How to do well at an internal interview
When a new job opens up at your company, it can be a great chance to move up in your career. In an interview, you might not know how to talk to people you already know. But if you’re well-prepared, an internal interview can be less stressful and give you a better chance to talk about what you’ve done for the company. This article talks about how to prepare for an internal interview.
What is an interview for a job?
You have an internal interview when you apply for a job at the same company where you already work. The job could be a step up or a change to a different department. In either case, you should take the time to learn as much as you can about the company, the people interviewing you, and the job you might get.
Changing jobs within the same company can help your career grow because it lets you move up in a place you already like to work. By moving up in your company, you show that you care about both your own success and the growth of the company.
How to do well at an internal job interview
Remember these tips when getting ready for an internal interview:
For an internal interview, you have to follow the same rules as for any other interview.
Even if an internal interview doesn’t seem as hard as others, you should still take it seriously. Don’t forget that interviews are still a very important way to find the best person for a job. You want to show that you care about your work and enjoy the process.
Even if you know the people who are interviewing you, you should still act professionally. To show that you are taking the interview seriously, you should be friendly but not too casual. Do what you normally would for a job interview:
- Act and dress like a pro. Show that you are ready to make a good first impression.
- Rest and don’t fall asleep. The week before your interview, get a lot of rest. Put your phone somewhere else, like your car or another room. If you need it, turn it off so it doesn’t get in the way of the interview.
- Don’t forget anything. Bring any papers you might need, like copies of your cover letter, resume, letters of recommendation, and a list of things you’ve done well at your current job.
- Check in with everyone you talked to. Even if you already know the people who interviewed you, sending a follow-up email or a handwritten thank-you card is a great way to show your appreciation and keep your name in their minds.
- Be ready to talk about what you’ve done with people outside of the company. Tell us about any things you’ve done well at work or in other leadership or volunteer positions. Even though you both work for the same company, keep in mind that these interviewers might not know much about your past.
Look into the business.
If you haven’t read your company’s vision and mission statements in a while, do so now. Review the company’s main goals and any recent projects it has done so you can talk with confidence about where the company is going.
Find out who will be at the interview and how long they have been with the company so you can think of specific things to say. For example, if the person you’re interviewing was promoted from within the company, you could ask about it to show that you’re interested. Spend some time learning what’s going on in your field right now. This could give you something to talk about at your interview.
If you know about these things, it can also show that you want to move up in your field.
- Recent changes in business
- Important changes in technology
- Your business’s competitors
You also know more about the company’s culture than someone who is applying from the outside because you already work there. Mention some of the things you like about your workplace, such as the casual dress code, the fact that high-level managers are easy to get in touch with, or the fact that there is a strong focus on community service.
Think about how good a job you did.
Some interviewers might not look up candidates before meeting them, so you’ll have to tell them what you’ve done for the company. Think about putting together a summary of all the good things you’ve done.
- Major achievements
- The important projects you worked on
- Who’s in charge?
- Awards or other forms of recognition
Milestones, such as how long a person has worked for a company or a sales benchmark
You could also use emails or messages from coworkers, other supervisors, or clients that talk about your performance.
Fix any problems you’ve had in the past, especially ones that happened at your current job. Most interviews will ask you about these things, so be ready to tell the truth about what happened. You should also say why you won’t make the same mistake again, such as because you got more training, learned new skills, or learned a lesson.
Make use of what you know.
If you already work there, you may have a leg up on other people who want the same job from outside the company. This will give you more information about the company and the job you want. You can talk to the person in charge right now, for example, to find out more. Ask them why they’re leaving and what skills they think are important to do well on the job.
Find out more about the company than just what you can find on the Internet. Talk to the people in charge of the company about some of its successes and problems right now. You can talk about these things at your interview to show that you know the company well and care about it.
You could ask your coworkers what they like about working with you if you like them. You can also make a list of references from within the company to show how well you already fit in.
Think about whether you need to talk to your boss.
If you get along well with your boss, you might want to talk to them about your interest in a new job. If you tell your boss about this instead of someone else, it can make you look good. If you don’t get the new job, it will also help you feel less stressed.
Talk about the reasons you want to work there, such as:
- Making more money
- A better fit for your skills and interests
- How your job moves forward on its own
Ask your boss if they would be willing to write you a letter of recommendation. Also, your interviewers will probably want to talk to your boss. If you tell your boss ahead of time, they can get their thoughts together and be better prepared for the conversation. You can also find out what your boss may say about you.
You could also talk to the HR department before your interview about the best way to handle the change. You might want to talk to your interviewers about this before your formal interview, especially if you are worried about what your boss might say to the people who are hiring. Your interviewers may be willing to wait until a decision has been made before talking to your boss.
Prepare for common questions
Prepare for the most common interview questions, which you may have already answered in previous interviews with the company. Here are some of the general and internal interview questions that come up most often:
Examples of questions about yourself:
- What do you do well?
- What do you think is your worst trait?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
Examples of questions about your current job:
- Why do you want to leave your current job?
- What would your coworkers say about you?
- Now that you work here, what do you know?
- What will you do if you don’t get this job?
Some questions that could be asked about the new job:
- How much do you know about this job?
- What makes you want this job?
- What skills do you have that will help you do this job well?
- What do you hope to get done in your first 30 days on the job?
As with any interview, practicing with a friend or coworker can help you feel more at ease and get your answers just right.
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