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I work at a software company in "Silicon Valley". I am not challenged enough with my current job. I saw a job posting in our career website from the other team that seemed very interesting to me.

Here is structure of my company and where I am and where I want to go:

VP
├── Director1 (Team 1)
│   └── Manager1
│       └── me
└── Director2 (Team 2)
    └── Manager2
        └── where-i-want-to-go

Team1 and Team2 are in different location, have different scope of work and using different technologies. I don't know people at team 2.

Who should I approach to? How should I do it without damaging my "royalty" if that didn't work.

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  • 2
    Does your company post open positions internally first? Come companies have 'hire from within first' policies. From what you're saying, this position is open to the outside world. Would you have known about it if it was posted on an internal bulletin? Jul 13, 2013 at 23:19
  • 3
    What do you mean by "royalty"?
    – jmort253
    Jul 15, 2013 at 1:26
  • Please don't put this update in the question, because it isn't part of the question. I recommend writing it as a comment to the answer you accepted. Sep 22, 2013 at 13:12
  • 1
    Update from the poster: "I asked HR about the process and they said it is required to ask my current manager first. Then I asked my manager and he was happy to help me to move to a team that I have more interest in their work. I went through a normal interview process and got accepted by my destination team. Now I should work with my team to help new members get up to speed and then move to my new team."
    – jmac
    Sep 24, 2013 at 7:58

4 Answers 4

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First, is there an HR department? They would be where I'd go first to see what is the procedure for doing an internal transfer as different companies may have various rules about things.

If there isn't an HR department, then I'd probably approach Manager 2 and ask if there is a way to be internally transferred to fill in the new role. You don't state if the posting was public or just internal to the company, which would be a distinction to my mind. If the latter, I'd just apply and see what happens. On the other hand, a public posting may be better to approach the manager if there isn't HR.


There is something to be said for having a prepared answer in a few scenarios here:

  1. If the move doesn't work out, does your current team have to know? That would be one point. A second aspect here could be to put it as, "Well, I thought I may be more useful over there but there were better candidates," though one has to be careful to not make this seem like one is accepting a second choice where one is currently working. There are probably better ways to frame this though I'd wonder how public does this knowledge have to be?

  2. If the move does work, then the key becomes framing this change as a win/win for the organization and you. In this case it is about moving up in the world in a sense.

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  • THank you! This is didn't answer the 'not losing my loyalty' part. I'm a bit worried this will impact my repetition in my current team.
    – mosoda
    Jul 14, 2013 at 19:15
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This is what is known as a lateral transfer. I would suggest speaking with Manager 1 before speaking to Manager 2. Discuss with your manager that you want to apply for a job with Team 2. Tell him that you are perfectly willing to transition your job responsibilities and work with him if he can help make this happen. Discuss your reasons with him. Do not treat him like an enemy. He may also be able to provide you guidance on how to meet your career aspirations and maximize your potential. In this way you are showing your manager respect and proving your loyalty to ensuring that any transfer would be smooth. He may appreciate that.

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  • In addition going to Manager 2 first may make him feel you are not to be trusted.
    – ojblass
    Jul 15, 2013 at 8:26
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You can email Manager2 and ask for an informal "informational interview" so that you can learn more about the position. This is usually on the order of a half-hour or hour, and gives Manager2 an idea of whether you're a good fit for the open position, and gives you the chance to see whether Team2 is actually one that you do want to join.

If the informational interview goes well and you and Manager2 both want to move forward with an interview, then take a look over your company's HR guidelines about transferring to another department. Your company might have a simple set of guidelines, or might spell out the complete process. Knowing what HR expects out of such a move makes your life easier. As part of this, learn what your manager can and cannot do if you want to move. For example, in large companies, your current manager might have the power to say that you can't move out of your current position for X weeks/months because you have a major deadline coming up, but can't block a move indefinitely.

Next, have the conversation with your current manager about wanting to grow in other ways, that you have identified that there is an opening on another team that you want to pursue, and that you'd like your current manager's guidance in the right way to move forward. This is where your knowledge of what the official policies are can be very helpful. If you're lucky, that research will prove to be unnecessary, because your manager will recognize that it's better for you to be a happy employee on another team at your company than an unhappy employee on your existing team. If you're unhappy in your current role, it's much better for the company as a whole to let you move to another role within the company where you will be happier, as opposed to losing you to another role at another company. In the best case, your manager will explain to you what the process is for interviewing for another position within your company and will discuss timelines with you. In the worst case, you'll have to fall back on what you learned about your company's rules about such moves. If it is the worst case, then you've also learned a lot about your manager, which you'll have to consider for what it means in your career going forward.

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OP Answer

I asked HR about the process and they said it is required to ask my current manager first. Then I asked my manager and he was happy to help me to move to a team that I have more interest in their work. I went through a normal interview process and got accepted by my destination team. Now I should work with my team to help new members get up to speed and then move to my new team.

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