how much transparency does a manager owe employees in an internal hiring process?

A reader writes:

I recently went through a hiring process for a promotion within my department. The interview phase has been over for five weeks, and I suspect that another colleague, Micah, was unofficially offered the role — and unofficially accepted it — about four weeks ago, but due to what’s been described as HR delays, no decision has been communicated to other candidates yet.

I was told yesterday that it may be two more weeks until my boss has any news to share. I believe I was probably the runner-up for the role, and although of course I understand that our manager, Arden, needs to protect her hiring process, and also that her hiring decisions are not about me, I’m curious if it’s normal for a manager handling an internal promotion to let a six-week gap go by between making a firm but technically unofficial decision and communicating it to other direct reports who are waiting for news. Arden is generally a wonderful manager — fair-minded, invested in creating a good environment, and highly attuned to social dynamics — but she tends to err on the side of sharing less rather than more when it comes to sensitive info (which I get), and I think being in this position with competing direct reports may be new for her.

I do realize that this entire letter is predicated on a suspicion; here’s the basis for that. About a week after interviews had wrapped, right when Arden had told us she’d be aiming to make a decision, she and Micah quietly slipped away from their desks together, which is very unusual outside of regularly scheduled 1:1s (and there was nothing on either of their calendars — I checked!). I think this meeting was when she made, and he accepted, the unofficial offer. They were both in a noticeably good mood afterward — in fact, Micah jovially cornered me in front of colleagues later that day to ask if I’d also applied for the role (!), which felt suspiciously like a victory lap. That afternoon, Arden and I had our regularly scheduled 1:1 and she told me that although she’d hoped to have news by now, HR stuff was causing delays and she wouldn’t have anything to report about the role for another few weeks. (I noticed that Micah was just about to go on vacation, followed by her, which could have accounted for some of that delay). Other clues are that after interviewing wrapped, Arden has continued to offer me/consider me for future project work and scheduling arrangements that wouldn’t make sense if she were planning to promote me, plus her general vibe: I felt like she was awkward around me before that meeting with Micah, and then she seemed to relax back into her regular self afterward. She’s also just … not acting like someone who’s hoping I’m about to accept a new role working even more closely with her. Our interactions have been very routine, and the tone of her updates about the job timeline have been super matter-of-fact.

Part of the reason why I ask about all this now, before the outcome has been announced, is that if I find out I didn’t get the job, I’m wondering if there’s any room in that conversation to diplomatically voice my lack of surprise in a way that doesn’t sound like ridiculous sore-loser sour grapes. She is generally very interested in getting honest feedback. Would it be appropriate to say, for instance, “Yes, I had a hunch that you’d gone in a different direction. Of course I’m disappointed that I didn’t get the job, but thank you for the opportunity to interview. [Insert questions about how to be competitive in future, etc.]” My objective would be to tactfully signal that she wasn’t as discreet as she might have thought, but also not to dwell too awkwardly on it.

Generally, how should Arden ideally have handled this final part of the process? Should I be more understanding of the possibility that she’s just making a conservative but reasonable choice to keep her options open in case her first choice falls through, or operating on an HR directive of silence? And is my wish for more transparency fair, or do I just need to deal with the fact that rejection from your own boss sucks?

Assuming that your suspicions are right and Arden did unofficially offer the job to Micah four weeks ago, there are a bunch of reasons why she might not be ready to announce it more officially. For example, she might not have the go-ahead from HR to make it official because they’re waiting on something outside her control, which could be anything from a budget question to something you’d never know about until you hear about it … like “Bob from team X might be moving to team Y and if that happens we want to wrap responsibility Z from his current job into Micah’s new one, and we want to announce all that at the same time so we’re waiting until that’s finalized” or all sorts of other things that need to play out before they make an official move. Hell, it could even be about internal reshuffling within your own team — Arden herself could be moving on or who knows what. The point is, there are often lots of moving pieces that aren’t directly related to the promotion decision but which intersect with it and therefore affect the timing of the announcement.

And in the middle of all that, there can be benefit to Arden going to Micah and saying, “I’m going to be offering you the role but we can’t make it official until (date) because of Y” … both for the benefit of Micah’s own morale and enthusiasm about the new job, and definitely if they’re concerned they risk losing him to an outside offer if a decision drags on.

So yes, ideally you’d be understanding of the reality that Arden’s hands may be tied in a bunch of different ways. She’s probably not dragging this out for the hell of it; there are likely work-related reasons for whatever’s going on with the timing.

It’s of course reasonable to wish for more transparency … but it’s not always realistic to get it.

Now, if indeed your suspicions are correct, should Arden have been more discreet? Maybe. But what you describe — they quietly slipped away from their desks without anything scheduled on their calendars and seemed in good moods afterwards, and she’s continued to offer you normal assignments and have interactions with you that feel routine — isn’t really off-base behavior from a manager in her shoes. What would be more egregious is Micah asking you if you’d applied for the role right after he’d been discreetly told it was his! If you’re right that he’d just been offered the job, that was obnoxious of him. Not in an actionable way but just … ick.

So, about your interest in signaling to Arden that you’re not surprised by the decision, when and if it’s announced: Is it really just that you want her to realize for the future that she should be more discreet? On its face that sounds reasonable, but when you really examine her actions here, it might not be. But is there any element of wanting to demonstrate “this is not crushing news and in fact I already figured it out”? The latter is more ego-driven and, as such, isn’t a particularly useful temptation to give into — although it’s a very human and understandable one.

{ 156 comments… read them below }

    1. The Person from the Resume*

      Yes. It’s frustrating but accept that the reason no one has been notified yet (except possibly Micah) is that the bureaucratic process is slow.

      And it sounds like Arden has been very discreet. She had an unscheduled meeting with a current employee (why are you snooping on their calendars BTW) and she is giving you work and projects like normal.

      1. Anne Wentworth*

        In some offices, it’s perfectly normal to share calendars. In my office, we all share our calendars so we can schedule meetings and know when teammates are unavailable.

        1. Alcott*

          Doesn’t make it any less weird. This wasn’t a case of OP trying to schedule a meeting and saw they were both free. OP saw them meeting then went to the calendar specifically to see what about. OP was snooping.

          1. SarahKay*

            *shrug* maybe OP was. But it’s a very human thing to do in that specific set of circumstances.

          2. Allonge*

            Eh, when you have this information at your fingertips every day, it’s a lot less weird. I also work in a place where we mostly share our calendars (you can designate events as private, or decide to share avaialbility only) – people are used to the fact that your calendar is accessible to everyone and it’s a source of information for all kinds of things. Just as your status on Teams or similar tech things.

    2. another manager*

      I have a role that we interviewed for literally months ago, and we’re still weeks away from the selected candidate’s start date. HR doesn’t want us talking to non-selectees because if anything were to happen between now and the start date, we could go back to that same pool and pick someone without restarting the process, so they want to avoid a “you weren’t picked oops actually yes you were” situation.

      Which, on it’s face, makes sense, but I absolutely feel like the scumbag ghosting hiring manager right now and I know there’s no way the non-selectees don’t think of me as one.

      1. Zarniwoop*

        Actively saying “still waiting on HR” once a week will help them feel you’re not ghosting them.

        1. Sleeping Sun*

          This. I just started in a new job after a 6 MONTHS hiring process, they kept me in the loop the entire time (even if it was that they haven’t made a decision yet) and it help a lot.

      2. Feckless Rando*

        I don’t understand why the “sorry you weren’t picked oops actually yes you are” Would be such a big deal? It’s happened to me before that I got an official rejection then a few weeks later the recruiter called and asked if I was still interested/available. I was and I worked there for several years. The only argument for this practice that comes to mind is that the company doesn’t want to cut candidates loose and have them move on to other opportunities, but if you’re in the middle of a job search, aren’t you kind of supposed to do that anyway even if they don’t officially close the loop and reject you?

        1. Allornone*

          Yeah, while on the surface it can be awkward, it doesn’t necessarily have to be. We interviewed for a position a few months ago. It came down to two candidates- a man and a woman. The hiring manager and I preferred the woman (the guy was giving off blowhard vibes), but the HR firm we outsourced to wanted to hire the man. So we did. He quit before his first day for another job, which we heard through the grapevine he quit within a week as the (actually very well-respected and highly regulated) organization was “too unprofessional.”

          The woman had been offered a lesser role in our organization, which she had politely declined. Between us not originally choosing her, and then offering her something below her intentions, she could have been insulted by the process and it could have been awkward. But nope! When we came back to her with the original role, she happily accepted and is doing a phenomenal job (it helps that she knows we really did want her originally).

          P.S. Third part Hiring/HR firms kinda suck sometimes.

        2. Chilipepper Attitude*

          It could be a deal, not so big, because you might have taken another job once they rejected you. If they wait till the other person accepts, then it is less likely you have moved on, and they can avoid restarting the process.

          But in your case, the other person could have said yes, but something changed to prevent them actually taking the job.

          1. Your local password resetter*

            On the other hand, that only works in the short term.
            Nobody is going to wait around for months and decline all other offers just in case they get picked for this job. So you might as well be up front about it.

        3. pally*

          Depends upon how that appears to the candidate.
          Did they offer a reasonable explanation as to why they reached out to you? If so, then yeah, why not pursue things?

          I experienced something similar as a candidate. But it went sideways. See, after my first interview, I was told I’d be moved forward in the hiring process. It was a really good interview.

          Then I received a rejection email.

          Then I received a survey from HR that read “congratulations on your new job! Tell us about your hiring experience!”

          I called the HR person who interviewed me and she confirmed. I was rejected. She assured me that no mistake was made here.

          I then emailed the survey sender. Told them that they were mistaken. I didn’t get the job (hurt to get that congrats too!). So they sent me the alternative survey: “tell us about your candidate experience”. Ouch!

          The HR interviewer called the following week with “oops! There was a mistake. You ARE on the list to be moved forward in the hiring process!” (No details given as to what mistake was made). I pointed out that she herself had told me that no mistake had been made. She begged me to come in for the interview with the hiring manager. Figured this was probably an error of some sort as well. No thanks.

          1. goddessoftransitory*

            So they sent me the alternative survey: “tell us about your candidate experience”.

            Getting worse by the minute, actually! Geez, this is a real life version of that “NOT GREAT, BOB!” Mad Men meme!

          2. Former Usher*

            I received a rejection letter once *after* I had already started the job. Oops.

            1. Expert Paper Pusher*

              I’ve had this happen as well– apparently our application system sent it out to everyone who applied once the role was filled. No filtering out the person who actually got the job. At least an automated system is better than ghosting?

      3. Nina*

        I’m in a field where international hiring is really, really common – it can be three to six months between someone signing their contract and actually starting, all of it pending visa approval, and until the new hire has their visa in their passport and is definitely coming, it would be unusual for a company to tell any internal hires for the position that they definitely didn’t get it. Obviously, if it’s taking forever that’s your cue that someone’s been hired from overseas, but sometimes the immigration department just… say no.

    3. Sparkles McFadden*

      I’ve never seen any hiring (internal or external) take less than three months. Plus management usually uses an open position as an opportunity to reevaluate roles and maybe shift people and assignments around, and that prolongs everything.

    4. mreasy*

      If they’re putting together an offer and negotiating back and forth, definitely… at my last job my internal promotion took 4 months.

    5. Arthenonyma*

      I think it’s missing LW’s point a bit to say this (or to list off all the reasons hiring can take time, as other commenters are doing). My understanding is that they know the formal process hiring takes time but feel that since they’re an internal candidate, Arden should have given them an unofficial heads up that the job has been offered to Micah (if it has) even if things haven’t been formalised yet.

  1. jtr*

    I agree that Micah’s behavior is way more ick than Arden’s at this point. The only way that I can see that NOT being negative is if he was actually unofficially told he didn’t get the job in that private meeting.

    1. Aquamarine*

      Or maybe he wanted to know of OP applied because he was concerned things might get weird when he’s promoted. Internal promotions can be awkward for coworkers.

      If he didn’t know that the OP suspected he already got the job, asking wouldn’t have seemed so strange.

      1. Green great dragon*

        I think you’re right about the ‘might be weird’ thing, but if so he should ask Arden, who can give him the info if she thinks it’s necessary. Asking LW without sharing his own info, just as LW is beginning to realise they haven’t got the role, is definitely not cool.

        1. Aquamarine*

          I agree he shouldn’t have handled it that way, but I think he probably didn’t know the LW was beginning to realise they didn’t have the role – the LW had to do some sleuthing to figure that out (and isn’t sure if they’re correct yet).

          1. jtr*

            I agree that he probably didn’t realize LW was suspicious already (that’s a weird word to use in this context, but…), but I think that even if he were worried about fallout, it’s a not-good way to go about it. Personally, in a similar situation (multiple people from my team applying for a promotion, which I eventually got, all of us on the team talked to the rest of the team about who had applied and was interested in the job even before the interviews. Why should that be a secret?

            I also talked to the other members who hadn’t gotten it after the official announcement one on one to make sure they were all ok with the result.

      2. Mainly Lurking (UK)*

        What most people don’t seem to have noticed is that Micah cornered the OP ‘in front of colleagues’.

        That’s not a very discreet way to go about things and to me is more suggestive of a ‘victory lap’.

    2. The Person from the Resume*

      He asked the LW in fron of colleagues if he’d also applied for the role. I find it interesting the LW referred to being asked a question as being “cornered.” There’s dramatic language throughout the letter that is making me think the LW telling the story dramatically.

      OTOH I think it’s superwierd that Micah and everyone did not already now which internal candidates applied for the job. LW knows that Micah applies; if it’s being kept a secret how did he find about Micah. I don’t think folks should know the names of external candidates, but wouldn’t the office know who was throwing their hat in the ring for an internal job?

      There’s some odd secrecy in this whole letter overall.

    3. Parcae*

      Speculation, I know, but Micah’s behavior would make sense if he and Arden were discussing him moving into a /different/ role in their clandestine meeting. I imagine Arden describing this cool opportunity to him, then slipping in as an aside that they have someone else great in mind for the role he interviewed for. So he comes out of the meeting all upbeat and happy about this new position, but also a bit curious about who’s going to end up with the original job.

      1. SarahKay*

        I was wondering (and slightly hoping) if it was something like that too, not least because that’d be a good outcome all round. I’d love to get an update on this one to see if Micah did get the role – and how they behaved if so.

    4. goddessoftransitory*

      That came across way more “geez, dude” than Arden’s actions as described, for sure. Subtle as drunk pony there, Micah!

    5. I'm Just Here For The Cats!!*

      Or maybe Micha is fishing to see who else has applied because a choice hasn’t been made yet.

    6. tamarack etc.*

      Yeah, probably. In a similar situation at my workplace, we always talked about it among ourselves *before* interviews started. It’s an advantage of a good, collegial climate.

      (The situation was that both myself and a researcher who got their PhD a few years before me applied for the same tenure-track position. We both got an in-campus interview, as did an external candidate, but my impression was it was between the internal colleague and myself. They got the job, I didn’t. I was glad we had talked about it before the interview round – which I initiated.)

    7. rebelwithmouseyhair*

      Yeah especially as OP felt like he cornered her, in front of other colleagues too, which really wasn’t cool at all. I react very badly to being cornered, and if the other colleagues remember the conversation once Micah is promoted, they’ll all realise he was actually crowing, that OP was the loser.
      I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t want Micah to have authority over me.

  2. StressedButOkay*

    Micah’s (potential) ‘victory lap’ is the one thing that’s sticking out as not appropriate, considering that Arden’s hands could be tied by all the things that Alison listed. I don’t think there’s anything that can be done but it would make me a little more cautious around Micah moving forward if OP’s suspicions are confirmed.

    1. MigraineMonth*

      On the one hand, a victory lap sounds completely inappropriate. On the other hand, I can imagine asking other people on my team if they applied for the same promotion so I could be tactful about it.

      I don’t know, it just seems like LW is ascribing malicious motivations to some pretty typical behavior. I frequently talk privately with my manager outside of our formal 1:1’s without scheduling a meeting and am upbeat afterwards because I enjoy taking a break from work to socialize. Similarly, there are a dozen possible reasons why Arden hasn’t communicated the decision, including that she might not have made a decision!

      1. Cat Lady in the Mountains*

        this. OP’s reaction assumes that Micah both 1) got the job and 2) knows he got the job. If we assume instead that Micah is in the same waiting game as OP, would it be weird that he asked this?

        I could imagine that meeting between Micah and the boss being about a billion other things – maybe Micah got good news about a project he was working on, or he found out he didn’t get the promotion but is getting a big raise that he’s still thrilled about and was quicker to process, or there’s going to be a restructuring and he’s moving to a different team he loves working with, or he just got a big vacation approved, or he got positive feedback about how the interview went but nothing is decided yet, or…

        It also could’ve been about the job. It could have been exactly what OP suspects, and if so, Micah’s “did you apply?” question is pretty yuck. OP just doesn’t know right now, and it seems like the speculation is taking an awful lot of brainspace that they might be happier using on something else.

  3. my experience*

    Personally I think OP’s wording “Yes, I had a hunch that you’d gone in a different direction. Of course I’m disappointed that I didn’t get the job, but thank you for the opportunity to interview…” is quite professional and good language to use — but doesn’t get at OP’s stated goals. If I was a manager that heard this, I don’t think I’d take it as a signal that I should be more discreet in the future. I agree with Alison that I’d be more likely to hear this as “this isn’t a crushing blow” (which as a manager, I’d feel relieved about!) So personally I think it’s fine to say this!

    1. Slowpoke*

      Yeah, to me, this response reads as “I know how to read the writing on the wall and process my disappointment professionally,” which doesn’t seem like a bad thing. Saying you are not surprised but appreciate being considered basically just explains your lack of reaction—I don’t personally see it as saying “you couldn’t deal me a crushing blow, try as you might!” I guess it all depends on tone of voice, though.

    2. I'm Just Here For The Cats!!*

      The thing is I don’t see anything about Arden not being discreet. All I see is Arden and Micha leaving to talk privately and coming back in a good mood. And then later she said that she didn’t have news to share yet. Theres nothing to show that Arden was not discreet. There are thousands of reasons why Micha and Arden slipped away. They could be having an affair! Micha told her some confidential good news like their partner is pregnant, or they just happened to see a marching band of clowns. It’s not OP’s business why they met. they need to take a chill pill.

      1. Lulu*

        Yes, and I’m not sure why the goal is complete discretion. There’s a certain amount of deciding you don’t know some things that haven’t been shared with you yet in any office. I doubt Arden’s goal was ever “never let the employee know anything about where we are in the process.” It was “I don’t have the ability to share anything yet, so I won’t.” We all get hunches. It wasn’t top-secret, classified information. I would be pretty thrown off if someone responded to me after this with “I had a hunch! That was your fault!!”

      2. tamarack etc.*

        Yeah, just because the OP figured it out – if indeed they did – it doesn’t mean that Arden wasn’t discreet enough. There are always *some* signs somewhere, and the OP seemed to have been quite intent on picking up any vibes that might transpire.

      3. Alcott*

        I don’t quite know how to word it, but OP seems really intent on having been wronged here. Like, OP is looking for a secret subversive meaning to every little action, word, and punctuation mark. It’s coming across as paranoid. I’m wondering if Arden is picking up on the paranoia and is trying to be aggressively normal in their interactions as a response.

    3. Employee of the Bearimy*

      Yes, I’ve given a similar response in a similar situation, and it was entirely to put my manager’s mind at ease, since he had encouraged me to apply and I wanted him to know there were no hard feelings.

    4. MCMonkeyBean*

      I agree, and I was a little surprised at the suggestion at the end that saying it to indicate you think the boss should have acted differently would be fine but saying it to indicate that you are not crushed and kind of already knew was not–I feel it is the opposite. I think it makes sense to politely and professionally indicate to the boss you suspected it was the case and have accepted the decision! I think the manager would be glad to know that and their working relationship could return to normal more quickly.

  4. Ginger Cat Lady*

    Seems like you’re overthinking all this – and maybe lay off the detective work for your own mental health.

    1. T.N.H.*

      Yes, what’s to gain from all this? I don’t think LW should be giving any feedback because all of this is pretty routine. It’s understandable to be disappointed, but don’t channel that into obsessing over the dynamics.

    2. Jenn*

      for real.

      this reads like something a (thankfully!!) former coworker of mine would right. She’d read all kinds of things into things that has literally nothing to do with her.

      Even if this does have relevance to LW, this is a really unhealthy way to look at any of this and I’m surprised Alison didn’t call out LW on that.

      Also, is snooping other people’s calendars normal behavior? My office is just not good at using the online calendars at all so that seems super ick because the physical version of it would be. But maybe I’m off base.

      1. MigraineMonth*

        I agree that reading motivation into everything is a path to madness: I was certain one of my past managers was out to get me, and as a result I behaved in an unreasonable way that got me fired.

        As for calendars, looking at coworkers’ online calendars can be very normal. I look at coworkers’ calendars every time I schedule a meeting, which might be 5 times a week. (They have the option to mark their calendar “private”, in which case I only see when they are available and when they aren’t, but it isn’t commonly used.)

        I don’t think I’ve ever looked at a coworker’s calendar just to know who they were meeting with, though; I honestly don’t care enough to do so.

      2. Green great dragon*

        I wouldn’t call it ‘snooping’ in calendars – totally normal here for work-related purposes. Is boss likely to give me comments on my report soon or is she in meetings all day, when’s Bob back from leave, did Alice get invited to that meeting or do I need to get her added to the list…

      3. allathian*

        In my organization, all calendars are open to the whole organization, but we can flag personal appointments as private and that means that not even our managers can see them (the IT department could, but there’s no reason for them to check appointments and they have too much work as it is to go snooping).

        Work-related meetings have the name of the meeting visible to others, but you can’t see who else is attending a meeting unless you’ve been invited yourself.

    3. Anne Elliot*

      This is my thought at well, with all due respect to the LW. I’m not sure what level of discretion Arden could have engaged in that would have been sufficient when the LW has gone full Encyclopedia Brown on her.

      1. Somehow_I_Manage*

        It’s pretty easy to slip into 0bsession territory over something as fundamental as your livelihood. Especially knowing that others are discussing your potential behind closed doors. Ultimately, it’s not healthy, and it can skew your perception of otherwise normal behavior.

        For OP, try to keep perspective that you’ve done your part. What happens happens. There’s no sense wasting energy grieving over an outcome that hasn’t happened yet (and may not happen). There will be plenty of time to process it when it’s decided.

        1. Bunny Lake Is Found*

          Yeppers. Like, send an invite for a same-day (or next morning) all hands or department-wide meeting and all of us tend to turn into Jessica Fletcher.

    4. Sloanicota*

      It’s a question to me. They say the boss hasn’t been discrete enough, but she’s actually been very discrete, OP is just using advanced EQ skills to suss out the truth. If anything, the concern is that OP wants more transparency, but unfortunately that may be unrealistic. A lot of stuff around workplace decisions is about plausible deniability. Every workplace I’ve ever been in, even tiny ones, tiptoe around this stuff. It does stink but it’s the flipside of knowing you’re going to give notice before you actually give it. You want to control the message and the timing.

      1. Rose*

        Using EQ skills to diss out the truth is assuming all of her guesses are correct. To me, this read like she was obsessive in a way that was pushing her towards paranoia. Most of what was written didn’t even make sense.

        She had a planned meeting with her boss where her boss shared a significant update on the hiring process. Her boss also pulled Micah aside, which OP finds highly suspicious, but logically, if her boss was sharing news, and she and Micah were going to be gone for a couple of weeks, it makes a lot sense to pull Micah aside and share that same news.

        OP is reading really deeply into something that’s not really a big deal, and there are a million reasons two people would walk out of a meeting smiling that are not a job offer.

    5. CR*

      Agreed. This is all just a lot of assumptions. Spend your energy on looking for a new job.

      1. MigraineMonth*

        Eh, I’d wait first to see if I’d gotten the job, since that’s nowhere near as clear to me as it is to OP. A manager talking to a report outside of a scheduled meeting and a manager making project assignments based on a candidate’s current job aren’t exactly smoking guns.

      2. Rose*

        Or spend your energy on your current job if you were happy before, because other than publicly asking if you applied for a job (which is awkward but has many far less nefarious explanations than OPs guess of a “victory lap”), and checking coworkers calendars in a slightly nosy way, no one did anything wrong here.

    6. BRR*

      Yeah this letter just gives me vibes of job hunt overthinking, which we’re all guilty of. I don’t think Arden really did anything wrong. If I were the LW, I’d really think about what your goal is because I’m not sold on “she wasn’t being as discreet as she thought” and I don’t really think there’s anything to gain by bringing it up, if everything is true.

      1. Sloanicota*

        I think the real issue is, it would have been a kindness for the company to offer an update on the status of OP’s candidacy (only because she is internal and has to see all these people every day) around 2 weeks after she interviewed. It might not be a very satisfying update, because they can’t officially announce anything, but they could have said, “we have other candidates we’re pursuing first, and you’re about midway down our list at this point. We will let you know if that changes. We won’t be ready to make an official announcement for several more weeks.”

    7. Teekanne aus Schokolade*

      As a former recruiter I understand the e line of thinking as OP, but I have to agree with Ginger Cat Lady because there is always the chance OP could have misinterpreted everything. I once had someone we were super eager to hire get really snippy with us when they thought the position had been filled without telling them. We had actually been working to get the original position upgraded to a higher level that would have better matched their qualifications and been better in pay. As government contractors we weren’t at liberty to share the process, but in the meantime (in just a matter of weeks) the candidate became so overwrought with assumptions that they became quite unprofessional and we ended up dropping them from our consideration, which was good for us in the end.

    8. Generic Name*

      This is totally something I would do. Often, I’m wrong. Here’s a good example. I’m looking for a new role. I met with a colleague and let them know and they said that they were going to post a job and thought of me and asked me to apply. We chatted a bit about what I’m looking for, etc. The posting came out, and I applied. A few weeks later, I get a form rejection. I was slightly peeved that they didn’t even offer me an interview given that they asked me to apply, but I figured there must have been a ton of kickass applicants and I just didn’t make the cut. Fast forward a week or so, and I get an email from the person who asked me to apply thanking me for applying to the role and said that the direction the role went in was different than they initially thought, and based on our initial conversation, I was clearly not a fit (a major component turned out to be something I said I hate doing).

      I guess what I’m saying is that when someone does the kind of sleuthing you (and me!!) tend to do, it often leads to wrong conclusions. Maybe mentally leave room for being incorrect about your assumptions on one hand, but if your assumptions lead you to conclude something that feels comforting to you, I don’t think it’s a huge problem. Maybe just don’t take big actions based on something you imagine is happening. Let it play out and then be gracious with whatever the outcome is.

  5. The Rat-Catcher*

    I hope this isn’t the case because Micah’s response was wild. Who takes a “victory lap” after being promoted internally over other current members of your team? I’d be dreading that announcement and happy for it to be put off a bit.

    1. KayDee*

      Could the letter writer be projecting just because they want to feel like everyone but them is the AH here? Could it have been done in a not at all smug, not at all celebratory way because he was just trying to get the lay of the land? If he know LW applied as well, he might approach early conversations with LW differently than he would if he knew LW didn’t apply and wasn’t feeling rejected over not being selected. I would certainly want to know, and would change my approach with a person I know was also attempting to get the promotion.

    2. MK*

      Except the guy did not in fact do a victory lap or anything like it; he asked a coworker if she applied for an internal promotion.

      1. Lilo*

        Micah might be in the exact same boat and is trying to suss out information. Micah might be trying to figure out if LW got the job.

      2. Mainly Lurking (UK)*

        But he chose to do that in front of an audience – instead of in a private conversation.

        1. MigraineMonth*

          I don’t think I’d expect privacy for a quick “hey, I applied for the promotion, did you too?” question. It’s possible Micah is just more open about these things than LW.

    3. learnedthehardway*

      I feel like Micah shouldn’t have asked the question, whether or not he was informed he had been selected for the role.

      But I also think that Micah probably wasn’t doing a victory lap about it – more likely, he’s just trying to figure out what his competition is for the position.

    4. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

      > Who takes a “victory lap” after being promoted internally over other current members of your team?

      Someone that bosses ought to have reservations about promoting to a senior position, if this is what that was.

  6. KayDee*

    I feel like the letter writer is looking for a way to feel better about the whole thing, and telling someone “I don’t like how you did this” feels to them like it would do the trick. But it’s not going to change the outcome, the manager didn’t really do anything wrong, and the letter writer will look strange for trying to correct the managers behavior, which was probably 100% correct in context of facts the manager already has and the letter writer will find out later.

    1. Aggretsuko*

      Agree with this. There’s nothing you can really do to make it better, and they may not announce right off for, I dunno, HR reasons or whatever.

    2. Sloanicota*

      Yeah, this is my “no good way to break up” theory. It never feels good to get the message, and sometimes we refocus that anguish onto the way it was delivered (a post it note! A voice mail! On my birthday! Right before Christmas!) whereas really we just didn’t want to be broken up with :(

      1. The Unspeakable Queen Lisa*

        I mean, there are better and worse ways. I will forever argue that the guy who dumped me in the middle of my birthday party on his way out the door was a dick. It’s true I didn’t want to be broken up with, but that was a crappy way to do it.

      2. Rose*

        No one wants to be broken up with, but doing it on a post it or the persons birthday is legitimately awful.

    3. Nesta*

      This makes a lot of sense to me. LW, you sound a lot like me. I’m very good at making connections and seeing patterns, and it can be very easy to put things together. If I didn’t end up being correct about it most of the time, I would think “well I’m just leaping to conclusions,” but when you end up being right about what you think… it’s hard to turn that off.

      So, assume that you are right about everything here. You aren’t getting the job and your boss was acting awkward, and Micah did want to take a little dig at you. Let yourself feel the hurt of that and that it is a big deal to you. You don’t have to show this to them, but you don’t have to downplay it to yourself. But if you want them to regret their behavior… this isn’t a realistic goal. I’ve felt the same way myself at times. I want people to feel a little crappy when I feel I’ve been done wrong. I think that’s a perfectly human way to feel, but not realistic that it will happen.

      What I would do is think about if assuming all those things are true, how do I want to proceed? Do I want to be more professional and maintain more boundaries/distance with those two? Do I want to consider looking for positions elsewhere? Have I been giving a little too much of myself to the job and now I need to re-prioritize? Do I need to have a vent session with a friend who will hate them on my behalf? Do I want to add other things to my life so I’m not feeling the loss of something I wanted as much?

      In other words, focus on yourself and the ways you can feel you have achieved some justice without them feeling a certain way. I may be drawing the incorrect conclusion, but I suspect you want them both to feel a little shamed for their behavior so that you can feel the scales are balanced, but in my experience if you hang being able to move on on that happening… you aren’t going to get what you need. Think about what you need and make that priority number one, and let yourself forget about them.

      1. Mainly Lurking (UK)*

        Yes, this is something for OP to vent to friends and family about, but pursuing the matter at work won’t help.

      2. Sparkles McFadden*

        Yes to all of this! You need to make this about you and your needs and not about anyone else.

      3. Bunny Lake Is Found*

        I still would caution assuming Micah was taking a dig. The fact it seems like LW knew Micah applied, but he somehow didn’t know LW did, along with the level of subterfuge that potentially is happening if Arden made a soft offer to Micah, I could absolutely see a situation where Micah thought pulling LW aside would be too much of a “give away” about the offer and felt the group setting was more “casual”…and would prevent LW from asking if Micah heard anything (because if Arden said not to say anything, Micah’s only option is to lie which would make the whole situation even more awkward).

        1. Bunny Lake Is Found*

          And just to clarify, I am cautioning because I think it will make it harder for LW to move past the situation if they view Micah, who got the job over them, as de facto acting unprofessionally.

          It will add resentment into the mix which could color LW’s interactions with Micah–and LW is trying to ensure they are presenting themselves professionally, and “un-sour grapes-y”.

  7. Snow Globe*

    I’m trying to figure out here is if there is anything specific that you think Arden should have done differently? Assuming that there is a business reason for postponing the announcement (which is outside of Arden’s control) it’s hard to point to anything that Arden is doing wrong. Yes, it seems you may have figured it out, but that’s because you are really focused on noticing small things that most people wouldn’t expect you to notice (e.g., that they did not have a meeting on their calendars that day).

    There really isn’t any basis to complain here.

    1. Green great dragon*

      This is where I land. LW doesn’t seem quite clear whether they’re complaining Arden was insufficiently transparent in not telling him (reasonable! but maybe she was waiting until she was absolutely sure she wouldn’t end up giving LW the role) or whether they’re complaing she was insufficiently discreet (which I don’t really get – all she did was visibly have a meeting and be in a good mood, and I don’t think they have to carefully depart the room 15 mins apart to avoid suspicion or whatever).

      Micah, on the other hand…

      1. MigraineMonth*

        I’m not even sure Micah’s behavior is particularly bad, if we take out the assumption that it was a victory lap. It sounds like LW wanted to keep the fact that they had applied for a promotion secret, but it isn’t an outrageous question to ask.

    2. umami*

      Yeah, that’s a bit over the top, to be noticing they had a conversation and to also go and check their calendars to see if they had an actual meeting scheduled. I get wanting to know, but this level of observation is rather extreme, and it makes sense to wait to announce until everything pans out (for example, sometimes promotions require a background check, or salary negotiations could be ongoing, etc.). If it helps LW to feel like they know the outcome so they can mentally prepare, that’s one thing, but to use it in any actionable way with her supervisor would not be strategically beneficial.

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        I agree that the motivation is a bit much but the calendar “snooping” would be nothing in my office. It’s so very normal to look at each other’s calendars for a variety of reasons, including “where is x right now” and “x is leaving when will they be back” and “I need to bother x for something that might be mood dependent what was their day like today”. I’d need to know more about what’s normal in OP’s office to really call it over the top or extreme.

        1. umami*

          The main thing though is OP didn’t actually have a work-related need to check, she checked out of curiosity assuming it was related to the position. I’m not sure what she was hoping to find – a calendar item saying ‘Discuss job offer with Micah’? Looking at people’s calendar to schedule something is quite different from looking at people’s calendar to suss out information that hasn’t been shared with you, especially if it is causing her anxiety. Plus she didn’t actually learn anything besides there wasn’t a meeting on the calendar, which told her … nothing, in the end. I’m not sure what conversation she could have around that without sounding strange, i.e. ‘I had a feeling I wasn’t chosen because one day you had a private meeting with Micah, even though you didn’t have it on your calendar, and I know this because I checked’. Essentially, the level of digging she is doing is only harming her mentally because it’s not really giving her any actual answers.

          1. Fnordpress*

            Well, you can say OP shouldn’t have looked, but it’s not snooping if it’s publicly available information. Snooping is looking for info that doesn’t belong to you. Also, checking the calendar for scheduling is functionally identical to checking it for personal reasons in that all you’re doing is clicking a button and viewing information. The only “crime” occurred in your head.

            1. Eldritch Office Worker*

              Yes this is the point I was trying to make. People definitely look at each other’s calendars here for just curiosity. Is that 100% cool? I’d have to really analyze the thought process and that’s just not always a thing.

            2. umami*

              I didn’t ever say they were snooping or committing a crime, or even that they shouldn’t have looked. Just that it was a ‘bit’ OTT to see a conversation and then go check their calendars to confirm … something they couldn’t confirm. Not sure why you are taking that as an indictment of what they did, just that it wasn’t at all helpful if the goal was to confirm that there was a valid reason for them to be talking. They can have a valid reason to be talking that is not on the calendar, so it was not helpful to OP to invest energy in checking their calendars and drawing conclusions based on what the did or didn’t find.

              1. AngryOctopus*

                And really, had a meeting been scheduled between them, would that add any information? It would not. I get where OP is coming from (would like promotion! Wants information!) but this is really not a good way to go about it.

      2. longtime reader*

        I agree with the overall sentiment that LW needs to just sit tight and shouldn’t try to take any action, but I’m surprised so many people perceive LW’s observations as over the top here. I think it’s pretty common to be on edge when you’re waiting to hear about a job decision, and even more so when it’s an internal role since you’re expect to act “normal” around others involved in the process while you wait. Having worked in a small office where situations like this might arise, it doesn’t seem unusual to me that LW would notice two people on their team having a meeting, nor does it seem extreme to check their calendars out of curiosity — teams have access to their coworkers’ calendars specifically to be able to see if they’re busy, and they had nothing on their calendars, which LW said was out of the ordinary for their office. It doesn’t sound like Arden did anything egregiously wrong either, it’s just a frustrating process and LW is clearly uncomfortable playing the waiting game, so they are grasping for any answer to make it less miserable.

        1. Snow Globe*

          I don’t think the LW’s actions are over the top—totally understandable to want to know! I just don’t think it’s reasonable to think that Arden is being indiscreet when it’s really the LW being hyper focused on what’s happening.

          1. umami*

            Yes, I don’t fault OP for what she did, only that her own actions are what is giving her anxiety. It’s one thing to check and then say oh, that’s weird, they don’t have a meeting, but also, her hyper-focus on the outcome of the promotion and reading all of Arden’s and Micah’s actions through that lens is not helpful or a sign that she is being wronged in some way.

    3. ferrina*

      Yeah, I really don’t know how Arden could have been more discrete. It seems like she’s doing a pretty good job here.

      And there are so, so many things that could be going on. Reorgs, budget constraints, another team restructuring their responsibilities that might change how you interact….so many things that could be totally out of Arden’s hands.

  8. Corelle*

    Hang ups I’m aware of in similar situations:

    The chosen candidate didn’t have a required qualification for the job, HR didn’t discover the gap until late, and they’re negotiating whether an exception can be made. (She was in an analyst role which normally required a degree but rare exceptions were made and she was one, HR assumed she had a degree because 99.9% of analysts did, and no exceptions were technically allowed for the next step up. She did wind up getting the job but had to commit to a specific plan to get her degree.)

    The chosen candidate negotiated pay and the negotiations went on for a long time.

    Someone involved in the announcement was on vacation and the announcement was delayed so they could participate in it.

    The hiring manager accepted a different role and their boss and HR wanted to let the new manager make a hiring decision instead.

    The preferred candidate’s job change raised compliance concerns that management didn’t have an easy answer for, and they delayed the announcement until they figured it out.

    One or more candidates were involved in wrapping up an extremely critical and time sensitive project and management didn’t want the announcement to disrupt the project.

    I went three months without a decision on a transfer earlier this year. A few years back, I applied for a promotion and never actually got rejected, I just heard someone else got it through the grapevine at a happy hour.

    1. Sparkles McFadden*

      …and let’s not forget the always annoying delay because upper management wants to run numbers and see if they can make do without filling any open positions at all.

    2. Samwise*

      Or they’re doing a background check on Micah and it’s going slowly.

      Yes, employers will do background checks on current employees if that’s the process. And while it’s annoying (delayed announcement of an internal job change I was offered), it’s understandable — just because you hadn’t done anything naughty when you were hired, who knows what you’ve been up to since then. I joked with my boss that I hoped they wouldn’t discover my secret life of crime.

  9. bamcheeks*

    Oof, LW, that’s an extremely crappy situation! I interviewed for an internal promotion once and they got back to me and the other (successful) candidate same day.

    I recognise that there may be unavoidable delays sometimes, but they should very much be extraordinary exceptions. It must be incredibly disruptive to have several colleagues wandering around for several *weeks* waiting to hear whether or not they’re due to moved into another role. It’s one thing for that to happen when you’ve interviewed externally, but why would you want that level of disruption on your *own team*?

  10. Darkangel*

    The delay could be many things. Maybe Micah negotiate the promotion, for example asking for a bigger raise then proposed, and RH needs to approve what ever was asked. As a manager, I would be minful of at least acknowledging that the delay is not ideal for the people waiting for an answer.

  11. umami*

    I would suggest just letting it all go. It’s not going to be productive for you mentally to ascribe meaning to your observations just because you are trying to divine what decision has been made, and I don’t know that you will gain anything by insinuating that you ‘knew’ based on your observations.

  12. Kindred Spirit*

    I think OP is on high alert, and that can make someone read into interactions that may be transactional and work-related, nothing outside of the ordinary. I get it – 6 weeks feels like a long time when you’re waiting for a decision. Arden is conducting herself professionally, IMO, but if OP is right about Micah and he was low-key crowing about his upcoming promotion, that’s obnoxious and would color my perception of him.

    1. Mainly Lurking (UK)*

      Especially since Micah didn’t ask OP in private whether they had applied, it was in front of colleagues.

  13. Lilo*

    This letter seems like a really huge overreaction. I know where ainwork HR must clear hires and they have to accept a formal offer before they can tell people they didn’t get it. I also know of one case where thr boss informally told someone they didn’t get the job, then the person who did actually took another offer and the person who was told they didn’t get it (who was the runner up) ended up with the job. So the caution can be warranted.

    1. umami*

      This. I’ve had instances where HR jumped the gun in letting a group of finalists know they didn’t get a position while we were still negotiating with a candidate who ended up declining the position, so how awkward that the next candidate actually knew they weren’t the first choice after all. Since then, I tell the recruiters not to notify other candidates until a formal offer has been accepted (which, I didn’t realize I had to tell them).

      1. Sloanicota*

        Yep, this tends to be a mistake you only make once, and then after that you are very tight lipped around hiring and firing decisions. It is really frustrating from the outside, but there’s usually a reason for it, even if you don’t understand or agree with it.

    2. bamcheeks*

      I’m kind of amazed how bureaucratic this process seems to be for internal hires? I work in UK higher education, which most people think is pretty bureaucratic, but once interviews have taken place it’s usually a day at the most for a decision, two or three days to agree a start date (depending on how many managers are involved), and a week or two at the most to get the paperwork to agree. I am struggling to think of what could take several weeks, when there’s no references required and the organisation already has all your personal details and qualifications!

      1. umami*

        One thing I learned after being selected for an internal promotion fairly recently is that policy requires a new background check for anyone entering a new position unless they were hired less than a year ago. And it’s done via an outside party, so it can take a week or two to come back.

        1. bamcheeks*

          What kind of background check is that? I don’t know of any type of check that would need to be re-done for an internal move in the UK, although I don’t work in a particularly heavily regulated role so it might be a thing for certain sectors.

      2. Bunny Lake Is Found*

        I think it is likely the domino effect of it all. If you are doing an external hire, you aren’t suddenly left with a NEW open position to fill. Like Alison described, if a bunch of things are tied together, it can be a bit like figuring out when to jump in at double dutch.

    3. ferrina*

      Exactly. There’s a lot of ducks to line up before the formal announcement is made.

    4. Daisy-dog*

      It’s not an overreaction though. It’s normal to get antsy about uncertainty – even knowing there may be a perfectly reasonable explanation. And LW chose to write in to AAM first, not confront their manager.

  14. Dona Florinda*

    I’m guessing OP is frustrated because at this point is very clear they didn’t get the job, but also don’t have an official announcement so they can officially focus on another promotion, different job, etc. Since it was an internal process, I understand feeling a little powerless.

    But it looks like Arden was as discreet as she could (and I’m not judging you OP, checking their calendars is exactly the kind of thing I would do) and the only possible issue is Micah “victory lap”, if indeed that’s what it was. Unless you see other, concrete behavior from either of them that indicates they’re being obnoxious on purpose, just let it go.

    1. Michelle Smith*

      Respectfully, if this is the case, LW should go ahead and start focusing on another promotion or different job. I know there is a natural inclination to want to slow down the efforts, but LW really shouldn’t and should keep going for what they want whether inside or outside the company.

    2. Sloanicota*

      I agree that OP should give themselves some closure. It does sound like she probably didn’t get the job, and that sucks, and OP may well want to be looking elsewhere, particularly if she doesn’t want to work under Micah. Dealing with that will probably take your mind off the office intrigue and begin to let it go.

  15. Kel*

    I unfortunately caused a very similar backup in my team once, in vaguely Micah’s shoes.

    They offered me the promotion and I had to tell them that while I was honored, I was waiting on an international offer that should be coming within the next three weeks. I told them that if they chose to go with someone else, I would be able to work under that person if my other thing didn’t work out, but they chose to wait and see. So my coworkers had almost three extra weeks of waiting for what then ended up being me declining and the runner up being asked and accepting.

    Now, I didn’t go around gloating, or even really talking about any of it to anyone – it was a weird time of waiting and not talking to anyone about much of anything for me. But my mood probably did change a bit for the better knowing that they held me in that regard and were willing to wait on the (slim) chance of me taking the role. That was a nice feeling, I’ll admit it.

    All that to add another possibility to the pile – that there’s an external decision that’s holding things up and they’ve internally chosen to wait and see.

    (and yes I did end up getting the international job, which is a bigger step towards my actual goal job!)

  16. Michelle Smith*

    I worked at a dysfunctional place once that left the manager’s position open for nearly a year and we found out our colleague had gotten the job by IT updating his title before HR gave the approval to announce it. People from other departments who checked the directory found out before people on our team (like me!) were notified. It was a mess.

    I’m saying this not to excuse the situation you’re in but just to say that it’s not unheard of in my experience for a dysfunctional workplace to handle this stuff awkwardly. If your workplace, however, is otherwise *not* dysfunctional, I’d be inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt that it’s something more like what Alison suggested in her examples.

    1. Generic Name*

      Ha ha. I do a similar level of sleuthing as the OP (don’t bash me, please, I normally keep info I learn to myself), and once I noticed that someone was updating a coworker’s profile on our external-facing website. So I went to the website, and I saw that she had gotten a promotion. Then, weeks later, an announcement came out on the internal website.

  17. Jellyfish Catcher*

    Concentrate on “Arden is generally a wonderful manager……” She also happens to be discrete, maybe more than you want but discretion is a very good trait in a manager, or anyone for that matter.
    Go with discretion as well. There is no upside in letting your emotions override your professionalism or the relationship with your manager.
    Also, that reaction will be noted and appreciated by your wonderful manager.

  18. Bunny Lake Is Found*

    I get why LW is reaching this conclusion, but there really are just so many unclear things. For one, without knowing either the tasks Arden has assigned to LW or those she asked Micah to do that would fall under the roll they both applied for, we can’t really say Micah has been offered and accepted the roll. The “promotion tasks” maybe just couldn’t wait 6 weeks so Arden assigned them to Micah.

    Also, I could read the “victory lap” as Arden asking Micah to handle these “promotion tasks” while they made a decision on the role and Micah was wondering if he was given these tasks because Adren planned to offer him the roll OR if he was the only person in the department to apply for the job and so Arden assigned the tasks to him, even though they want to offer the job to an external hire. Like, Micah was also trying to do his own “investigating” on if he was the top choice.

    1. Mainly Lurking (UK)*

      If all Micah was doing was ‘investigating’, he could have taken the OP to one side and asked privately, instead of choosing to ask the question in front of other team members.

      1. Bunny Lake Is Found*

        That might have been a failed attempt to make it “no big deal”.

        LW says “cornered in front of colleagues” but they seem to be reading an awful lot into “good moods” and unscheduled calendar time, so I am wondering if it felt more like being “cornered” publicly when it was closer to “coworkers were in a group and someone mentioned Micah applied for the promotion and he responded “Yeah, I did apply. I think LW applied to. Is that right, LW?”

        I just cannot imagine a universe where someone is told they are being unofficially offered a promotion, but it is not final, so don’t say anything….. and then thinking the best move would be to take a “victory lap” like this. If it got back to Arden, I would have to assume that would give her pause about Micah’s suitability for leadership if he felt the need to confirm that, yeah, he totally beat out LW for the gig in such a public manner.

        1. Aquamarine*

          Yeah, I think taking LW aside to have this conversation would have felt like a big deal. And I mean, maybe it was a victory lap, but if so, I feel like it was kind of a weird one, and there’s a lot of guessing in the letter. After all, Micah and Arden could have had an impromptu meeting about something else – it’s not clear at this point.

        2. Joron Twiner*

          This is how I read that interaction too. Micah is trying to gain some kind of read on the situation, much like how LW is doing, and failed a stealth check so their good mood peeked through and they weren’t as suave as they needed to be. Maybe Micah was wondering if LW was also told they were a finalist and is hiding it better than Micah is.

    2. Runner up*

      I had a similar thought – it’s entirely possible that Micah was just told that he was one of the top candidates (or that they were deciding between two people, or whatever) and that he was trying to figure out if the competition was internal or external…

  19. Ahnon4Thisss*

    LW, I am in agreement that this may be an overreaction due to potential disappointment of not getting the job (which you haven’t gotten the news for yet!) Of course you know your situation the best, but isn’t it possible that Micah feels the same way about you and is worried you’ll get the job and he won’t? To me, it sounds like he was looking for more information to see who he was competing with.

    There are so many reasons why they might not have announced the decision yet. It sounds like Arden is handling the best that she can while still keeping things underwraps while negotiations and paperwork are handled by HR. She might not be able to say anything at this point, so blaming her for a lack of transparency would be unfair to her. There is nothing actionable Arden can do with that feedback if HR is holding her back.

    I understand your frustration, but I would take that energy and start preparing for a different promotion.

  20. Zarniwoop*

    “[Arden] and Micah quietly slipped away from their desks together … They were both in a noticeably good mood afterward”

    90% probability LW is correct & Micah unofficially got the promotion.
    1% probability Arden & Micah just started having an affair
    9% probability something else nobody’s thought of yet

    1. Hiring Mgr*

      If it’s the affair, then that might be good news for the OP, since it would be a conflict of interest in that case for Arden to promote Micah

    2. Bunny Lake Is Found*

      OMG, I am glad I wasn’t the only person who felt parts of this letter were quite similar to all the “I think my coworkers are having an affair” letters.

    3. I went to school with only 1 Jennifer*

      It was an illicit ice-cream tasting. Ice cream always makes *me* smile, so that must certainly by the answer.

  21. Fluffy Fish*

    OP – you can drive yourself crazy trying to fill in the blanks. Bottom line is you simply don’t know. Maybe Micah was being a bit of a glassbowl or maybe he was just making conversation about the first thing that popped in his head. Maybe your getting assignments because you didnt get the job or maybe your boss has to proceed as normal because theres a holdup that has no firm resolution date.

    Everything could be exactly as you think or maybe it’s all entirely different.

    It sucks to not get a job even when we’re making the best of it and I think that’s coloring your reaction here – you’re telling yourself its fine but it seems like you’re trying to find something to project that suckage on to.

    There’s really nothing to provide feedback on.

  22. Someone else*

    The thing I’m struggling to understand here is what circumstances might make you sure enough of the outcome to tell the successful candidate, but not sure enough to tell the unsuccessful candidates.

    Because telling someone they haven’t been successful, then having something change and going back to them and saying, “Actually, we have decided we would like to offer you the role” seems WAY less likely to go badly than telling a candidate, even “unofficially” that the job is theirs, then having to walk back on that.

    So it really feels like if they have indeed told Micah, they should be confident enough in that decision to let OP know. (And I don’t think they would have to necessarily name who was successful, if they aren’t ready to announce that, just a quiet, I’m sorry, we’re going with someone else this time, so candidates aren’t spending literally months waiting for a decision they’ve already made).

    Obviously, this is speculation, and it’s not possible to conclude definitely that this is what’s happening, but if it turns out OP is right, I think it’s fair to say that it wasn’t brilliantly handled.

    1. bamcheeks*

      Yes, I’m struggling with that too. A few people have suggested things like “what if the funding situation has changed or another department is having a re-org”— where I am, what you’d do in that situation is update ALL the candidates, apologise, and go back to the successful one when you know you can move forward with the post. If the the delay is Micah negotiating pay, that’s a ridiculously long time to be negotiating with an internal hire.

    2. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

      > what circumstances might make you sure enough of the outcome to tell the successful candidate, but not sure enough to tell the unsuccessful candidates

      One reason for that is if the successful person is making noises about looking externally.

      1. DataSci*

        Or actually is looking externally, has an external offer in hand, and they’re trying to get it matched. A good friend was in exactly this situation not long ago – she was chosen for an internal promotion, but they didn’t announce it because she wanted them to match an offer (which they did, and she happily accepted).

      2. Rose*

        Any of hundreds of scenarios where they can’t make an official offer, can’t confirm salary/benefits/hours etc, or your top candidate can’t immediately tell you if they’d accept the role of offered.

        If you can’t make an official offer, your top candidate can’t accept, and rejecting everyone else is premature and just going to kill morale if you need to move to someone else.

    3. Green great dragon*

      If I was Micah I’d rather know what’s up than be left hanging for weeks with no info or be told the announcement’s delayed but not whether I’ve got the job or not if it comes through. And it could be something from his side – maybe Micah’s juggling another potential job offer or negotiating salary, and that’s fed into to the delays.

      I can see why LW wants to know too! And I think it’d be better to tell them *something*. But I can also see Boss not wanting to say anything to LW until she knows whether Micah is going to end up in the job or not.

  23. learnedthehardway*

    I don’t think the hiring manager owes the internal candidates transparency about the hiring decision they make during the recruitment / interviewing process. What they owe is to be considerate of the internal employees, to provide timelines for when the decision to be made (if possible), and perhaps an update if the role is taking longer to fill than expected. If the candidate was a direct report or was a good fit for the role, but someone else was hired, it makes sense to have a follow up AFTER the decision, to make sure the employee understands why the other person was hired, and to provide coaching/guidance on what they should do to be successful next time.

    I don’t think the OP should read much into the apparent meeting between their manager and Micah – could be that she is happy with his progress on a project, for example.

    1. Lilo*

      I also think this “coworkers of opposite sex are having an affair” speculation results in women having to be so ridiculously cautious in the workplace.

      1. Bunny Lake Is Found*

        I think this was a reference to the number of letters that involve some level of “I think Bob and Sally are having an affair because they sat next to each other and laughed. Should I tell my boss?” or “Everyone thinks my subordinate Bob is having an affair with Sally because they once carpooled, should I tell Bob or Sally?” — Not any actual speculation about Micah and Arden.

  24. b-reezy*

    This happened to me and instead of saying anything, I found another job internally that paid 50% more than the promotion would have and was full WFH before COVID. I took great satisfaction in (politely) declining that team’s invitation to apply for a new open posting 2 years later (after another promotion).

    Saying something wasn’t going to change anything, but losing me completely was a huge blow for them.

    1. Jellyfish Catcher*

      Grr…nesting failure. Wanted to clarify that your manger would notice and appreciate your discretion. I know that it’s sometimes hard to do, but hang in there!

  25. I'm Just Here For The Cats!!*

    This is all speculation. OP doesn’t even know for sure that Micha applied for the position. For all we know Arden is moving to a new position, Micha is taking over that position and they haven’t decided yet on the promotion. I really think OP is overthinking everything and looking at every action as something to do with the promotion. They checked the calendars of both the Arden and Micha for a meeting! I understand that you are wanting to know but being this invested is not good. You need to relax.

  26. Lusara*

    One time I interviewed for an open position and found out I didn’t get it when they took the person they hired (from outside) around to introduce her to everybody. I’m pretty sure I was never really considered for it, and the manager forget to let me know because I wasn’t even on her radar at all..

  27. antigone*

    A recent example from a hiring process I ran: we identified our candidate, double checked our salary band with HR, and then discovered that the salary band utterly fucked department equity, with someone in a comparable role in a different team within our department being offered $10k less the week before. I wasn’t going to offer my person less than I knew she deserved, so I got my boss on board and we escalated with HR and finally figured out that my team’s specialty was being benchmarked against both industry and academia, while the other team was being benchmarked only within academia. So we escalated again, fought and won the equity argument, and had to get the *entire department* re-benchmarked against industry, and then off cycle raises pushed through for a half dozen people with the accompanying budget refiguring, before I could make my person the formal offer they deserved. In the meanwhile we were permitted to tell her that an offer was coming but was held up for nebulous reasons, but absolutely forbidden by HR to say anything to any other candidates besides “we’re still in the hiring process”. We also thought there was a good chance we’d lose her due to the delay and didn’t want to poison the well with our second choice.

    I’m not displeased with the end result of my hired employee and equity raises all around, but the process was absolutely wild, took forever, and my hands were tied hard about transparency on any of it.

  28. Alex*

    Internal hiring is very common in my line of work.

    I had a colleague in a very similar situation to OP…except he was already in the role as acting and he found out he had not been selected due to a general announcement from our leadership. He ended up feeling very hurt by this, not because of someone else being selected but because of being blindsided by it.

    He ended up leaving within a few weeks for another role in another part of my company.

    Hopefully the manager reaches out to each of the internal candidates just prior to the official announcement and at least lets them know they weren’t selected and why not (if possible), that tends to make things smoother.

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