Consult Carson 7/13: “I’m tired of being passed over for promotions. What should I do?”

From today’s mailbag: “I’m tired of being passed over for promotions I’m more than qualified for.  Should I look elsewhere?  What should be my response?”

Carson: First off, don’t react.

I know your initial reaction is to be angry or upset, and sometimes rightfully so.  You may or may not even know the person you were “passed over” for and – in reality – your angst that is directed toward their general direction is really not about them.  It’s about the decision.

1. Re-focus on your priorities.  You asked about leaving your current role.  Well, do you have an opportunity to leave your role, not start all over, and go into a role like the one you are currently angling for?  You were considered for this promotion, right?  If so, wait until you have fully processed the change and reach out to the decision maker for feedback.  “Mr./Mrs. Hiring Manager, good morning!  It is my hope this note finds you well.  The intent of the correspondence is to reach out regarding the position we discussed of _______.  As you know, I am very interested in growing in my career, and would very much like to meet or chat so I may obtain additional feedback and guidance regarding my career path and steps I may take to continue toward my goals.  When would be a good time to schedule this follow-up?  Thank you, and looking forward to continuing the conversation.” If NOT, and you were not considered or interviewed, why?  It can still be a great move – if you haven’t already – to reach out or reach out again to the decision-maker to either get on their radar or find out specifically why you are not.  The response you get from the meeting request and from their feedback, the plan you agree to and your execution of said plan (along with results from your execution) determine if this is the company you will grow with or if it shall be another.

2. Perform an analysis of your strengths and areas of opportunity.  Clearly, you feel you possess a large number of the attributes required to move up the corporate ladder.  However, are you completely honest about any potential shortcomings you have?  Remember, that often a promotion goes to just 1 person.  For that role, it’s likely anywhere from 50 to 100 or 1,000 people applied to the role.  Fair or not, many of these hiring processes are set up as a process of elimination – to find candidates who do not possess one or more of the required elements and take them out of the running.  As much as the fact you did not get the promotion stings, be honest with yourself and look at the areas where you can continue to improve.  You can even highlight these along with your plan to address them while you are meeting with the hiring manager or anyone else who would be part of future decisions!

3. Be gracious.  All eyes will likely be on you at this point.  Your manager or the hiring manager may specifically be gauging how you react and respond to the move that was made to assess your business demeanor and how well you function as part of the team, division and company.  Congratulate the candidate who earned the role, offer to help in any way you can with anything within your span of control, and control what you can; positive feedback about you at this point can greatly assist you and any negative feedback concerning your handling of the situation can and will ensure you never get a promotion.  Negativity you create can and will be a reason you are eliminated from future promotion conversations before they even begin.

As painful as it feels right now, many great leaders have not been selected for a promotion while someone else was.  We use this as a learning experience.  We accept it as a challenge to analyze our process; we may be stronger in some areas than anyone else, however if we have a glaring area of opportunity, we must address it and become a more complete contributor.

Leaders are selected based on a variety of factors; do everything you can to determine what decision-makers are looking for, developing your process in every area that counts and constantly evolving to be a well-rounded team member.  Do this, be consistent (the value of consistency is so great!) and work hard.  Don’t drop out of the race, don’t let yourself fall back and don’t show immaturity.  Take it as a learning experience, ensure that you still have a viable path to your goals at your current company and move forward.  Your time will come.


Carson V. Heady posts for “Consult Carson” serving as the “Dear Abby” of sales and sales leadership.  You may post any question that puzzles you regarding sales and sales leadership careers: interviewing, the sales process, advancing and achieving.  You will also be directly contributing to his third book, “A Salesman Forever.”

Question submissions can be made via LinkedIn to Carson V. Heady, this Facebook page: , Twitter via @cvheady007 or e-mail at or you may post an anonymous comment as a reply to my WordPress blog at the bottom of this page:

Carson V. Heady has written a book entitled “Birth of a Salesman” that has a unique spin that shows you proven sales principles designed to birth in you the top producer you were born to be.

If you would like to strengthen your sales skills, go to

About cvheady007

I am a Christian, Husband, Dad, workaholic and author. Biography Carson Vincent Heady was born in Cape Girardeau, MO, graduated from Southeast Missouri State University and moved to St. Louis in 2001. He has served in sales and leadership across Microsoft, AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile. Carson is best-selling author of the Birth of a Salesman series, the first book of which was published by World Audience Inc. in 2010. He released The Salesman Against the World in 2014, A Salesman Forever in 2016 and Salesman on Fire in 2020. He is also featured in Scott Ingram’s B2B Sales Mentors: 20 Stories from 20 Top 1% Sales Professionals. Carson is a 7-time CEO/President’s Club winner across 5 roles at AT&T and Microsoft and National Verizon Rockstar winner. He has been recognized as a top social seller at Microsoft and is consistently ranked in the top 25 sales gurus in the world on Rise Global. He is included among the Top 50 sales authors on LinkedIn. With over 330K social followers, Carson has also been interviewed on over 30 sales and leadership podcasts, by such luminaries as Jeffrey & Jennifer Gitomer, Jeb Blount, Brandon Bornancin, Sam Dunning, Larry Levine, Darrell Amy, Scott Ingram, Thierry van Herwijnen, Jim Brown, Sam Jacobs, Luigi Prestinenzi, Donald Kelly, Marylou Tyler, George Leith, Pat Helmer, Eric Nelson, Ron Tunick, Jeff Arthur, Mary Ann Samedi, Jean Oursler, Andre Harrell, Marlene Chism, Bill Crespo, Matt Tanguay, Josh Wheeler and Chad Bostick. He has also co-hosted the Smart Biz Show on EG Marketing Radio. His articles have appeared in several noteworthy publications such as SalesGravy, Smash! Sales, Salesopedia and the Baylor Sports Department S3 Report. Carson lives in St. Louis, MO, with his wife Amy and daughters Madison, Sidonia and Charlotte.
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