Prepare for Your Internal Job Interview: Tips to Get the Promotion

Interviewing for internal jobs requires preparation in a different way for most people. Keep reading for the top tips to make sure that you nail that upcoming interview.

An internal interview is your opportunity to speak with the hiring manager and demonstrate that you are the ideal candidate for the job. This type of interview is usually less formal than an external interview, but don’t let that lull you into a false sense of comfort. You should still take the time to prepare and dress professionally.

There are a few things you can do to prepare for your internal job interview and make sure it goes smoothly. Here are the top tips from our recruiting and interview coaching team:

Do Your Research

You should always research the company and position you're interviewing for, even if you already work there. This will help you be better prepared to answer questions about why you're interested in the role and what qualifications you have. Review the job posting and make a list of key qualifications that the ideal candidate should have. Then, match your experience and skillset to those qualifications. This will help you highlight your strengths when you're interviewed.

Consider Your Motivations

Before going into an internal interview, it’s important to take a step back and consider your motivations. Are you looking for a promotion? A pay raise? More responsibility? Or, do you feel like you have to pursue this role to avoid being forced out?

Whatever your reasons may be, make sure to be clear about why you are interviewing for the role. For many, pursuing a move internally can be an effective way to keep advancing their career or to keep their resume strong while they pursue options externally. But, knowing the why is key to knowing how to present yourself in the internal interviewing process.

Prepare to Sell Yourself

Just because you already work for the company doesn’t mean they know everything about your skills and experience. In fact, since you’re interviewing for a new position, it’s likely that the hiring manager doesn’t know much about you at all. So use this opportunity to sell yourself!

Come prepared with examples of your best work and be ready to highlight specific accomplishments that make you qualified for the role you’re applying for. Remember, even though this is an internal interview, you should still treat it like any other job interview and come prepared to make your case as to why you deserve the job.

Prepare for Common Interview Questions

Even though this is an internal job interview, you should still prepare for common interview questions and have examples ready for your answers. The common interview questions to keep in mind for your internal job interview are:

  • Tell me about yourself.

  • What are your strengths?

  • What are your weaknesses?

  • Tell me about a time you made a mistake.

  • Why do you want this job?

  • How has your experience with the company prepared you for this role?

  • What has it been like working with X or Y?

  • Why should I hire you?

Take nothing for granted in preparing your answers to these questions. And, make sure that you focus on your strengths or results as an internal candidate to ensure that your answers stand out to these common job interview questions.

Consider Your Appearance

You don't need to wear a suit to an internal interview, but it's important to dress professionally. This shows that you're taking the interview seriously and that you respect the interviewer's time. It also helps create a more formal atmosphere so that both of you can focus on the interview itself.

Create a List of Examples

One of the best ways to prepare for an internal job interview is by coming up with specific examples of times when you excelled in your current role or handled a difficult situation effectively. Having these examples ready ahead of time will help ease any nervousness you might be feeling and give you something to fall back on if you find yourself struggling to answer a question.

Questions to Ask at the Internal Job Interview

Asking questions is a crucial part of any interview, but it's especially important during an internal job interview. Not only will asking questions show that you're interested in the role, but it will also give you an opportunity to learn more about what the position entails and whether it's a good fit for you.

Here are some effective questions to ask at the internal job interview:

  • What are the first challenges of this role?

  • How is someone measured for success in this position?

  • Why is this role open?

  • What is the typical career path for someone that takes this role?

  • What would my transition out of my current role and into this role look like?

  • Tell me more about the team.

  • What are the opportunities for continued growth in this role?

Asking questions like these will not only give you a better understanding of what the role entails but will also demonstrate your interest in and commitment to excel in the role if given the chance.

Practice, Practice, Practice

In addition to preparing examples ahead of time, it's also important that you practice answering common interview questions out loud. This will help ensure that you sound confident and calm when asked tough questions during the actual interview.

An internal job interview is a great opportunity to showcase your qualifications and land your dream job within your company. By doing your research ahead of time, preparing for common questions, considering your appearance, and asking good questions of your own, you can ace your internal job interview and take one step closer to getting promoted.

Need help preparing for your internal job interview? Our team of professional interview coaches would love to help. Submit your information below to claim a free consultation.