Dear all,

I am interested in another specific position at my company. It is very likely that I won't get it, but at the very least I want to try. My dilemma is when and how to tell my boss that I'm interested in another position. 

Here are the details:

1) Working in a very large corporation.

2) Been at my role for 2.5 years. Secretly interested in changing a job function. Haven't really talked to my boss about it.

3) I have eyed a certain job function that exists in my company and which I would like to take. It's a totally different department/location which we have no meaningful ties with. 

4) I found out the name of the manager whose team I would potentially want to join. I am not at all sure if they have any available opening, but I won't know unless I inquire.

5) I want to contact that other manager and ask him whether a  position is available (I believe I have the skills). The odds of having a position are low. Here's my dilemma - if I first involve my boss with this interest of mine and no position is available then I've just lost points with my boss for nothing. If I contact that other boss directly, without involving my manager, I have no guarantee they won't contact my manager themselves (who knows) and if I'm ever called for an interview then I must anyway involve my manager.

At which point during this inquiry process would you recommend me to involve my manager? Is it OK to inquire about the existence of an opening without involving my manager?




April 10th update: thank you folks. For some reason I can't find the way to respond to my own thread.. ("you can't post comments"). At any rate, I really appreciate all of your useful comments and will involve my manager prior to the internal search.  take care!!

mattpalmer's picture

 Whilst I can imagine a whole range of possible scenarios in which you wouldn't want to include your manager, you haven't given any indication that any of them apply to you, so I'll ask up front: why do you want to keep your manager out of this?  Is it because they'll think you're disloyal and fire you?  Try and block you from leaving because they hate hiring new people?

Without knowing why you want to keep your boss out of the loop, it's hard to say what to do.  There is, of course, another option -- that there *is* no good reason for not telling your boss, and in that case you should tell them, because they may very well be in a position to *help* you.  The question is how best to tell them?  For which my answer is "honesty".

Explain sincerely why you're looking around.  It's a better fit for where you want to take your career.  Less travel.  More responsibility.  Closer to home.  More flexible working hours.  Your boss is a jerk (ok, maybe don't let that one slip).  It may be that your boss could help you find what you're looking for "closer to home", as it were -- or they may well say, "I completely understand.  Let me have a talk to <other boss> and see what I can do" and you'll get an e-mail that afternoon saying "you start next monday".

Smacquarrie's picture

My supervisors (I answer to 5 of them) all know that I am looking for a new job. All of them offer me new assignments to keep me busy while I am on site but they also have contacts within the company and have been very helpful to me on my journey. I am not sure why you would want to keep your current boss in the dark since you are looking internally. Of course there may be the caveat that if you are looking internally you are probably looking externally but there is little you can do about that. It would be better if your boss found out from you that you are considering a move rather than finding out from someone else. He may be able to help you more than you think. Only you can judge the relationship you have with your supervisor. If it is a tenuous one, you may have something else to work on first. Mac

jrosenau's picture

you should include your boss.


buhlerar's picture

In my experience the first thing a hiring manager will do when considering an internal candidate is call up the existing manager and find out all they can about you.  Of course, if you're clearly not qualified for the role, there's a small chance they'll just dismiss you immediately and not bother telling anyone else internally.  But before they interview you, there's a good chance your manager will hear about it. This conversation will include the quality of your work, of course, but also whether you really are actually available to move to a new position.  Believe it or not, your current manager can often block your transfer.  You can do all the interview preparation in the world, but if your boss won't recommend you then you better hope they're desperate.

Assuming you want this role, you need to discuss it with your boss.  Let's assume they would be supportive of your move (if not, it's going to be a very difficult process).  Think about the thought bubble over your boss's head when someone surprises them with a phone call asking for a recommendation.  "I just finally got that last position filled and now I'm going to lose EDC?" or "I never really thought of EDC for that role before -- could they really do it?" or "Why didn't EDC mention this before?" or even "Wow, I love EDC -- EDC is really a risk-taker and...oh what's that, this role is in compliance?"

Put it this way, you want your boss prepared for the phone call that they will inevitably receive.  I understand there's a risk that you won't be seriously considered so why ruffle your bosses feathers if this might not even go anywhere, but what's the bigger risk?  You have to assume there's no such thing as a confidential search internally, so decide how you want your boss to find out.

And on top of all of that, you may find your boss can really prepare you for the role you seek (give you assignments that let you interact with that team or develop skills that are relevant to the new role).

Good luck!

edwinkelleys's picture

Its good post which is more useful to us also add some more information related to resume here.