I (28, female) work in a very, very large software development company. I've been in my current team for over 2 years and feel like I want to change. My current manager (since August) knows I want to change. He told me wants me to stay here but also that he supports my decision and he offered to help in any way he can.

I looked at the internal job board, talked to various managers & teams, and the following was the outcome:

  • Team #1: did an internal informal interview loop, got accepted, but manager told me his financial request for the position was denied so he told me I had to wait. This was in July. I haven't heard back.
  • Team #2: did an internal interview loop. I got rejected. The manager told me he saw problems with my problem-solving skills and because he noticed my pull requests had quite a few back and forths.
  • Team #3: had an initial talk with the manager. I sent him some artifacts of my work, he gave me some feedback (both positive and negative) but he told me he was going to schedule interviews. He promised this 2 weeks ago, I haven't heard back.
  • Team #4: I did an interview with a principal engineer, I felt it went well. But manager let me know that after talking with the engineer, they decided to pause the hiring. I asked him for how long they were going to pause and he never replied. (I'm very confused that he didn't say whether I did good or bad, just that he was pausing.)

I'm at a loss here. Imposter syndrome is kicking in and I'm worried that managers #1 and #4 lied to me, and that managers #3 is hoping I will forget about the interviews because in reality he didn't want to hire me.

I had no idea internal transfers were this complicated and I don't know who to talk to about this, I feel embarrassed that I can't find a team that will accept me. What do I do?

  • 4
    If you want change, why does it have to be an internal transfer? Since your attempts didn't work out, maybe it's time to look externally?
    – Roland
    Sep 19, 2019 at 6:25
  • Ask your boss to help. He should have more idea of what other projects there and, and which might suit yoiu Sep 19, 2019 at 6:30
  • 2
    #Team2 sounds hopeful (no, really). They obviously have standards and told you explicitly what to do to improve (take better care with you work before submitting PRs). Regarding the others, ask again after 6 months have elapsed. And do what @Mawg suggests.
    – Justin
    Sep 19, 2019 at 8:12
  • Can you elaborate on why you want a change, and how you selected the positions you applied to? Tell us your goals (more specifically than "I want to change") and what exactly your question is (again, more specifically than "what do I do?")? That may give us some clues to provide more meaningful feedback. Otherwise, there's not much to say except "yup, this is about how internal hiring goes in some companies."
    – dwizum
    Sep 19, 2019 at 12:32

3 Answers 3


Internal job transfers are just like external ones with additional risk for the employee. The risk is that your current manager may be aware of the attempt much earlier in the process.

Other than the risk stated above; the processes, procedures, budget changes, and seemingly randomness of the final decision is exactly the same.

I have been denied an interview where my resume matched the job description. I have been ghosted by the process. One time they posted a position on the internal job board, and I applied the same day. Six months later my resume was still at "submitted", not even reviewed, and the position was still on the board. I have even been lied to when the job was listed as funded and they needed the person selected to start in less than two weeks; but then waited 2 months for the actual contract award, plus one for funding the contract, and then a few more weeks before on-boarding.

Of course with any job search some applications move quickly, some move slowly, some have movements that don't make sense. Even if you get to the interview that doesn't mean you will be selected. They have multiple serious qualified candidates.

You have to treat these applications the same way you do external applications. Don't invest too much emotionally in any one application. Make multiple applications if multiple ones look good, you don't control the speed they move through the hiring process.

Sometimes the best thing is to know people on other projects who can tip you off to a potential opening, or who can recommend you to their manager. That can make it more likely they will select you for the position.


Team #1: Could take along while but it does not hurt to mail to inform about the status so you can let the manager know you are still interested.

Team #2: Work on the feedback you got. But I think this is not an option for now

Team #3: Maybe you can find out if they did have interviews with others? It is not unrealistic that they have not been planned yet. Just mail the manager (now or in a little while) and ask when the interviews might take place (in general not yours specifically)

Team #4: It can be that the manager simply forgot to reply. But it can also be that this manager does not want you and doesn't want to tell you somehow. Be glad in that case because such a manager would be horrible to have anyway.

In general: Find someone with an overview of the different teams that can help you find something that suits you well. And maybe ask someone who you know transferred internally to get some tips. I once moved internally and it took some time for me as well Just be honest and let them know (if true ofcourse) that you will be looking elsewhere if there is nothing for you with this company.


I don't think that internal transfers are necessarily more complex but you are more likely to get messed around like this.

When people recruit externally, they generally have already got definite approval for the additional cost, and a firm idea of what they want. Thanks to the approval process, they probably needed this additional person months ago and want to move quickly. They also know that there will be a few months while a new hire learns the system.

Internal recruitment can be a lot more informal. Managers might look around before getting approval, or talk to people who are more junior that they'd ideally want, or just before they really need you because they're not competing against other recruiters.

Internal candidates can be very attractive because you know the company culture and systems (and there's no recruiter commission to pay!) so managers will interview you even when you might not be a perfect fit for the job, in the hope that it could work out. (by contrast, in external recruitment, you talk to people who should have all the relevant skills, looking for someone who would fit the company culture).

Don't worry about not finding an internal vacancy, they're always rare. It's much easier to find a job with another company.

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