CompetitionProfessionalTeam Work

Competing With Colleagues For An Internal Position – An Insider’s Guide

 Last week Thursday I had an interview for an internal position at the office. I recall that a colleague brought to my attention this internal vacancy and encouraged me to apply. It was going to be a step up! On reading the job description, I discovered that my friend and colleague was also qualified to apply; and proceeded to get her to put in an application as well.

I remember on the long drive home it crossed my mind; do I inform my current boss of my plans?

A few other colleagues had also put in for this role; would this affect our relationship negatively?

That was the first time I was competing for an internal position with colleagues who I have formed close bonds. How do I handle the situation? Often times you hear from friends in other firms how tricky and bloody this could be.

While waiting for a feedback on the status of my application, I muse back to how I felt then, and think I should share a few insights:

Had a chat with my Departmental Head

It’s important that your boss hears about your plans directly from you rather than from some office grapevine. Be sure to give a clear rational reason for expressing interest in the internal position or promotion.

For example …

“I feel the new role matches my skills set” or “I would like to explore my capabilities and improve my career”.

Don’t make the mistake of saying, “I cannot work with you”, “I need a break” e.t.c.

I got support from my boss and left his office glad I had been upfront with my plans.

Informed other colleagues of my interest in the role

I went to the three other colleagues contending for the same role, and informed them I had applied as well. No point tip toeing around such an issue or fearing that another colleague will bring the topic up at happy hour, etc.

A simple…

“Hey Omoh, that internal vacancy that was on the notice board…well I put in for it as well. Wish you the best at it too. May the best man win!”

This helps get rid of any awkwardness and allow us focus on other things.

Got to know my competition

Not as my colleague, but as my competitor for the job I wanted. Had to discover their possible advantages over me, such as skills, experiences, what other key projects they have been involved in, their likely weakness and drilled further to identify my own strengths and prepared adequately for the interview.

Basically be self-aware! Remember at the interview you would have to discuss your present role/achievement/skills that make you an appropriate candidate for the role – self-marketing yourself before an internal interview team and or an external consulting firm. Besides, you have been in the organisation and well acquainted with the corporate culture, decision process etc.

Please note, you do not need to play dirty! It usually tends to backfire; and where it doesn’t…well you find out too late that you have burnt a bridge it took some time building. Most times there’s no real mending of that friendship.
Keep your cool (win or lose)

It can be quite difficult to keep your composure when you lose out on a big project bid /promotion/presentation/exhibition etc. Try not to act crazy, throw a tantrum, become nonchalant with your duties or out rightly let the whole office unit know you are aggressively job hunting.

Likewise, in the excitement of winning, be considerate not to hurt the already delicate feelings of your friend(s). Do not rub your success in the face of the other competitors. Have the courtesy to go make/receive your congratulatory calls outside e.t.c.

So while I like wining and would love to be awarded this new promotional role and update my profile with it…I am very conscious of the fact that –

 “Promotions come and go, but work relationships must endure. By being open, playing fair, and keeping your cool no matter what the outcome, you can make sure that a little competition doesn’t ruin your relationship” – Lynze Wardle Lenio.

While I await the outcome….kindly share your own experiences. I would love to read from you!

Best regards,

Yvonne “Iphie”Igbeka

Yvonne Igbeka

Yvonne is a strategist by day and lingerie enthusiast every other time. She believes that with the right lingerie you can rule the world. You can read more of Yvonne’s views on Business, workplace and of course Lingerie here


Author: Abisoye “Faari” Akinola

Abisoye is an IT Professional and a Corporate Trainer by day, Mom & Wife on weekends and LinkedIn enthusiasts every other time.
She believes LinkedIn is the real deal to find and meet awesome professionals and thanks, Reid Hoffman for the Idea!
Your go-to girl when you need to brainstorm great ideas.
She helps bored mid-career professionals who need get to switch gear to the next level using personal branding and confidence as tools!
You can find sharing her daily wisdom on Instagram

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