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I decided to read up on my company's policies for promotions and one of the requirements is creating this "promotion document" about what you have accomplished.

This seems like a burdensome process compared to sending out your resume if you are a software engineer. I am wondering if this is meant as a subtle "go away" to engineers who are seeking advancement.

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6 Answers 6

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No. This sounds like they simply want you to write down your answer to "Why do you think we should promote you?"

Your CV is not really useful during a promotion process as it contains nothing related to your performance during the last years. The CV was the reason you got your current position, so if you now want a better evaluation, you have to tell them what you learned and achieved.

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    There's nothing stopping you updating your CV before applying for an internal role. Mar 22, 2021 at 8:55
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    @PhilipKendall There is also nothing stopping the company for just asking for the delta. Mar 22, 2021 at 9:04
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    Yes, it's just an internally relevant CV
    – Kilisi
    Mar 22, 2021 at 9:26
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    @Kilisi And the best part of an internal CV is that you can brag about all that cool stuff you've been doing that you can't talk about on your regular CV, either because they're not publicly released yet or because nobody outside the company would know what you're talking about.
    – bta
    Mar 23, 2021 at 2:51
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Even if you are a software engineer applying elsewhere usually means.

  • Search/decide about a company you want to apply to.
  • Do some research about this company.
  • Update your CV.
  • Writing a cover letter.
  • Taking time off for two or more face-2-face/phone/Zoom interviews.

and if you don't get hired at the first company you apply to, all/most of these steps have to be performed more than once.

Although I don't know the exact format and length of this so-called "promotion document", I seriously doubt that filling out/writing this document is more work. So no, I don't think that requiring an employee to create a "promotion document" when they want a promotion is a subtle way to work them out the door if they are ambitious.

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  • I'll be so very happy when we can go back to having face-to-face interviews. There are some things that Zoom (or whatever) cannot replicate. For example, opening the white board, handing candidates a marker, and asking them to sketch out a solution to a hypothetical problem. Our younger employees who are involved in the interview process will be very happy as well; they are the ones who take candidates out to lunch at a swanky restaurant. The added expense to the company of in-person interviews, which may include a round trip plane flight, a hotel room, and meals, is well worth the cost. Mar 23, 2021 at 9:38
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    You omitted the initial screening interview with someone from HR, the now widely used coding test to ensure candidates can at least pass the fizz-buzz level, a second screening interview with someone who does know how to program. With my employer, once one passes that initial gauntlet, there's more to come. We do this because of the very real and very high cost to the employer of hiring someone who should never been hired in the first place. This comes with the price of an opportunity cost of not hiring someone we should have hired immediately, but it is what it is. Mar 23, 2021 at 9:52
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You're comparing Apples and Oranges; this document isn't just the 'CV', it's part of the interview as well.

When you're applying for a bonus/raise/promotion/etc, there are two things you need to have at the tip of your tongue:

  • Why you're valuable to the company; what are all the things you've done that have generated large amounts of value to them.
  • Why the sufficient pay/level/etc aren't sufficient for the company getting that value (typically: "I could earn X amount more by moving companies.")

... all this document you're worried about is simply a type-up of the first of those two. Seriously, I've typed up a similar document for my own personal use each time I've applied for a position/promotion/etc. Because it helps me memorize all the aspects of that first bullet point, by typing and reviewing it.

Chances are, if you go up to your boss with a document listing out a large number of amazing things you've produced for the company, with the statement, "I'm not really happy with my current salary level, and I'm seeing job listings matching my skill set for $8k more than I'm currently making." - chances are, you're not going to have to do much more in-person negotiation. (Whereas, if you hand a company a resume, it's not like they're going to hire you without any interviewing.)

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This seems like a burdensome process compared to sending out your resume if you are a software engineer

You're absolutely right. In my own personal experience, it seems easier to get hired into the position you want than being promoted to the same position.

As far as why, it could be various reasons. First off they hired you at a price, and if you "promote" that means from your baseline, you're getting a wage increase. So let's say you started off at 40k per year, and in the promoted position, you earn 100k per year. From the standpoint of a company, that means they're giving you 60k more. Whereas if they hire that position at say, 90k, then gave them 10k promotion, that's better than your 60k.

While that doesn't make sense, it begins to show when new people coming in and wondering why Joe gets a 60k raise when they only got a 10k raise. It may not seem like a big deal, but it is when people begin to ask why one person in the same position is able to get so much more than the same position elsewhere in the company. It helps the company keep a plausible explanation as oppose to being put in the hotseat having to answer why Joe gets 60k raise, and Sally gets only 10k. It could backfire on them given the sensitivity of today's workforce and seemingly like they're only giving raises and promotions to a certain group of people or gender. If they simply hired someone into the position rather than promoted, it gives them a plausible explanation as to why there is a large pay gap and it also reduces the amount of wage increases they give per year.

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Typing up a document seems less burdensome than

  • Search for job
  • Write cover letter
  • Prepare CV
  • Several interviews

But if it really is that bad, and you feel like applying externally is easier and more likely to work, go ahead.

I am wondering if this is meant as a subtle "go away" to engineers who are seeking advancement.

Some people don't like job searching and would rather stay in their current position even though they could get something better. The same applies to promotions, some people will simply not bother if it is too much work. So this accomplishes the goal of using that inertia to create hurdles for people and hopefully avoid giving them promotions or raises. This may or may not be intended goal - it could also be that the person who created the process is not properly incentivized to make it easy, or is incompetent.

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Creating a "promotion document" that details your accomplishments sounds a lot like the same process you would go through to update your resume and prepare yourself for job interviews. To consider these to be two completely different things is missing the point. You probably (hopefully) have performance reviews that detail your accomplishments, so this should not be hard.

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