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How to handle internal interviews

Written by: Charlotte Rogers
Published on: 21 Oct 2019

Internal Interviews Hero Image

Initially, an internal interview can seem easy. You may think you have an advantage because you already work for the company, but sometimes it is not as transparent as it may seem. Having the knowledge on the company and the experience to back the knowledge can sometimes present you with too much confidence. Confidence is a good thing, but you need to prepare for an internal interview, in the same way you would plan for any other interview. Take the time and put in the effort and you are more likely to see the results you want.

Importance of internal promotions

Internal promotions are crucial for a business. It allows their employees to learn and grow as a professional whilst staying on board with their company. This keeps good talent within the business, as well as saving both time and money. So, if you are thinking about applying for an internal job, don’t hesitate. It can help both you and the business.

When preparing for an internal role, there are things you should do just the same as any other interview.

Research the role – Just because you know your job inside and out, doesn’t mean you will instantly know everything about the role you have applied for. Make sure you print out the job spec, highlight all the things you think you are capable of doing (hopefully a few) and research into the role a little more. This will give you the upper hand and allow you to answer any questions the interviewer may have for you.

Recent news – Make sure you are up to date with the field. If it is the same field you are working in, you can use this as an advantage. However, if it is slightly different, make sure you read up on any upcoming news or developments that may be happening right now. This can give you some conversation to bring up in the interview and shows your knowledge and dedication.

Plan questions – Always plan some questions and answers ahead of the interview. There are typical questions that will come up in most interviews, but you want to make sure you are giving relevant answers, not generalised answers. It’s always good to also plan some questions for them at the end. Make sure these are relevant, you don’t really want to ask about things like the company culture, considering you already work there.

Sell yourselfYou may know the hiring team, or you may not. Either way, you still have to sell yourself to them. You are going up against other professionals and just because you are already an employee doesn’t mean that you are better qualified for the job. Don’t let this confuse you. They will hire who ever is best for the job.

New expectations

Expect new and tough questions – The interviewer may ask you some questions that may be different from an external interview and can be harder to answer. The examples provided may be likely and are not limited to:

  • What don’t you like about your current role?
  • Why do you want to change departments?
  • What makes you stand out from the other candidates?

These questions can sometimes be unexpected and unless they are interviewing anyone else internally, they are probably only asking you these questions. Make sure you prepare for a situation like this and have well thought of answers. They aren’t trying to single you out, they are trying to understand the thought behind your application. What are you ambitions? It is important to not use this as an opportunity to bad mouth your current job. Stick to the positives but simply outline that you want to progress and develop your career.

Don’t pester the interviewers – Just because you see the interviewers at work, doesn’t mean that you should constantly ask them about the job or who got the job. After the interview, they will contact you, just like any other interviewer would. Even if you are friends with the interviewer, it’s probably best to not talk about it outside of the interview. Keep it professional and they will let you know the outcome in due time.

Bring an internal portfolio with you – The internal role you have applied for, may relate quite closely to your current role. If this is the case, you may want to put together a portfolio of relevant work that you can take into the interview or send to them beforehand. This can be a little extra to show your determination. Make sure the work included in the portfolio is relevant and can support your application.

Maintain professionalism

Make sure you are maintaining professionalism throughout. You don’t want to be talking off topic and making office chit chat. Make sure you treat it the same as any other interview, at all times. Dress the part (you know what the company expects of its employees), shake their hand and introduce yourself.

I cannot express how important it will be for you to prepare! The interviewers will choose a candidate based on their performance in the interview. You are against other professionals in the same field as you, so your past achievements with the company will need to be detailed. They will not take them into account if you don’t bring it up in the interview. Give a strong performance and you will succeed. Trust in your ability.