In my company there is only one full-time job opening and we all compete for it. The full-time job was held by the boss, who is now "moving on to better things" and his job will become available soon. In the last year or so, I have put in a lot of extra hours and did a lot extra work for our department. The boss did noticed my work, and he is favorably predisposed, however he is pushing up another colleague instead of me. The guy he is trying to position as his replacement doesn't have his skills or mine for that matter, and yet now he is sharing the bosses duties and acting as if he already has the boss' job.

I am not happy about being pushed away after all the work I did for the department. My credentials, skills and experience match better the qualifications needed for the full-time position about to open, and I am confident that I will do much better job. I have worked with the other guy on projects together and I have seeing first hand that he can't handle a lot of the work. When we worked together on a project he asked me to do all the work, and then he took credit for the work I did, because it was a "group project." If he is hired as my boss, I can easily see how this trend will continue.

The hiring decision will be made by a hiring committee, not by my boss alone. So, how do I get hired, instead of the other guy whose only skills are that he is friends with the boss.

  • Related question (too late now, probably) - workplace.stackexchange.com/q/11816/2322
    – enderland
    Oct 25, 2015 at 19:38
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    It sounds like your colleague is good at delegating, which is a very important skill in a manager... Your suspicions of favouritism/sexism may be correct, but it doesn't sound as though you're looking at the problem objectively. You need to pretend like you like your colleague first and work out what he's doing differently to you before assuming the worst.
    – Ben
    Oct 25, 2015 at 21:47
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    Have you talked to your boss about your interest in taking his role? Maybe he's favouring the other person because he doesn't realise that there is anyone else asking for it.
    – HorusKol
    Oct 25, 2015 at 22:04
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    It's certainly appropriate to ask the boss whether there's anything you could work on that might improve your chances.
    – keshlam
    Oct 26, 2015 at 2:41
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    The way you talk about this other coworker is quite disparaging, if not crossing a line. If it's coming across online I can only imagine it in person. I would look towards your people skills, not just your ability to action work.
    – Michael A
    Oct 26, 2015 at 4:14

5 Answers 5


The hiring decision will be made by a hiring committee, not by my boss alone. So, how do I get hired, instead of the other guy whose only skills are that he is friends with the boss.

In most cases, you would interview for the job. It's not clear if interviews will be conducted in this case or if a decision will just be made without interviews.

Either way, you should try to talk with the decision makers and state your case as to why you are a great fit for the job. The decision makers might include your boss as well as others.

Make sure you focus on the requirements of the new job, and not just that you have been good at the old job. You can mention how hard you have worked at the old job, but that should not form the basis for why you will be great at the new job.

For example, if the new job is a leadership role, emphasize why you will be a great leader. If the new job is about collaborating with other stakeholders, emphasize your skills in that area. If the new job is about hiring, training, and growing a team, indicate how you have done that well in the past.

Avoid any mention of favoritism, or "the other guy". That just makes you look weak. Remember that the other guy's "only skills are that he is friends with the boss" is your conclusion, and may not be shared by others.


You aren't going to want to hear this, but management jobs require the ability to play office politics. It is about 80-90% of what they do. Your co-worker has shown this ability and you have not.

It is not enough to do a job well, you have to make sure you are perceived by senior managers as having done well and you have to show the skills needed for the job you are aiming for not just for your job. You have to build a reputation within the organization not just within your own work group. You have to tell people you are interested in a promotion and ask to be given assignments to help you get that promotion. You have to take credit for your work before someone else takes credit for it. You also have to walk the fine line between being good at your job and being so good that they can't afford to promote you out of it.

There are lots of books on office politics. You don't have to be a ruthless snake to play. In fact you in the game whether you want to be or not which is why you are losing. Right now you are like a football team that is standing around on the playing field chatting while the other team moves the ball. That is a sure way to lose.

If your colleague gets the job (which I give a 95% chance to or better from what you said, these internal promotions are almost always decided long before the official job opening is posted) then you need to learn to work for this person and to not have an attitude about losing the promotion. You need to learn how to play the game effectively in your office, which he clearly can show you. You need to support you new boss and make him look good so he gets promoted and leaves the slot to you or you need to find a new job.

While you company culture may make it harder for a woman to get promoted, don't fall into the trap of thinking this is the reason. You can't fix that (well I guess technically you could change sexes, but I am thinking that the surgery is probably not what you want to do), so don't dwell on it. Look at what you can fix. Some of why women have trouble getting promoted is that they are socialized not to push themselves forward. You can learn to promote yourself within and outside the organization, so that you have a better chance of getting promoted. Political skills are necessary for all but the most junior of jobs. So get those skills. Learn how to be effective as a leader. Learn how to directly ask for what you want and get a plan set up for getting there. Those are things you can change, so concentrate on them. I am a woman, I can't tell you the number of times I was told that a woman couldn't do this or that job when I was young. So I know it is painful to feel as if something you can't help is holding you back. But I have noticed through the years, the people who keep that in their mind as the main reason for their problems rarely get promoted and or if they do they are discounted by everyone because they were an Affirmative action pick and clearly, in the minds of others, not qualified. So that is not the effective way to go.

I understand that it is frustrating to feel as if someone less qualified is going to be promoted over you as I have certainly been in that position. But you know the funny thing is the one that upset me the most about his promotion, turned out to be the best boss I ever had. Good thing I didn't burn my bridges with him beforehand or when he was first promoted or I would not be where I am today. And even a bad boss can be a blessing if you can get him to give you the tasks he doesn't want to do. Then you get the experience that shows you are ready to move up. And what will hurt you for promotion the next time is to be angry and uncooperative with the person they do promote.


I would ask your boss for more responsibility, as a woman (don't be offended) your work however good can often be undervalued for that reason. Your colleague has one big advantage over you, he can take credit for your work. This tells me you're not asserting yourself enough. And it looks like he is already being groomed for that reason.

You need to look at what advantages you have, better skills, better record? and capitalise on those. Making detrimental comments about your colleague and/or saying you're better is not the way to go. The best thing is to SHOW you're better which might be too late at this stage. Take as much credit as you can.

Personally I'd go see your boss one on one and ask him if you're being considered for the position and why you think you would be the best choice for it, without bad mouthing anyone of course. If you don't ask you'll never know, although it can be tough to do it. This in itself can lead to a positive outcome, because any good boss will then realise that they might lose a valuable staff member if they don't take them seriously. And they might start considering you for the position when you'd only been overlooked previously because you didn't show enough interest while you colleague obviously has.

If you feel strongly that you will get shafted and your contributions won't be recognised and it's not likely to get better, then start looking for a new job. Life is mostly about the journey, don't get stuck in a pot hole.


how to deal with it? Get over it. Such things happen. You may have put in more hours, you may think you're better qualified (and maybe you are) but others, those in control, obviously think different.

If you can't live with that, can't bear to work under someone you consider your junior and inferior to you, find another job.

  • Blunt to the point of borderline rudeness, but not entirely wrong. As others said, try working with management to find out what they would need to see from you to make you the preferred candidate... but if it happens, all you can do is set your resentment aside and focus on being the obvious candidate for the next promotion opening, unless you're ready to go elsewhere or really want to try making a prejudice accusation (with thd obvious risks).
    – keshlam
    Oct 26, 2015 at 13:19
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    ...and this is why there are few women in STEM fields. Because if the only choice is to accept being treated unfairly or leave, many choose the latter. Oct 26, 2015 at 15:32

Your boss may see you as a valued employee for his department and as such doesn't feel like promoting you and losing you. It could also be that your boss is taking credit for your work because he's the boss. To determine this, you'll have to figure out what your boss is saying about you. Is he passing your name along with ideas to the top? Or is he simply taking your work and using it for himself while only praising you in private? It's entirely possible that you're unrecognized by anyone except your boss and he may want to keep it that way.

As you can see being promoted doesn't have to do with how hard you work. The main thing is the senior staff liking the person regardless of work quality. My advice in the future is not to put so many hours into your work just in hopes to get promoted. First, be sure to tell your boss what you want to do with your career and work towards that. It could be your co-worker went to your boss, told him what he/she wanted to do with his career, and he concurred by stating there's a opening he could apply.

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