Bouncing Back from a Missed Promotion

Posted May 18, 2017 in Latest News & Insights, Resilience

Discovering that you weren’t selected for the promotion that you’ve had your heart set on is always disappointing. How you dust yourself off and learn from this experience will set the stage for success with that next opportunity.

Setbacks are a part of life…and they are a part of growth.


This month we sat down with Roundtable members Adrian Vargas and Scott Ouellet to get their perspective on how to bounce back and move forward from these disappointing experiences.

Both Adrian and Scott highlighted the importance of self-reflection in these circumstances. Reflection on why you really wanted this job and whether it was really the right stepping stone for your career. Reflection on why you didn’t get the job and whether it’s something reflective of performance or other circumstances.

In addition, Scott Ouellet, Director of Supply Chain Canada at Hershey Canada, reminds us of the importance of handling these disappointments in a professional way while getting focused on that next opportunity. He shares these tips on how to move forward:

  • Realize that there can be more eyes on you after the interview than during the interview. How you react may be critical to how you are perceived as a team player.
  • Focus on ‘what’ not ‘why’. Ask what you need to do to position yourself for the next opportunity. Understand if there are any shortcomings. Be sure to use strong confident body language in your discussions.
  • Remember that you own 50% of your career and your manager owns the other 50%. It is critical that your direct manager is aware of your career goals and ambitions.
  • Network! Take time to have career conversations with other leaders in the organization at many levels and in different areas of the company. Understand your assets and how they might benefit other departments.

Adrian Vargas, Supply Chain Functional Business Relationship Manager Director for the Asia Middle East and North Africa Sector of PepsiCo, points out that getting passed over for a promotion may indicate a missed opportunity to do the absolute best job of managing your career. He offers the following suggestions:


  • Review past feedback and assessments – look for trends and identify if there’s something that you may want to put your focus on.
  • Evaluate your mentorship network and how well you leveraged it to get input, perspective and advise on the promotion you were looking for. Consider what you may want to do differently going forward.
  • Focus on critical experiences, rather than promotions. Recognizing the flatter, more matrix-based approach of work in today’s environment, anticipate what skills will be required for the job you aspire to. Identify the critical experiences that will get you there.
  • Turn to all of the things that got you to where you are today, lay out an action plan that allows you to further leverage those things and share that plan with others to hold yourself accountable.

Remember, the most successful leaders excel at course-correcting when things don’t go quite the way they’d planned. Bouncing back from a missed promotion should be no different!

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