ASK HR: How do I tell her that she does not qualify for this vacancy?

Thursday May 23 2019

Recently, one of my colleagues came to me and mentioned that she wanted to apply for a vacant supervisory position. PHOTO| FILE| NATION MEDIA GROUP


Q I am a marketing manager with a real estate firm. My employees are a great team to work with.

Recently, one of them came to me and mentioned that she wanted to apply for a vacant supervisory position.

I requested that we take up the conversation when official communication about the vacancy is sent out.

What is the best way to tell an employee that they are great at what they do but are not ready to be promoted?


This is a dilemma faced by many well-meaning supervisors, and one of the best ways to take this conversation is to have a frank discussion with this employee.


You could bring this up during a progress review meeting, or set up a meeting to discuss career development plans.

You do not have to wait until the role is advertised as that may take a while. Discussing it while it is still top of mind will be better received by the employee and create a better working relationship free of anxiety.

When you meet, ask her about her career aspirations, for instance how she sees herself growing within the organisation.

Most likely, she will talk about her focus on the supervisor position. Ask her to evaluate the competencies that make her suitable for the role.

Talk briefly about the key requirements of the job, from deliverables to qualifications such as education, skills and experience.

Have a frank discussion about how she matches these requirements.

A supervisory job involves leading a team and ensuring each knows what is expected of them, that they have the right resources to get the job done and that they do the job.

If, for example, she has not led a team before, which seems likely, guide her on how she could overcome this obstacle and how she could prepare herself better for a future vacancy.

As her supervisor, you have a better view on capabilities, potential and areas of development of each of your direct reports.

Tell her what concerns you most about her competencies and why you think she needs to wait a little longer.

Advise her on each specific area she must focus on towards becoming a stronger contender for the next opportunity, including training and exposure that would enhance her skills.

You have an ambitious employee in your team seeking your support and guidance on the best career move.

If you close all doors to her career plans, she will be a high flight risk, but if you guide her and agree on what she needs to do to prepare for that promotion, she will be a loyal employee as she waits for the next available opportunity.