scheduling “informal meetings” to discuss the new position with the same manager that she didn’t want to hear “gossip” from? If she thinks the manager is trying to actively prevent her from moving up in the organization, why is she giving any legitimacy to the manager’s comments about the candidate pool? What is so special about the work of THIS office that she would presumably turn down a position in another part of the organization where her work is actually valued? So. many. questions.

    1. eat my shorts

      OP here. I certainly would have addressed all of this in my letter but I was already over the word limit!

      I know the timeline of the process because my office actually provides the guidelines for the process. If I wasn’t involved in that much, I would know even less. In regards to the informal meeting, I never scheduled it–it just came up in conversation while we were discussing something else, and she was the one who brought up the pool (as Alison rightfully assumed, I was totally offended and thrown off by that statement). The main reason that I told her that I was applying is because: 1) so much of the search documents pass through our office, and 2) since it is a hire for our office, she would more than likely talk about it with me. I had to make sure that my back was covered in case the search was challenged and it came out that I was given an unfair advantage because I had insider knowledge, etc.

      1. fposte

        But guidelines are mostly hopeful–do you know that all the interviewees have been contacted, and have you asked about your candidacy?

        I mean I still think the org is handling this badly, but you might as well get things as clear as possible before you make decisions.

        1. eat my shorts

          I have asked about my candidacy, and my boss pretty much skirted around the answer, so there may be some personal reason that would be borderline discrimination to say out loud, for all I know. What mainly irks me is the fact that I am doing it and not being considered. I don’t necessarily believe flat out that I am the best candidate.

          1. Lisa

            It could be like someone said – that you would skip to the 2nd interview batch, but that the candidate pool is so bad that no one else is being considered for 1st interviews. Essentially, stopping the process in its tracks.

            1. eat my shorts

              My boss told me today that they are currently in the process of 2nd interviews, so no chance for that! I’m going to take everyone’s sage advice and see myself out.

      2. Zahra

        There have been instances of people being considered for a job and by-passing the first interview altogether. I think I remember one person where it was the case and they threw a fit at their manager… only to learn that they would have been called for the second round, but not anymore. In any case, the questions you must ask yourself are:
        1- What will I really gain by doing X? (knowing that they retained your candidacy for the next pool of candidates?)
        2- What do I risk to lose if I do it? (a chance to get the job?)

        In any case, I’d start looking elsewhere for a job. Even if your stay at this company is short, it’s easy to justify it with “I earned a new degree and am eager to use it. Alas, there were no opportunities to do so in old (present) company.” (basically, it’s a matter of fit)

        1. eat my shorts

          Thanks for the advice, as I am now looking to leave even if they for some reason grace me with a chance to interview, due to problems within the office. Either way I would definitely still have to be interviewed for all rounds. If someone who was not hired but qualified came back and contested the search, that would a huge red flag.

        2. Maggie

          If it’s anything like my governmental org, if ‘they fail’ the pool then OP is no longer a candidate for the position, even if it’s reposted. So I can understand her ‘if I ask, I will come off as pushy but if I don’t ask, they may decline the candidate pool and then I won’t be considered at all’. It sucks.

          What sucks more? YOUR BOSS. I wouldn’t want to work for her, regardless of the title.

          1. Angora

            One thing you might want to consider … you are doing parts of her job & she realizes that things will fall through the crack without your assistance. She may keep you in place because it makes life easier for her.

            1. eat my shorts

              Unfortunately I HAVE considered this. However, I cannot sympathize with it at all. I am not the only great assistant out there and I know that there are many job-seekers who would like the chance to work in this office. I could interview them.

            2. bob

              Well she may TRY to keep the OP in place which obviously isn’t going to last long.

              You have to be a pretty crappy boss and/or person to keep one of your employees from moving on to a better position.

              Good luck to you OP!

                1. Angora

                  I recommend that OP look elsewhere, many times if you have worked as an admin assistant at a company that can need see you moving into a different role. They forget that skills that make an administrative assistant extremely good well translate to other jobs as well.

      3. T

        I think Persephone Mulberry makes a good point that you should not rule out positions in other offices of your organization (if that’s a possibility?). If nothing else, at least you have a job while you search for one where you are appreciated.

    2. fposte

      Huh, I felt it made reasonable narrative sense. She doesn’t want to get information inadvertently/underhandedly from her manager based on the manager’s not knowing that she’s in the running; that’s not the same thing as saying she doesn’t want the usual insider’s advantage of being known and having access to the people in the process. She likes the office she’s in and she likes the work she does–she just wants to have the rank and pay for it.

      I think you’ve got a fair point about what she knows about the actual job process, though; while the org should be handling this better, an outright question about whether her candidacy is being considered could be really useful right now.

  2. manager librarian

    And…
    When I came on-board two years ago, the department assistant claimed to have been doing the work of the manager (due to the incompetent, absentee manager…so she said) and therefore should have been considered for my position. ( as had happened in other departments) From the outside this certainly seemed true. I set about creating a higher level position for her to promote after my first six months. From the inside, not so much. No evidence existed that she was as accomplished as she had claimed .Daily tasks of her position were not dealt with in an accurate and timely manner as she was “so busy” with the managerial ones. Ample evidence that the former manager was outstanding. Yes there was a gap when the manager retired and the search committee was interviewing ( there was a failed search and she was on her own from January to November. Within 6 months, I had a very clear picture of her resentment and outsized entitlement.

    1. eat my shorts

      OP here. Wow, I never thought I’d get a reply, especially since my entry was so long! Thank you Alison, and I appreciate any constructive criticism from anyone who would like to provide it. I really sent this question in because I had talked to some friends and family about it and got some conflicting views. Also, like I mentioned in my letter, I’m well aware of the assumption that people of my generation want things to happen for them with little to no dedication. I agree this is true in some cases, but I assure you that for me, it is not. Either way, I wanted some objective advice from a more experienced person (and again, keep the comments coming!).

      Just a few things: I should probably make it clear that my office is highly involved in the search process–we are not HR but we do provide guidelines. That is how I know so much about the timeline, things to look for, etc.

      With that being said, the whole process is designed to be contained between the committee, my office, and HR. So the Chair of this search is going to keep as much from me as possible because those are the rules. It’s not foolproof–I overheard snatches of a conversation in which they were discussing the resume screening, despite the door being closed–but I’ve tried to remove myself as much as possible, and she has made sure to not discuss things with me. We can’t circumvent the rules just because we happen to provide them. So I can’t expect much info from her end; it is just not the typical hiring process.

      I am definitely glad that someone with a bit more experience in this matter doesn’t think I’m just crazy for being irked by this because I was starting to wonder if I was being ungrateful. Needless to say I have been seriously reflecting on whether or not I’ll be staying here.

      1. LawBee

        FWIW, I had no idea how old you are until you mentioned it. It’s not relevant, honestly. I’m GenX and wow did the media hate us. Now we’re the ones hating on the millennials. It’s ridiculous. Don’t define yourself by a media-created tag.

        I’d look for another job. I don’t have anything else really to say – you’ve built up a good skill set, you’ve got a masters degree in the works, why waste it on this crappy boss?

        1. eat my shorts

          I definitely hear you. Like I mentioned before, the age thing only became relevant to me once she started. Also, the salary range for the new position is much higher than I could have imagined to ever consider because to be honest, culturally I was taught to have low expectations (as a female and as a minority). So I have no real-life examples of anyone close to me making that amount of money; my friends who are recent graduates are still struggling to find footing and my parents never had any concept of that sort of salary range at my age. So this situation had me second-guessing and wondering if I was expecting way too much given what I was taught to expect. It certainly isn’t right, but I’m learning to ignore all that white noise!

      2. Maggie

        Ya, STOP with the generational cliche remarks. You’ll only make it worse. And you don’t give yourself the credit you may deserve!

        1. LawBee

          plus, if she’s professional, competent, reliable, and all those other awesome employee words, people who would otherwise judge her for being a “millennial” will assume she’s older anyway!

      3. eat my shorts

        OP here. Thanks guys! To be honest age had never been a factor for me until my current boss entered her position (and it didn’t seem to be a factor for the person before her, either). She constantly makes certain pop culture references and assumes I don’t get them (and even if I don’t, she makes a big deal about it which is clearly irrelevant). She even called me kiddo once, I kid you not. She’s not even old herself, just not as young as I am. I’m REALLY trying to go back to the mindset I had before, but this experience has just made me acutely aware of my age, which really shouldn’t matter, so it sucks. :-/

        1. esra

          Ugh. People who can call me kiddo without being irritating:

          1. My mom.

          And I would so never work for my mom!

      4. Melissa

        I’m in the same generation as you and while the media seems to enjoying playing us as lazy and entitled, some research has actually shown that millennials are actually highly educated and quite willing to work long hours for low pay (much longer hours than workers would’ve worked 15-20 years ago). I have lots of feelings on this topic but I’ll just leave that there.

        1. JB

          The act of avoiding generational assumptions goes both ways, please. When I was starting out, I worked long hours for low pay, as did most of my friends who graduated from college around the time that I did. I’m sure there were plenty of people working less or making more, but I didn’t know them.

  3. jordanjay29

    Having been on a search committee to hire someone for a position, it was my experience that the whole process is highly political and emotionally-charged. Which…seems to defeat the whole point of the search committee over a standard hiring manager running the process.

  4. Anonsie

    Is this one of those things, perhaps, where the company insists that x number of people must be interviewed, but they don’t have enough good candidates to interview x number so they’re just going to scrap and redo the whole thing? So when the manager here suggested that the candidate pool was bad and they were going to mulligan the process, she was trying to tell the LW that the reason she didn’t have an interview yet was because the whole process was being stalled to get more people to interview with her. I’ve definitely seen that happen before, sometimes out of a misguided sense of fairness or liability where the hiring committee seems to think that they are simply not allowed to just take the hire they have in mind (especially an internal one) without an exceptionally thorough external search.

    1. eat my shorts

      Hey, I’m the OP. Nope, she just said that the people applying were crazy, as in lots of unqualified people.

    2. eat my shorts

      Update: 2nd round interviews are in process. I think that it’s safe to say at this point I am not in the running and never was. Needless to say I am looking for employment elsewhere. The whole dynamic of the office has changed since she started and I think that I need to just accept the fact that my time here is pretty much done.

  5. Artemesia

    Did the OP apply for this position with a cover letter laying out the work she was currently doing that is part of this role and of course noting her career goals and new masters?

    I understand letting the current manager know about the application but all insider knowledge and help should be used once that is done. What has the manager said about recommending her for the position?

    Seems odd.

    If it is as stated, it is time to look elsewhere for the next job.

  6. Seal

    My advice to the OP is to take this as a sign and get out ASAP. I was in a similar situation almost a decade ago, but in my case I was told outright not to apply because the organization would not consider hiring internally regardless of the circumstances and/or qualifications of the internal candidate. After 4 years of exemplary work well above and beyond my job description, it was terribly disheartening to hear they were having trouble finding decent candidates. Meanwhile, I was conducting my own job search and wound up accepting a nearly identical position halfway across the country at the same time they hired someone for the internal position. The announcement that I was leaving made for some hilariously awkward moments in my last few weeks; if they had to talk to me, the administrators and search committee members avoided making eye contact. The person they wound up hiring more or less imploded within 2 years and took the department down with her; I was promoted after my first year at my new job and have never looked back.

    1. the gold digger

      The person they wound up hiring more or less imploded within 2 years and took the department down with her; I was promoted after my first year at my new job and have never looked back.

      The only thing that could make this story better would be, “And then they called and begged me to come back.”

      1. Seal

        Still waiting for that! To be honest, despite the fact that I wound up in a far better work situation, I was and still am very sad about how the whole thing played out at my old job. The administration had many options available to get that department back on track and wound up choosing the worst possible solution; many people besides me got treated very badly in the process. The whole thing was completely unnecessary and wholly avoidable. In the end, the department and the organization ended up in worse shape than when they started.

        1. the gold digger

          Seal, when you care about your work and what you accomplish, you don’t want to see it go bad, even if it proves you right. I am sorry that that happened with you – it’s hard to build something and then see all the work lost.

          Maybe they will call. :)

  7. eat my shorts

    OP here. Wow, I never thought I’d get a reply, especially since my entry was so long! Thank you Alison, and I appreciate any constructive criticism from anyone who would like to provide it. I really sent this question in because I had talked to some friends and family about it and got some conflicting views. Also, like I mentioned in my letter, I’m well aware of the assumption that people of my generation want things to happen for them with little to no dedication. I agree this is true in some cases, but I assure you that for me, it is not. Either way, I wanted some objective advice from a more experienced person (and again, keep the comments coming!).

    Just a few things: I should probably make it clear that my office is highly involved in the search process–we are not HR but we do provide guidelines. That is how I know so much about the timeline, things to look for, etc.

    With that being said, the whole process is designed to be contained between the committee, my office, and HR. So the Chair of this search is going to keep as much from me as possible because those are the rules. It’s not foolproof–I overheard snatches of a conversation in which they were discussing the resume screening, despite the door being closed–but I’ve tried to remove myself as much as possible, and she has made sure to not discuss things with me. We can’t circumvent the rules just because we happen to provide them. So I can’t expect much info from her end; it is just not the typical hiring process.

    I am definitely glad that someone with a bit more experience in this matter doesn’t think I’m just crazy for being irked by this because I was starting to wonder if I was being ungrateful. Needless to say I have been seriously reflecting on whether or not I’ll be staying here.

  8. Joey

    The only way this is cool is if they feel like they need some qualified applicants to compare you to and can’t find any. That’s certainly a possibility.

  9. JMegan

    I’ve been there, in that exact position. I was covering a mat leave contract (one year in Canada), and the person I was covering resigned part way through, leaving the FT position open. I expressed interest to my manager, and he said he couldn’t talk to me about it to avoid any appearance of bias or conflict of interest. Fair enough. So when the position was posted, I sent in my application materials through the normal channels, and waited. And waited, and waited, and waited. I wasn’t assuming I would get the job, but I was at least assuming I would get an interview, since I had been doing the job for a year at that point.

    And I waited. I finally contacted HR (using my gmail account, to avoid appearance of bias etc) with a “can you tell me when I’m likely to hear back about an interview” kind of email. The next day, my manager called me into his office and told me that they had a policy about hiring direct from agencies, and since I was there from an agency I was ineligible. Even though the position was posted publicly, and I applied on my own, I was still ineligible. Which kind of sucked, but you’d think he could at least have mentioned that part when I told him six months ago that I was going to apply, right? Nope, he chose to say nothing, and just leave me hanging for months on end.

    I later found out that that policy doesn’t actually exist, or if it does exist, managers can (and do) ignore it all the time. Not only that, but he had already hired someone by the time he talked to me in his office that day! So yeah, I was kind of bitter. Again, I wasn’t assuming I had the job, but I was assuming a certain amount of transparency and respect, rather than being first ignored and then flat-out lied to.

    So, I have no advice for you. :/ Just to say that I’ve been there, and it sucks! I hope you can find a better job soon, with an organization that treats you better than your current one is.

    1. Carey86

      I’ve encountered the same thing and it’s terrible. I was temping as a receptionist while searching for a job in my field. My co-worker kept pressing me to apply for the permanent position, saying that she knew it wasn’t my dream job but it would be a pay check in the meantime and I might be able to move up in the organization. After a lot of soul searching I finally worked up the nerve to ask to be interviewed for the position. I was told that even thought I was already filling the role the company hadn’t budgeted for an agency fee if they made a hire through them so I wasn’t allowed to be considered. I’m older and wiser now, and know that from a business standpoint it makes perfect sense. But as a temp you’re sold the notion that this is a great way to get your foot in the door and get a permanent position. That while it may be hard to get an interview when you’re a faceless candidate if someone has the chance to see your work first hand you will stand a much better chance. Lesson learned I guess.

      1. Kylynara

        Not all companies work like this. Temping can be a great way to get in. I’ve been offered perment positions at 3 of the 4 temp jobs I held. The one I wasn’t offered, was packing up a file room so it could be made in to something else so once it was done, it was done.

  10. Mena

    Sometimes you need to leave to grow …. the organization itself doesn’t let you grow beyond a more junior role, even if you are qualified and experienced.

  11. Christian Troy

    OP, while you are doing some of the work now, you may not be what they’re truly looking for in this role. They might want someone more experienced, more connected, more something. I do agree they owe you a conversation about this since you applied and you work there, but I also think many people are resistant to articulating the fact they just aren’t desperate about filling a role and are looking for some white buffalo in the wild candidate.

    IMO, you cannot really change their expectations for this position, only figure out what’s best for you. I also think at times people get overly comfortable with having employees in certain roles and don’t view them as capable of anything more (not that it’s right or fair, but it happens).

    1. the_scientist

      You know, this is a really good point. I think employers do that a lot- they rely heavily on competent, self-motivated, hard-working employees to fill a stopgap and then when they are forced to actually hire someone to fill the role (because the workload becomes unmanageable) they think “hey, now we have the opportunity to get a candidate with 10+ years experience in this specific thing, who also has an advanced degree and an extended network of great contacts for our organization etc etc etc”-basically, as you said, they are looking for the absolute perfect candidate. However, it’s hard to tell from the outside- it could be that they do really need a specific skill that the OP doesn’t have- but perhaps the OP is good enough at everything else that they can learn that skill quickly. We don’t know.

      It seems to be a trend that employers place very little value on training and growing employees internally (I’m sure this is also helped along by a crappy economy). And as you mentioned, there is also the attitude that the person doing the work but not getting paid for it is just SO GOOD at what they are doing now that you can’t afford to lose them from that (lower) role. This is what has happened to me at my current job and even though I was offered a slight promotion as a compromise it’s becoming clearer that I’ve worked myself into a position where I’m too valuable to lose, in the worst way possible.

      1. eat my shorts

        I think that this is such a valid point. However, being that the office is so small and my boss is so swamped, there is an IMMEDIATE need for hire. I can’t stress that enough. So I thought I would make life easy for everyone (me included, since I like the job) and apply. Not to say that I expected it to be handed to me, but I thought that an interview would be a reasonable expectation.

        And I do think that she considers me to be very good at my current job–plus all of the additional things. Like I said in a previous post, though, that does not mean someone else cannot also be good or I cannot train someone to be just as good. I would probably be the best person to carry out interviews, as I know the sorts of traits and skills that a new assistant would need.

        1. AnotherTeacher

          OP – You sound very level-headed and it seems like you’ve looked at this situation from different points of view. Having witnessed a similar situation in a previous job, I agree with other posters who think you are being taken advantage of. Since you will be graduating soon, you have a good reason to look for a new position anyway. Best of luck to you!

        2. Christian Troy

          I interviewed for a job months ago where the hiring manager was very particular. I had to write an essay, submit a bunch of samples, etc in addition to various interviews. They had a ton of work that needed to be done and really needed to fill the position, but the manager was just so adamant about what she was looking for she decided to post the job again. I’m not sure what is going on in your situation, like I said, they do owe you a conversation but people are weird. I’d probably just focus on myself from this point forward though.

          1. eat my shorts

            I’m sorry that you had to do all of that! I appreciate your advice, though. It’s basically what everyone else has been saying so I’m going to take it.

    2. Ann O'Nemity

      Such a good point. It’s entirely possible that the OP’s company wants to expand the new position beyond the work that the OP is currently doing. And it’s also possible that while the OP is currently doing the work and doing enough to keep the balls in the air, the OP’s company actually wants to see better results. I’ve seen this play out first hand.

      Several years ago, a colleague started taking on a lot of additional responsibilities associated with a new client. The new responsibilities were higher level, and should have come with a bump in salary. The colleague kept things afloat for awhile. Then, a new position was created to take over these responsibilities. My colleague applied but was not hired. He was Pissed, and really felt like he had already earned the job since he’d been doing the work. The new hire had a lot of experience and she started getting WAY better results almost immediately, which is exactly what management had been hoping for. Seeing the new hire perform so well mollified the old colleague and he finally understood why he hadn’t been given the job. (It also helped that the colleague received a year-end bonus in acknowledgement of their hard work.)

      1. eat my shorts

        I hadn’t considered this, thank you. The only reason I was really expecting an interview is because in reading the job description, I’ve literally done everything there. So I guess it’s possible that they may want to expand the role, but that wasn’t made clear in the posting. So a new hire may potentially be blindsided by that.

        1. Ann O'Nemity

          Even if they’re looking for more, I think you deserve better communication than what you’re getting.

        2. Kylynara

          I think what Ann O’Nemity is getting at is a more subjective change in quality, than a different task. Like a web designer looking at a site she designed in High School (and was so proud of) and cringing now at 30 at the blinking text, animated gifs and 15 different fonts. You may be getting the work done, and it could be a case where they feel it looks unpolished, but can’t give feedback on how to polish it. So they want to hire someone with training and experience who can do it better.

      2. dragonzflame

        That happened to me once. I had a not-great manager who had me and one other person on their team. I was working at a lower level than my teammate, and being paid commensurately with that, but we were doing essentially the same work (not really normal in the industry we were in). She left because she wasn’t being challenged enough, and when our manager left, the new (more effective) manager advertised for someone at the level of my former colleague. I thought I’d be a shoe-in and was all yay, more money for the same job!

        Nope. New Manager was actually doing it properly and wanted someone who, in her words, ‘could hit the ground running’ and work at the level my former colleague should have been working at. And that was fair enough – I was in my first job and had no prior expertise of the industry and had no idea of what I’d actually be expected to do.

      3. Cheesecake

        This is a great point. We also had a case where company decided to get “fresh blood” to deal better with upcoming changes.

        What frustrates me is this “internal hiring process” and unwillingness to communicate. In big companies internal candidates management takes time because more factors are in. You can just screen external Cv and cover letter…with internal candidate you check this+company history+performance and potential+succession planning and what not.

        But i understand OP is not working for a corporation with 100000 employees. The fact that noone candidly said ” you are good, but not good enough” sucks big time. I once left because of this lack of transparency and “it is around the corner” promises…and never looked back

        1. Ann O'Nemity

          The fact that noone candidly said ” you are good, but not good enough” sucks big time.

          Yep. Though I think it can be awkward for a manager to say something like, “Thank you for stepping up, stretching out, and working your ass off. That said, your results just aren’t good enough so we’re hiring someone else. You can go back to your old (lower) job now.”

        2. eat my shorts

          Yes, THIS. If I really am not good enough, don’t ask me to do anything that this person would be doing. I feel like their actions have been so misleading.

  12. soitgoes

    OP, the next time someone tries to “steal” you, say, “Oh really? Is there a position opening up in your firm? I love working here, but I’m graduating soon, and I’ll be looking for a full-time position.”

    It might be a bit risky given the way your boss is treating you, but you need to find a new job anyway, and you seem to be receiving these informal half-offers all the time. Might as well have the conversation, or at least indicate that you can’t be expected to remain part-time forever. Your current office isn’t promoting you; they might not intend to keep you on anyway.

    1. eat my shorts

      I have definitely been doing this! I’ve been trying to be discreet in case it gets back to my boss, but I have dropped hints here and there. The main issue with that is the fact that the whole organization does the search committee thing and most of these offices are not hiring at the moment (and they won’t create a line just for me). But I am definitely trying to keep on people’s radars!

  13. John R

    I work for a public agency and this exact thing has happened to me three times now. I’m constantly promised that my chance to move up is “just around the corner” but then months go by and, even though I’m doing the work, I never get the promotion.

    My attitude is “fool me once, shame on you” but now that it has just happened for the third time I’ll tell you what I’m doing.

    I am taking a 3 1/2 week vacation starting next week. I’ll be gone for two weeks. The last week and a half I have four job interviews set up. I have a fairly in-demand skill so the interviews were pretty easy for me to get. I’m going to come back with a smile on my face and, hopefully, a new position.
    I am going to give two weeks notice, even though that isn’t enough because I feel the way I’ve been treated has been very shoddy and that’s all the deserve (they really don’t even deserve that, but I want to keep it professional). This will be especially painful to the agency since they won’t be able to post my old job until the new Fiscal Year begins in July. Oh well.

    1. John R

      Just so I don’t sound too bitter, I don’t automatically expect to be promoted, but just the courtesy of at least being interviewed for a job I’m already doing!

  14. eat my shorts

    Good luck! That’s awesome. I hope you get the opportunity to show them what they’ll be missing.

  15. teclatwig

    OP, I will start by concurring that they are not treating you well, your spidey senses are right about that.

    I am struck by your unit’s active role in helping to ensure fair hiring (is that a fair claim?). Is it possible the hiring folks are so concerned with potential challenges that they have omitted you — consciously or unconsciously — as a potential hire because the potential for appearance of impropriety is so high? You say that you have endeavored to act in such a way that any challenges would be disproven, but there is no guarantee they can say the same of themselves (and perhaps they know they can’t draw the same sorts of bright lines due to their work); maybe they are aiming to make certain sure such accusations are dead in the water.

    If this scenario is accurate, it’s still crappy of them to not tell you what’s up (but maybe that would open them up to charges of impropriety?).

    Sadly, it looks like you need to move on. Congrats on finishing up your degree!

    1. eat my shorts

      Hi teclatwig, yes, you are right in assuming that we help to ensure fair hiring; however, that does not immediately strike out internal candidates. The point of those guidelines are just to make sure that every candidate is treated the same way and the organization can say that they actually looked for people outside of the company. But I have seen other offices conduct interviews and still hire their internal employee, because at the end of the day that is what works best for them. As long as it can be argued that the person was the best fit (and in my case, I expect that a mere interview would not be challenged by the higher-ups given the fact that I am actually doing the work), generally there is no dispute.

  16. Bob

    I had a similar situation at my place of employment. A person put their 2 week notice in and the GM promised the position that same day to an employee. This position came with a raise and extra vacation time. I had all the qualifications and skills that the job description called for. He did not even post the position as our company policy dictates. There is no law that stipulates an employer is obligated to interview you for any position. Here is the big but!!! Under the Constitution and other civil liberties, the pursuit of happiness includes my right to better myself financially and provide a better living for myself and my family. There are other gainful employment issues as well. I am over 40 and the woman given the position was under 40. She actually did not have the level of qualifications nor schooling that I have. I met with HR and informed them that I was going to go to the EEOC and also the ACLU. They agreed that I should have at least been interviewed for the position. They did not interview me since the woman had already been doing the job for almost a month, but the company gave me the raise the position came with and also the extra vacation time. I received all the pay and all the benefits of the position with none of the added responsibilty! Had my manager at least interviewed me, he could have said the woman was a better candidate and that would have been the end of it. There would have really been nothing that I could have done., but failing to even interview me was a mistake on his part.

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