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Navigating Internal Hiring Disappointment: Strategies for Moving Forward

Being passed over for an internal position can be a difficult and disheartening experience, especially when you felt well-suited for the role and had high hopes for the opportunity. However, it's important to remember that being passed over doesn't define your worth or potential for growth within the company.

Today we will discuss strategies for navigating internal hiring disappointment and exploring alternative paths for career advancement.

1. Acknowledge and Process Your Emotions

The first step in moving forward after being passed over for an internal position is to acknowledge and process your emotions. It's normal to feel upset, frustrated, or disappointed, and it's important to allow yourself time to process these feelings. Consider talking to a trusted friend or mentor, journaling, or engaging in a relaxing activity to help manage your emotions.

2. Seek Feedback and Insights

Reaching out to the hiring manager or someone involved in the hiring process can provide valuable insights into why you weren't selected for the position. Be open to constructive feedback and use it as an opportunity to learn and grow.

Ask specific questions, such as:

  • What were the key factors that led to the decision?

  • Were there any gaps in your skills or experience that could be improved?

  • Are there other opportunities within the company that might be a good fit?

3. Identify Areas for Improvement and Develop a Plan

Based on the feedback you receive, identify areas where you can improve and develop a plan to address them. This might involve taking courses, attending workshops or conferences, or seeking mentorship. By proactively addressing any gaps in your skills or experience, you'll not only become a stronger candidate for future opportunities but also demonstrate your commitment to personal and professional growth.

4. Explore Alternative Paths for Career Advancement

Just because you weren't selected for a specific position doesn't mean you can't advance your career within the company. Consider exploring alternative paths that align with your interests, skills, and goals. Talk to your supervisor or HR representative about potential opportunities, such as lateral moves, special projects, or leadership roles.

5. Build a Strong Network

Building a strong network within the company can help you stay informed about new opportunities and provide valuable support and guidance. Attend company-wide events, join employee resource groups, and participate in mentorship programs. By building relationships with colleagues and industry professionals, you'll increase your visibility and enhance your professional reputation.

6. Focus on Your Current Role and Performance

While it's natural to be disappointed about not getting the internal position, it's important to maintain a positive attitude and focus on your current role and performance. Continue to deliver high-quality work, take on new challenges, and seek opportunities to expand your responsibilities. By doing so, you'll not only excel in your current role but also demonstrate your value and dedication to the company.

7. Consider an External Opportunity

If, after exploring internal opportunities, you still feel that your career growth is limited within the company, it may be time to consider external opportunities. Update your resume, LinkedIn profile, and networking materials, and start exploring job openings at other companies. Remember that sometimes the best opportunities come from unexpected places, so keep an open mind and be prepared to take on new challenges.


Being passed over for an internal position can be a challenging experience, but it's important to remember that it's not a reflection of your worth or potential. By acknowledging and processing your emotions, seeking feedback, identifying areas for improvement, exploring alternative paths, building a strong network, focusing on your current role and performance, and considering external opportunities, you'll be well on your way to navigating internal hiring disappointment and advancing your career. Remember that career growth is a journey, and sometimes the best opportunities come from unexpected places. Stay positive, proactive, and open to new challenges, and you'll achieve your professional goals.


Jonathan H. Westover, PhD is Chief Academic & Learning Officer (HCI Academy); Chair/Professor, Organizational Leadership (UVU); OD Consultant (Human Capital Innovations). Read Jonathan Westover's executive profile here.



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