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How to manage a negative response to an internal promotion opportunity.

How do you manage responding to an internal promotion opportunity when the relocation, compensation, and opportunity do not match your expectations?


Topic Expert
Moshe Kravitz
Title: Director of Finance
Company: IDT Telecom
LinkedIn Profile
(Director of Finance, IDT Telecom) |

It sounds like you are interested in an internal promotion opportunity, just not this one the way it’s currently structured.

You have two goals when you respond:

1) a revised offer
2) to position yourself as a prime candidate for a more interesting opportunity that might be created for you or arise in the future

For the offer to be worthwhile, it has to be good for both sides. Approach the discussion with an attitude of mutual cooperation. In principle you and the hiring authority agree that a change could benefit you and the company. It’s necessary to investigate, however, if this particular offer can be re-structured to fit the bill. Each side think creatively about what could be varied to make this suitable. For example increased responsibilities would mean increased remuneration. Think of some feature that would offset the disadvantage of the re-location, or turn it into an advantage.

Show your enthusiasm to pitch in where the company needs you. Demonstrate (with a few of your accomplishments) how you are the ideal candidate for the position - restructured, of course, in the way that makes it worthwhile for you. Research the company’s needs and opportunities to be sure that the restructuring you seek is feasible and beneficial.

The willingness and positive attitude you demonstrate with along the skills and accomplishments that you showcase will serve to position you for the next opportunity in case this one does not pan out to be mutually beneficial, so it’s win-win.

(Agent, JKS Solutions, Inc.) |

The first question I have is: are you applying to an internal promotion opportunity that has been posted or have you been approached by management as the candidate for this opportunity?

Without knowing how big your company is and what it is you guys do, I can only answer in general terms.

If you are the one who is applying, you probably do not have much of a say in what the comp and benefits will be. The company may have determined that this is all they will pay and/or maybe this is what was paid to the predecessor and they are unwilling to pay more. Or, they may have many applicants or they do not deem the position important enough to bend their comp structure and internal policies to accomodate you.

If however, you have been approached by the company for this opportunity you are in a much better position to negotiate. There are a few things you should find out first:

1) Who else (if any) was offered this job?
2) Who else could do the job?
3) How much would it cost the company if they brought in someone from the outside?
4) How critical is this job to the company?
5) How much "political capital" do you own and who is backing you?
6) Generally, what does the market pay for this position and relocation?
7) What opportunity does meet your expectations and why? Can the position grow to be the position you would like to have?

Once you have an answer to these questions, you will be in a much better position to determine your approach. Then put yourself in their shoes and try to imagine how you would feel if you were the boss and the person you chose would bring the arguments you are going to bring.

Understand that it isn't only what you want but how a mutually beneficial solution can be found. They should be able to give a little and you should be able to give a little. Stay calm and positive and reiterate how you want to do what's best for the company so that in case they decide not to bend the rules for you, the process does not leave a bad taste in their mouth about you in general.

Topic Expert
Cindy Kraft
Title: CFO Coach
Company: Executive Essentials
(CFO Coach, Executive Essentials) |

Another question has caused me to pause in answering your question. If the company approached you, how does it handle such refusals. Is there a corporate policy in place? How would saying no thanks impact your current position?


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