“We have decided to go with a different candidate.”
Throughout our career, most of us have heard these words in some form or another. You have worked hard. You have put up sales numbers, taken on additional responsibility and made personal sacrifices. You feel – no – you KNOW this job should have been yours. And yet, someone else has been awarded the prize. It may be a colleague – even a friend who is moving forward with their career. Or worse, the position has been awarded to an external candidate.
As you hear the words, you try to keep your game face on and maintain your professional demeanor. But all you can hear in your head is “This was mine. What happened??!!!” Your emotions can circle through anger, self-doubt, humiliation and many more. When your head begins to clear, the resounding question is almost always the same: What do I do next?
Evaluate Next Steps
The key to evaluating your future career path is to have an objective approach. Too many times, the initial reaction is to look for another job. This may be the correct path, but you must ensure that you have weighed the options. Give yourself a few days to calm down – out of territory if possible. Try to get an idea if you were out-interviewed, or if there is more to the story. If it is the latter, put your focus on the assessment some important factors:
- Were you set up for success? Many times we approach an opportunity with blinders on. We focus on track record, additional leadership assignments and things of that nature. What is often missed is working toward the key competencies that will define success in the role. We have all heard that great reps don’t always make great managers. This is true for a variety of different roles.
- Did you understand the competitive landscape for the role? While many companies prefer to develop internal talent for promotion, others look for established skill sets in a certain arena. It is important to understand the company (and hiring manager) focus for the position.
- Have you interviewed for more than one role in your organization? Sometimes this can be a good thing – showing that you have ambition to advance. Too many interviews though can kill your chances for advancement. Think of a politician who runs many times without being elected: they lose all credibility and will never be taken seriously.
- Have you developed the correct relationships? You may be a sales rock star. But how well do people higher in the organization know you and your ambition? A name and sales numbers are not enough. Sales leadership needs to have an idea about who you are and how you work. Have you taken advantage of opportunities to network at your company events? Have you requested rotations that will give visibility to your skills outside the field? Look at the rising stars in your organization. Are they doing the things that you are not?
- Are you hard to manage? Many times, the ‘A’ Player sales rep is seen as the “Lone Wolf”. While this can lead to success in a vacuum, higher-level positions cannot function as such. Getting some honest, candid feedback from a trusted source is imperative. While not always fun, it is necessary in order to course correct.
- Are you getting developed? Companies who are serious about developing their talent will use an Individual Development Plan. If you are approached with this, chances are that you are seen as someone who is focused on to be groomed. If not, you may be pigeon-holed for success in your current role.
Take the time to understand your promotability and how it aligns with your career path. Download the Career Course Correction Tool today! It is a simple and effective method to objectively assess your approach to getting to where you want to be.