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I am employed in a bank as a Management Trainee. During the interview session, I was told that they have one or two positions vacant in the HR Department, and they asked me if I was interested. I said yes.

They then told me that they do not place Management Trainees in the HR Department. I would initially be placed in the department of General Banking, gather some knowledge about GB and after two years they will move me to the HR Department. I don't know why they asked me to do this, but I strongly suspect that they will not remember to move me to the HR Department after two years.

As a newly recruited employee, and as required by the bank, I have to show some key skills, such as collecting new customers.

Suppose I become an expert customer-collector, and they decide to promote me and keep me in the General Banking section for the benefit of the organization. What would happen if I refused to get promoted in GB and say that I want to be placed in the HR Department? Will it be bad for my career in the organization?

Can I ask for a letter explaining their intent to place me in the HR Department? Is it within the decorum to write such letters?

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    I don't believe any company can guarantee someone will be promoted in two years. That's a long time and they can't accurately predict where their company will be or where you will be in that much time. – animuson Aug 15 '12 at 7:54
  • Timing isn't an important aspect of my question. Suppose they promote me in 10 years. – user2018 Aug 15 '12 at 7:59
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    Is this type of staffing strategy prevalent in the banking sector? Seems like a shifty way for resolving resource/staffing issues in the GB department. – tehnyit Aug 15 '12 at 10:12
  • @Jim I am struggling to understand why the new title is better than the old... – IDrinkandIKnowThings Oct 1 '12 at 14:10
  • Why do you want to move into HR? – Neuromancer Dec 23 '13 at 17:39
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Something about what your employer is doing seems questionable to me. If I understand correctly, they approached you saying that they have a couple of HR positions that are vacant right now. Then after you indicated interest in one of those positions they told you that you couldn't actually have them, but that they could transfer you into GB and then eventually into HR. That sounds a lot like bait-and-switch to me.

The problem is, if they don't promote from your current position into HR, then there was really no reason for them to approach you about filling the HR vacancy in the first place. They would have known this in advance, and they would definitely not be planning on waiting two years to fill a current vacancy.

Based on that it kind of sounds like they approached you with the first position as enticement to get you excited enough to accept the second position. I agree with your impression that in two years they won't remember about placing you into HR. By that point there may not be any vacancies in HR anyways.

Anyways, yes, you can request a letter, though I doubt that will be met with much success. I suggest being honest with them and telling them that what you really want is the HR position, and request that they explain why they offered you a position that you're not elligible for in the first place, and how they know that there will still be a position in HR for you in two years. If their explanations make sense to you, and if you're comfortable living with the risk that they may not honor their word (or that in two years you may be dealing with completely different individuals who have no knowledge about your situation at all) then take it. Otherwise politely refuse.

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    hmm...you are right. i grabbed a bait. – user2018 Aug 15 '12 at 9:37
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    I would decline the promotion then start looking for a different company to work for. There is something off by what you describe. – Donald Aug 15 '12 at 12:06
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I'm going to try not to read anything into the politics on this one. I can see how this could be off-putting - to be talked to about a vacancy and then be told you can't have it is going to weaken your trust in the organization and that's fair.

Steps you might take...

1 - Ask for more information

It is totally legitimate to point out the inaccuracies of what you've been told and to retell the history of this to your boss or another trusted supervisor and say "I'm confused, what's going on here?"

It's also totally fine to ask for corroboration on why the policy exists and how likely it is that you'll really move to where you want to go - have other people done it? How likely is it? What behavior do you have to demonstrate to make the transition more likely or is it virtually guaranteed? Why should you believe it? These are all fine questions to give to the people offering you the jobs. You can even voice the fear that if you become a great customer-collector, they will keep you in GB instead of moving you to HR.

Also - voice your interest in HR. Be ready to explain why you prefer it, your strengths relating to it, and why it makes more sense for you personally. Stay away from any negative talk about GB - you never know the full history of the listener and negative talk can easily be taken the wrong way.

2 - Take or leave the offer given

Once you have the best information you can gather and you're certain that it's GB or nothing - you need to choose based on that. As someone else said - 2 years is a long time, a lot can change. If you don't like the work you will be doing this year at the organization, you need to look for other options outside of the organization.

You can hedge a bit, if you wish - and delay giving an answer while you look at the job market for a short time, but you do owe your current employer the decency of giving an answer in a timely fashion. There is no shame in saying "I'm sorry, but GB isn't what I want" - as long as you realize this may be the only offer. It's pretty hard to tell whether they would change the policy to keep you around, or whether this is something so important to them that they will let you go.

If, conversely, you think there is interesting work in GB and that the knowledge you'll gain is worthwhile to future work - then go for it.

3 - What about asking for promises?

It's a very situational thing on how well this would be taken - but my experience has been that no matter how formal and written a promise is, they can't guarantee your future promotion and to make you believe otherwise would be dishonest. Just about any promotion has two factors - your current job performance and the state of the business. So if you don't do well in GB or the business downsizes and doesn't need more people in HR, you will not get a promotion to HR - regardless of any letter they sign.

4 - How about later?

Among your questions it sounds like you are also wondering - if you take the job in GB, and become good enough to earn a promotion - what are your options about moving back to HR at that point? This is very much an "it depends". It has to do with how promotions work in your organization, how departments do their hiring and recruitment, and how your rejection of a promotion is interpreted by the boss.

Usually when a transfer comes up - the employee and the two organizations know about it and collaborate in some way. In a big company, there may be a transfer process, or it may be as informal as a personal talk with your supervisor. But a transfer is generally quite different from a "promotion" - it's getting someone a new job, rather than saying they are awesome at the current job and should have more responsibility.

The day your boss comes in with a promotion in hand for you is NOT the day to surprise him with your desire to leave his group. Nobody really loves to hear that their employees don't want to work for them - and the day a boss has gone to bat to get someone a promotion is not the day he wants to hear, "I don't want to be here"

Transfer discussions are something that should come up as part of your yearly reviews when you talk about your personal goals. In a perfect world, you'd have a boss who helped you structure your work in GB to make the transfer happen as smoothly as possible.

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Find somewhere else to work. Everything about this situation is shady at best, and flat-out suspicious at worst.

1) Hireing HR from within the GB department is odd, especially considering how much more suited a Management Trainee would be for the HR position.

2) The HR job is a carrot on a stick. They're using it to keep you there, and to put another body in GB. That job will not be around in 2 years ("Oh, I'm terribly sorry, but we filled that position a year and a half ago.") However, another position will miraculously open up at that time, though it will be available in another year.

3) A company who does things like this does not care about their employees. Employees should be happy to work for a place, and should NOT need to be tricked into it. Find another job, and get out if you can.

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  • At this moment, I don't have enough experience to leave for another company. I am actually observing everything. If the situation tends to improve, I will stay here. Otherwise not. – user2018 Aug 15 '12 at 13:41
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Generally it will be the employee's responsibility to submit for the new position once they have met the requirements. Unless they put it in writing that there will be a change I would not expect anything to happen.

This was a discussion about the future with your manager gauging your interest and trying to provide you with a goal. It is actually sort of like a sales tactic called bait and switch. The manager interests you with a potential promotion sometime in the future. You get frustrated with your sales job but keep trudging on in hopes that after a mere 24 months you can transition to a different field you are more interested in. Of course a lot can happen in 24 months and those positions can get filled. But not to worry in once you have 36 months in you will be eligible for a position in Auditing. We have several of those open now... just a few more months... Oh sorry but good news you are just a few years from being an assistant manager keep going...

Sadly in sales and marketing type positions this is not terribly uncommon. You are not actually promised anything just something to work towards. They have difficulty finding people to fill their sales positions so they give them titles that do not sound like sales like Management Trainee. On the plus side if you are great in sales you can make alot of money and if you do not want to leave sales they will probably not want you to go anyway.

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