Last year, in the comments to a blog post entitled Career Development at Microsoft: The internal interview process, there was the following exchange

# re: Career Development at Microsoft: The internal interview process

Monday, October 24, 2005 11:38 PM by hrbp
I have a question.
For internal candidates, is there a selection meeting including the job owner (manager), supervisors of the internal candiates, a representative from the talent management team, and the HR gen? If not, will the job owner talk with the candidate's current supervisor?

# re: Career Development at Microsoft: The internal interview process

Tuesday, October 25, 2005 4:22 PM by JobsBlog
Hrbp - The hiring manager (job owner) will look at the employee's previous reviews and speak with his/her manager AFTER the employee has notified his/her team of upcoming interviews. The current manager must also grant the employee "permission to interview."


The concept of "Permission to Interview" is probably the worst idea that Microsoft's HR group has come up with and this is after considering other questionable practices like The Curve & getting rid of the towel service. What happens when you tell your manager you want permission to leave the team? First of all, your manager has veto power over this decision or at the minimum can delay it for months at a time. Secondly, you're automatically labelled as a "bad" employee which sucks if you don't make it through the interviews on the team you want to transfer to or your opportunity to move is delayed for so long the other team finds someone else. 

I've lost count of the amount of times I've heard someone say that they or someone they know is interviewing with Google or some other external company because they (i) don't want to risk asking for permission to interview or (ii) their management team has placed a temporary ban on permissions to interview. This means that the awesome thing about "permission to interview" is that it encourages people to leave the company once they've decided to leave a team because they are no longer a good fit or have a bad manager.

Why am I writing about this now? See the Mini-Microsoft post Microsoft Internal Transfers Just Got a Whole Lot Easier. Another Dilbert-style HR practice bites the dust. Lisa Brummel is slowly becoming my favorite Microsoft employee.


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Tuesday, October 3, 2006 4:07:55 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
A good many years ago I worked for a company that required one to have permission to interview for other jobs in the company. My manager kept refusing to allow me to do so and I left the company. I never understood why a good manager would refuse permission to interview. Good employees are going to leave if they are unhappy and it always seemed obvious to me that keeping them in the company was a good thing. All too many managers are short sighted and refuse to put the good of the company and the employee ahead of the percieved value to their own group. That company is no more BTW. I have to believe that shortsighted practices are at least part of the reason.
Sunday, October 15, 2006 7:35:04 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Here's how I see it: if you're a good employee and your manager is worth their salt you will be given permission to interview because Microsoft wins if you stay with the company. I've requested permission to interview with other groups many times in my 9-plus years at MS (always after first doing an informational to be sure there was a fit) and it has never hurt my career.

Did I leave the group each time? Nope, at one point I was considering leaving Hotmail so tried (and failed) to get a job with the Windows Media team. My boss wasn't offended that I was looking around and I ended up staying with the team for another four years (and continued to get promotions, so I definitely wasn't blackballed).
Monday, October 16, 2006 6:55:17 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)

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