Etiquette for applying to an internal position

Hoping to get thoughts from folks that might have been in my situation before. I'm starting to get restless in my current job and want to consider new opportunities. My company doesn't have an internal job board, but I saw on their public job listings a job I'm interested in.

Specifically, I'm curious how to handle this while working my current job since this would be an internal move.

Should I tell my manager if I apply so they have a heads up about it?

annamiller's profile thumbnail
Hi there, If you feel your manager is a good resource for you, I would recommend to reach out to your manager first and express your interest in this internal position. If your manager is a good one, they will want to learn more about your interest and how they can support you and connect you with the relevant people. Depending on the size of your company, you can also start the conversation directly with the hiring manager of the position. Hope you get this chance to explore this new opportunity!
Thank you!
annekevictorica's profile thumbnail
It's totally understandable that you would want to explore new opportunities, that's exciting! If I were you I would speak with my manager, assuming that you don't have any serious concerns or conflict with them. A few reasons:1) if you apply for an internal role, your manager will almost certainly be asked to give feedback on their experience working with you and their perception of your work, and I wouldn't want my manager to find out about my application that way ;)2) if they are indeed consulted, the rationale that you share with your manager can help them to give a well-informed recommendation for you. 3) you want to think strategically about how you frame your conversation with your manager, keeping in mind the possibility that you wouldn't get the new role (which I hope you do!). From your company's or manager's perspective, when someone expresses interest in a different role/team/department, it can raise questions about how happy or engaged they are in their current position. That's because managing someone who's really "checked out" is very difficult. So I would try to be as honest as possible while also thinking through the different scenarios - what will encourage your manager to give a glowing recommendation and what will also put them at ease if you end up staying in your current role for a bit longer. You want them to be an ally as much as possible, whether that's in helping you get this other job or in getting you closer to the job that you want. Let us know how it goes and best of luck!
Thank you!
ChristineTaylor's profile thumbnail
I recommend talking to your manager first too. I went through something similar a few years ago and didn’t trust I could safely tell my manager without it causing a problem with our relationship. When I was hired into another team and I went to tell him he was very bothered o hadn’t told him sooner. I gave 2+ weeks notice but in his mind I was dishonest. He has retaliated against me internally ever since. I’m not saying that’s okay - obv it’s not. But I am suggesting what some others are here - finding a way to be open beforehand so it’s not a surprise. If I had thought my departure would bother my director so much I would have tried talking to him about it sooner.
Sorry to hear he retaliated against you 😞 thanks for your input!
Although I agree you should tell your manager at the appropriate time, I believe it's more important first to figure out the odds of getting the other role. I'd suggest reaching out informally to the department with the open role for coffee networking. You want to speak with someone on that team first, preferably whoever would be your new boss, to figure out if you even like this person. You could just express general career interest (e.g., "I've always been interested in product management. How did you start your career?") or something like that. If you like the person, you could segue into mentioning that you noticed the open role and ask if they are considering internal candidates.What you'd want to avoid is a situation where you could find out easily that this other team or manager has a bad reputation and you aren't interested in working with them, but then you've blindsided your current manager in the meantime.Whereas if you do the informal method, you can go to your manager and express your interest while also being pretty confident that there's mutual interest between you and the new team.A final important ally could be someone who is more senior than either your manager or the other team's manager — senior people at the company want to retain talent, so they are more likely to want to keep you and reallocate resources, whereas your current manager could quietly sabotage your efforts out of self-interest if they wanted to.I speak from experience. I once changed teams, and it affected my compensation the first year after the switch, although it was totally worth it in the long run. Keep in mind that internal moves can be so political that it might just be easier to look for a new job (especially in this hiring environment).
Before I told my manager, I would investigate the position and whether the other department had a preferred candidate. The last thing you want is to make your interest known, only to find out that X has the job locked up. They may have placed the ad only for specific reasons, like being able to say they had a diverse field of candidates before they gave the job to the person who was going to get it all along.