Moving on up

Recently, I’ve heard lots of stories from people who have applied for jobs internally in order to further develop their careers but been passed over for external candidates. As these people are friends I’m both completely biased and pretty outraged but I just had the revelation that this has actually happened to me a lot too.

The example that sticks out for me the best was when I applied for a front facing library position at the organisation I had been at for a number of years. I thought I could be quite good at this as prior to my library career I had almost 10 years of hospitality experience and I knew the organisation very well. When I interviewed however, I quickly realised I had very little experience with Maori and when I was called back learned this was why I had not got the job. I respected this and completely understood why I was not the right person.

This experience really shook me up and I opened my eyes to the fact that because New Zealand is a multicultural society if I did nothing about my lacking in this area, this was likely to happen again and again. So to rectify the situation I when to after school classes to learn Maori and when on the LIANZA Mātauranga Māori within New Zealand Libraries workshop. Both of these things I would highly recommend. Funnily enough a few months after I had completed these the job was re-listed and I applied again. This time I was much more confident as nothing about me as an applicant had changed except I had improved on the areas which I was poor on previously.

The interview was one of the best of my life. The panel was really impressed that I had taken on their feedback and that I had the acquired the necessary skills. However, a few days later I was again told I did not have the job. I had not realised that the person who was currently in the job was on a temporary contract and she was my competition as they were making the position permanent. Again, I was very understanding. How was I meant to be better than the person who was already in the job? But a week after getting it, the victor resigned so I applied again.

As I had interviewed so recently I did not need to do that again but unfortunately I did not get the job and it when to an external candidate. This time I did not know why I hadn’t got it and after applying three times for the position and feeling more than slightly embarrassed I decided never to apply again. For me that was also the moment I decided it was probably time for me to move on from the organisation. I may just have been completely wrong for the position or they may have interviewed an amazing person. But I guess I would have appreciated honestly about that and I suppose I felt a bit let down especially as by the last time I applied I was given no feedback so I had no understanding about why I had been passed over.

However, I am very open about how I am completely biased on this matter. I mean of course I think I’m amazing and should get all the jobs. I think my friends are brilliant so deserve career advancement. But I don’t know you so please share your experiences about applying for jobs internally. You might have had a great experience and I would love to hear it. Or you might have had experiences very similar to mine and again we would love to hear them.

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2 thoughts on “Moving on up

  1. I have a similar experience. I’ve worked at the same organisation for 7 years as a library assistant. After getting a library qualification I was encouraged to apply for a 1 year secondment in the LL (liaison librarian) team. I got it which was great, then i got a 6 month one the following year. Then a full time position came up which I applied for. I didn’t get it. I didn’t ask for feedback but my manager said that one of the interviewers said my nerves had gotten the better of me in the interview. (I was pretty nervous – it’s really hard being interviewed by your colleagues, somehow there’s more pressure). The job went to a more experienced external candidate. Since then I haven’t applied for other LL jobs that have come up – I lost my confidence I guess. I really should know WHY I was unsuccessful I think, there had to be more to it than just being nervous in the interview.

    Then after that there was another job in digital services that I applied for but very disappointingly didn’t even get an interview for. Did I deserve to know why I wasn’t interviewed? I’m not sure.


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