Did I Ruin My Chance to get My Dream Job?

Last Updated Sep 6, 2010 6:05 AM EDT

Dear Evil HR Lady.

There has recently been a posting for a position in my company that I am thinking about posting for. I sat down with the hiring manager (informally) in order to discuss not only the position, but also the department and how she views the company as a whole. I told her that I had some concerns about the position being too much of a side step for me, even though I am very interested in learning new things and thought that the direction the department was going was very interesting to me. I also asked her about other departments within the company and when she mentioned knowing someone involved in the decision making process for another posting I was interested in, asked her if she would be willing to let her know I was interested in speaking to her about it. I felt like the conversation went well, and she gave me a contact of another person in her department to talk to in order to help me make my decision on whether I wanted to move to that department.
All this happened before I found out that I am actually being considered for an assistant supervisory position in that department which I would ABSOLUTELY be interested in. I feel like had I known that that position even existed (it hasn't been posted yet) let alone that I was being considered for it, I would have framed that conversation completely different. I certainly wouldn't have asked her about the other position in a different department! What should I do!? Did I completely blow it?
First, take a deep breath. You did nothing wrong. No one is expected to be omniscient. (Although, it is helpful, but it's more of an inborn skill than a learned one, so I can't help you there.)

As a general rule, nice managers want people on their staff who will succeed in the position and who will eventually move on to other positions. A good company that has multiple departments where managers work together for the good of the company want the right people in the right department.

You've found out that you are being considered for a position that you really, really want. Super! You didn't know about that when you met with the other manager. Chances are, she didn't know about it either, because it sounds like you had a good conversation about your career path and if she had known she would have brought it up.

Of course you would have said things differently if you had known that job was available--because you would have talked about that job. But, unless you lied and said you really, really, really wanted to be in her department and you thought the other department stunk, then there is no problem here.

Go to the hiring manager for the position you are interested in and say, "I have heard that the assistant supervisor position is opening up. I would love to be considered for that. As soon as it is posted, I"ll go through the official process, but I was hoping you had time to discuss the position with me for a few minutes." Then you make an appointment (or if she's available, right then) and you talk about the position.

Don't worry that career discussions about one are mean you are necessarily excluding other areas. We expect you to have your options open until you accept a job offer.

Photo by Paparuchas, Flickr cc 2.0