CODE RED: I haven't got my promotion and now I'm .....

  • Date posted: 24 Jul 2017
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I’ll let you fill in the blanks….


Hell hath no fury like a Recruiter scorned.

We’ve all been there at some point.

We get promised a promotion. We take the Boss at their word. We get our heads down. We work our butts off. We nail the target and come up for air expecting applause, fanfares and the sound of corks popping but it’s eerily quiet.

Nobody’s noticed.

Sometimes it’s worse than that. We ask where the promotion is and we get put firmly back in our box.

That’s right. The bloody goal posts have been moved and we’ve been so busy working away we haven’t even noticed.

What the……

Here’s our guide on what to do in this exact scenario.


So it’s easy to go down the “don’t get mad, get even” route but it’s rarely the right course of action. Not yet, anyway. Before you even think about speaking to someone about this or embarking on a specific course of action you need to stop and think about why you’re in the position. It’s not for the faint hearted as it means asking yourself whether it’s actually your fault. Quite a hard thing for us Recruiters to do. We deal with so many issues inflicted by other people every day that our default position is for everything that goes wrong to be someone else’s fault.

Ask yourself whether you really understood the full requirements for promotion. Did you confirm them in writing? Have you done EVERYTHING?? I can tell you that your Boss is normally looking for behaviours, activity, fees and impact on the business as a whole. While your personal fee performance is important it’s not everything. Are you a positive influence on the team and wider business? Are you easy to manage? Are you going above and beyond? How does your performance compare against your peers?

Sobering isn’t it?

If you know you haven’t excelled in all areas then the easy (although perhaps slightly painful) course of action now is to simply sit down with your line manager and tell them you feel you have delivered your financial targets, but would like feedback on what else you specifically need to do now to get your promotion. Oh, and make sure it’s a SMART target… get it specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timed. Or you’ll be waiting a while!


But if this isn’t the situation for you and you have definitely done EVERYTHING to get your promotion it’s time for a hard look at your current situation.

If you’re a great Recruiter, then you are naturally target driven. When targets prove to be worthless (because the reward and pay off isn’t there) then your motivation will take a hit and it will be hard for you to stay in peak performance mode.

– time and time again we see this as the start of a Recruitment Consultant’s disengagement with their employer, and because they don’t take immediate action, and out of a false sense of loyalty, they stay in a role whether they no longer feel valued.

When you have lost respect and trust for the leadership in your firm you can easily start to self-combust – you’re now negatively wired in your thinking and it can lead to passive aggressive behaviour. Slowly but surely performance starts to erode, pressure comes down the line and before you know it you are in a negative cycle of combative behaviour with your Boss.

To decide whether to stay or go you need to understand WHY your Boss has reneged on the promotion promise.

The usual REAL reasons are:



I'm sorry to tell you this but sometimes Bosses promise promotions to recruit you, to keep you in a role, or to get you to do a role nobody else wants. At the time that they make the promise the future promise feels a long way off. They forgot about this long ago and probably never had any intention of promoting you.

It’s not you, it’s them. Don’t take it personally. It’s simply time to find somewhere else to be.


Possibly one of the most frustrating reasons of all. You’re doing well but those around you aren’t – because the branch or firm is struggling to generate profit they simply can’t afford your promotion. Sadly, your competency is paying for the incompetency of others and if your Boss is happy to let that happen it’s unlikely this will go anywhere good. You can’t take responsibility for other people’s performance.


Ouch. Sorry. But sometimes your Boss isn’t promoting because they just don’t like you. Sometimes it’s just a personality clash, sometimes your Boss is intimidated by your success, sometimes they are just too insecure to promote someone too closely to their own position and sometimes… sometimes…rather unfairly, your Boss wants to promote someone else that they like more.

All very unfair. But trust me, if this is the reason then this isn’t the right place for you.


If the owner of your firm is secretly getting ready for a sale they are probably on a cost cutting mission – they’re definitely not going to add cost at a time when they want to look most valuable to a buyer – foolhardy in our opinion as showing succession planning and strong seniors or managers in the business is likely to strengthen the business. It may be that the sale is agreed and the new owners have a clause preventing promotions until the sale is complete.



So we’ve painted a bleak picture here but really it’s not as bad as you think. When you know you have done everything you should and you haven’t been promoted the issue is with your firm not you. If you have earned that promotion and you have what it takes I can guarantee you a new employer will see it.

Nearly all of our placements go on to a role with increased responsibility or title and ALL of our placements from the last year have gained significantly financially.

So cheer up Recruiters. The work is done. You have earned the promotion – it’s just going to be printed on a new set of business cards.

You’re more valuable than you realise and we know the firms that will see it.

If you haven’t got the promotion you deserve get in touch – and we’ll get it for you.


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