I'm currently interviewing for a new job so that I can cut down on my travel. I've recently been called and interviewed for a few positions. Both interviews told me during the interview that internal candidates have also applied for the position. I was then asked the question "If you get this job, how will you handle those internal staff that applied and interviewed for the job but didn't get it?”. I  wanted to see what others thought a good response would be.

gehrhorn's picture
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Mine would be something like this.

"I wouldn't address it specifically unless someone asked me about it. I would focus on developing relationships with my new team, orienting myself to the company, and understanding what our key goals and deliverables were. Over time (months, not years) I would work with the team to understand what their individual career goals are and how I could play a role in helping them achieve those."

In reality, you're not in a position to rationalize the decision because you played no part in the decision. All you can do is help people move forward.

I'd also listen to this series to see if there was any transferrable advice or action items.

DougW's picture

FYI - I handled the question asked in the same manner you stated in your reply. I told them that I would want to get to know them, find out what their goals for the future were and to help them get to this level. I think the goal of a manager is to develope and bring your staff to new levels so that they grow and can either take over when you move up or move onto better positions with other companies. You hate to loose anyone but if you do, you want them to advance.


Thanks for your opinion!

ashdenver's picture

While I would hope that everyone on the team would behave professionally, if I sensed or were confronted with outright hostility or other vocalizations about the decision that was made, I would focus on coaching them. The decision is in the past, so let's focus on moving forward and possibly positioning them for a future opportunity. If they conduct themselves less than professionally after a professional decision is made, that would be a learning opportunity for them to see where and how they could improve. I would work on developing and coaching them to a point where they'd be able to be a strong contender for my own replacement as I move up in the organization down the road.

DougW's picture

Totally agree with your strategy of moving forward once I took the job.One would hope that everyone acted professionally all the time but feeling can come into play, just a matter of managing and trying your best to turn the situation around. Just letting them know you value their opinion and working to get them closer to their goal hopefully diffuses these types of situations.


Thanks, for your help and wisdom!