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A Different Approach to Getting Selected

Updated on October 17, 2012
They say there is a job for everyone. The question is, will your boss select you for the job you want.
They say there is a job for everyone. The question is, will your boss select you for the job you want.

Consider Your Track before You Accept your Next Job

This is about employee selection, but specifically about the employee getting selected for the job they want-another job, a better job, a promotion-when their present boss is the one who will decide who gets selected. Most specifically, this is about a system or set of insights about the boss’s perceptions of the employee that can be employed to enhance-not guarantee, mind you-the chances of the employee getting selected for the position he or she seeks.

Before we introduce the Track Concept and how it relates to selection, allow us to dispel a few myths or misconceptions about selection:

1. There is an advantage to being considered for a job by a boss who knows you, as opposed to a prospective boss that does not know you: Maybe or maybe not. While your present boss may better know the good things about you, he or she may also think he knows the bad things about you. If he likes you, you may have an advantage. But if he does not like you, you may be doomed. A selecting official who does not know you may look at you more objectively and fairly.

2. If you are interviewed for a job it means that you are being seriously considered for it: Maybe not. There are times when candidates for a job are granted an interview just as a legal requirement or an empty gesture. Sometimes the job has effectively been filled before he first candidate is interviewed. One cue for the candidate that he or she is not being seriously considered is if the interview is unusually short and with few questions. An easy interview is usually solid proof that the candidate will not be offered the job.

3. If you have the most experience and best qualifications for job, it means you have the best chance to win the job: Wrong! The stuff on your resume or on paper determines if you will be short-listed or invited to the interview. It is a myth that the most qualified candidate always-or should always-get the job. Actually, it is the best person for the job, as determined by the selecting official(s) that is offered the position. Sometimes the most qualified candidate may be the most inappropriate for the job because he or she may be over-qualified for the job, and this could be as undesirable as being under-qualified

Now, for the Track Concept and its relationship to selection: this concept holds that there are four Tracks in the work place. They are as follows:

TRACK ONE: These people are seen by bosses as winners, go-getters, smart workers, ambitious and very career-oriented. Their main advantage is getting promoted is that the boss usually looks at them as highly promotable and deserving of upward mobility. Their main disadvantage may be that some who are considered Track One may be considered by the boss to be a threat and may be suspicious that the employee is out to get the boss’s job. Track ones should be aware of this possibility when they apply for a promotion and show strong support and allegiance to the boss.

Track Two: These are the solid citizens of the organizations. They are considered highly dependable, highly efficient in doing their job, usually more devoted to their profession and doing a good job rather than to their career development. Because these people are so depended upon and show so much support for authority, they may be better liked and more favored by the boss than some Track Ones. Herein may lay their advantage in seeking a promotion, but this also may be their disadvantage. The boss may not see them as promotable or may not want to see them move up and loose them. Track twos need to do two things to improve their chances of getting promoted. The first thing is to make certain that they really want to move up and not stay where they are. These people are not risk takers, like Track Ones. They tend to value sameness in their job and do not like much change. But if the Track Two has essentially turned into a Track One, which sometimes happens, and he or she really does want to move on, he or she should make his or her career desires known to the boss to prevent the boss from assuming they are happy where they are.

Track Three: This is the default track as far as the boss is concerned. Therefore, if an employee is not seen as Tracks One, Two or Four, he or she is assumed to be on Track Three. Because the boss spends most of his time tending to and communicating with Tracks One, Two and Four, they do not pay much attention to Track Threes until they come to either the positive or negative attention of the boss. This makes for a substantial disadvantage for Track Threes in getting promoted because the boss may not know they are alive. Clearly, in order to be considered to be promotable, Track Threes have to get their boss to re-track them upward by getting themselves noticed positively. The best way to do this is to behave and perform like the people on the track on which they would like the boss to place them.

Track Four: People on the track, as far as the boss is concerned, are lazy, poor performers, hard to get along with or work with and must be watched closely all the time. This is the negative track and the boss would fire everyone on it, if he were not too timid to do so or too afraid of adverse action from the employees. As long as the employee is on this track there is no hope of the employee ever getting a promotion. Yet, some employees repeatedly apply for promotions and repeatedly get rejected. With each rejection, they get more frustrated and perhaps more entrenched on the negative track. Their first mission, instead of trying to get a promotion, should be to get removed from Track Four.

The boss may not be aware of the Track Concept by name. But they do stereotype their employees, accurately or inaccurately, according to these four tracks and unconsciously use the Track Concept in making their selection decisions. Employees should be aware of this if they want success in advancing their careers.


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