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What to Expect in an Internal Interview (Plus Answers)

What to Expect in an Internal Interview (Plus Answers)

Even if you already work for the company, you may still have to go through a traditional interview. Even though an interview for an internal job is often different from an interview for a job outside the company, it’s still important to prepare before the interview. The interview gives you a chance to show off your skills and qualifications and add to the good things you’ve already done as an employee.

In this article, we talk about some of the most common questions asked during an internal job interview. We also give examples of questions and answers, as well as general advice on how to make a good impression during your internal interview.

General questions for an internal interview

An internal interview is similar to other job interviews in a lot of ways. So, you should prepare for it like you would for any other interview, which means getting ready to answer many of the same kinds of questions you might get anywhere else. This is especially true in a larger company where the person interviewing you might not know you or the people in your current department or how it works. Here are some general interview questions:

  • Tell me something about you.
  • What is your favorite way to work?
  • Why do you think you are a good candidate for this job?
  • In five years, what do you want to be doing? How about in 15 years?
  • What kind of job do you want?
  • What are your best qualities that you can use in this job?
  • Why do you want to work in this job?
  • Do you prefer to work under close supervision or to be given a task and be free to do it however you want?
  • Do you like working by yourself or with a group more?
  • What is your style of management when you’re in charge of other workers?

Questions about past work and history

Even if you already work for the same company and are applying for an internal job, the interviewer will still ask you about your experience there and where you’ve worked before. Common experience questions include:

  • What made you want to work for our company at first?
  • How long have you been working in this area?
  • Tell me something your old company did that we don’t that you think would help us make more money.
  • How long do you plan to work in this area?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to deal with something unexpected at our company and how you did it.
  • When did you decide that you wanted to work in our field?
  • Who has been your most important professional mentor? What was the most important thing you learned from them?
  • What skill did you learn at a job outside of our industry that you were able to use at your current job?
  • What would your coworkers say about you?
  • What have you done at the company that has prepared you for this new job?

In-depth questions for an internal interview

If you are applying for a job at the same company where you already work, you should be ready to talk about why you want to move, especially if it is not a promotion. The person asking you questions will know that you already know a lot about the company. They may also already know how different departments work. Be ready to answer questions that go in-depth.

  • Why did you decide to ask the company for a new job?
  • What have you done at our company that has made you ready to take on a new role?
  • Tell me about a time at work when you didn’t agree with a coworker. How did you make things better?
  • What would you do to help the person who takes your place if you left?
  • What would happen to your current job if you were not chosen for this role?
  • Someone else is hired for the job, and two months later, you and the new hire have a fight while working on a project together. How do you make things better?
  • What is the thing you are most proud of doing for the company, and how does it show that you are ready for this new role?
  • Tell me about a time at work when you were praised for your work in a special way.
  • Based on your experience at the company, what is the first thing you would change about how this job is done right now?
  • Have you talked with your current boss about the job? What did they say if so?

Sample questions and answers for an internal interview

A great way to get ready for an interview is to practice how you will answer questions. Here are some examples of questions and answers from an internal interview:

What is the most important skill you have that will set you apart from the other applicants?

For a competitive job, an interviewer will want to see how a candidate speaks up for himself or herself. Not only should you choose a skill that is important for the job, but you should also explain why you chose it in a way that shows you understand the job. Pay attention to specific tasks and how your skill will help you do those tasks.

Example: “In order to do well in this management position, I need to have good people skills. I’m very good at getting to know people and figuring out how they work best. This lets me adjust how I talk to people who work with me to get them to do their best work.”

Do you think that if someone else is chosen for the job, it will affect your ability to keep doing what you’re doing now?

When an employer interviews someone from within the company for a job, they worry that bad feelings could hurt the morale of the company. If you want to stay with the company even if you don’t get the job, you should tell the interviewer that you wouldn’t have any trouble doing your current job.

If you plan to leave the company if you don’t get the promotion and you think you’re a valuable worker, you should say so in a professional way. The possibility of losing you completely could give your application more weight, but you shouldn’t bring up the idea of separation if you’re not really thinking about it.

“I’m excited about this new opportunity, but if the company decides to hire someone else, I’ll accept that and maybe look for other opportunities that are similar, even if they aren’t with this company. I’m not applying for the job because I’m tired of the one I already have. Because I have the skills to do well in this new opportunity if I get the chance.”

What would your coworkers say about your qualifications for this promotion if we asked them?

When a company wants to hire someone from within, one of the best things about it is how easy it is for the hiring manager to talk to people who have worked closely with the applicant. When asked what your coworkers think about you, it’s important to be honest and focus on the good things they say.

Example: “I think my coworkers would recommend that you hire me for this job. Even though they would be sad to see me leave my current job, I work well with the rest of the team, and they all know that I am a dedicated and talented worker who has the skills to do well in this new position.”

What about your current job has made you want to look for something else?

When the job you want is with your current employer, it’s harder to look for a new job. You should word your answer so that it shows how well you can do more than your current job, without making it sound like your current job isn’t good enough. Instead, find something good about your current job and talk about how it made you want to do more.

“I love my current job at the company, and as I’ve become more familiar with it, I’ve become more efficient and can now do the work I’m given in less time without sacrificing quality. By trying to get a management job, I can keep doing good work and also use the time saved by my more efficient methods to teach others and improve how well the whole team works.”

Why should we hire you instead of someone from outside the company?

Even though hiring from within has its benefits, it also creates a new job opening that needs to be filled. To make up for this extra work, an internal applicant may need to show more qualifications for the job in order to get it. This question gives you a great chance to talk about your best qualities and how they will help the company.

“As someone who has worked in the marketing department for the past six years, I am the most qualified person to be the head of marketing. Not only do I have a track record of running successful campaigns, but I also have good relationships with the rest of the marketing department and with our clients. This will make the change easier and make it less likely that Mr. Johnson’s clients will leave when he retires.”

Why should we hire you instead of someone from outside the company?

Even though hiring from within has its benefits, it also creates a new job opening that needs to be filled. To make up for this extra work, an internal applicant may need to show more qualifications for the job in order to get it. This question gives you a great chance to talk about your best qualities and how they will help the company.

“As someone who has worked in the marketing department for the past six years, I am the most qualified person to be the head of marketing. Not only do I have a track record of running successful campaigns, but I also have good relationships with the rest of the marketing department and with our clients. This will make the change easier and make it less likely that Mr. Johnson’s clients will leave when he retires.”

 

Tips for an internal interview

 

When you interview for a job at the company where you already work, you are in a unique situation. It’s getting more and more important to talk about your past jobs in a positive way.

You should take extra precautions before your interview. For example, you should talk to your current manager about the opportunity so they won’t be surprised if the hiring manager calls them to ask about your suitability. Here are some more suggestions for what to do after your internal interview:

  • At the end of the interview, you should thank the person for giving you the chance to grow your career with the company.
  • Sending a thank-you letter or email is another way to show your appreciation. Even though it’s usually best to do this right after an interview with someone outside the company, you can wait until the end of the workday if you’re worried about using company time on the thank you letter.
  • If you haven’t heard anything about your application after the deadline for the next step in the hiring process, you should follow up.
  • If there was no set deadline, one week is a good amount of time to wait before asking how your application is doing. This follow-up keeps you in the hiring manager’s mind and makes it more likely that you’ll get the promotion.

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