How to Succeed in an Interview for an Internal Job Position

Match an external candidate's professionalism and you might find yourself agreeing to the new position.

Match an external candidate's professionalism and you might find yourself agreeing to the new position.

Whether you've been with an organization for one year or 20 years, moving to another position within the company typically requires an interview. If the company's considering external candidates, your inside knowledge might give you the advantage, but don't let it go to your head. Pretending you're a new blood with some secret knowledge of the company's inside workings gives you the best chance to land the job.

Explain why you can make the jump from your current position to a new one within the company. Stay away from statements that you can't reinforce with solid examples or prior experience. For instance, suppose you're a salesperson interviewing for the position of sales manager. Explaining you know how to manage a team and get results from people might sound good, but unless you have that experience, these statements might sound hollow. Instead, explain you know what it takes to make sales from years of success in the position. You would tap into your outstanding people skills to coach your team to use your knowledge and experience to be productive. You could expand on that by citing a previous situation in which you helped a co-worker increase her sales.

Go into the interview with your weaknesses in mind. Although you're interviewing for a position within a company you already work for, the interviewer may not know what kind of employee you are. Even if she does, she may want to know that you can take an accurate stock of your shortcomings, especially if you're gunning for a management position. Have two weaknesses in mind, and show how you're improving those weaknesses.

Counter your weaknesses with two strengths. Mention strengths that relate directly to the position you're after. Forget about strengths that won't factor into or will play only a small part in that position. You need to convince the interviewer that you have what it takes to succeed in your new job, not the one you already have. For example, suppose you're a programmer interviewing to be a game designer. You have great talent for writing clean code, but that's not a valued skill for a designer. A better strength to tout would be your ability to take a bunch of different ideas and plans and assimilate them into one big, organized picture.

Talk about current challenges associated with the position and explain clearly how you would fix them. For instance, put yourself in the shoes of a general manager in a successful chain restaurant. You're interviewing for a district manager position. Several restaurants in the district are losing money. Point that out before touching on ways you'd put the eateries back in the black by using strategies that have helped your restaurant succeed. Remember that the position in question will always have room for improvement, even if it's something small. It's your job to find out what needs improved and then brainstorm how to implement those improvements.

Approach the interview as professionally as possible. You might interview with someone who you know and talk to on a regular basis, so it's easy to walk into the interview in a complacent manner. But don't think of yourself as the leading candidate for the new job, and don't believe that your relationship with the interviewer means you can skip the professionalism. Dress like you would for any other interview, sit upright, maintain eye contact and answer questions in a serious manner. Don't joke it up with the interviewer, or put little thought into your answers. Act like you're competing with a list of qualified candidates; your goal is to convince the interviewer that you're the hands-down best choice for the job.

Tips

  • In order to cite challenges associated with the position you're after, you may need to talk to other employees who are more knowledgeable of the situation. For example, you're likely aware of the problems that plague your department, but less knowledgeable of problems in other departments
  • Do not make note of weakness that will take you out of the running for the job. Throwing in the fact that your leadership could use some work when you're interviewing to become a supervisor will likely hurt your chances.
  • Hull Strategies LLC notes you may face questions regarding past performance issues you've had with the company and advises explaining how you've grown and learned from those situations.
 

About the Author

Located in Pittsburgh, Chris Miksen has been writing instructional articles on a wide range of topics for online publications since 2007. He currently owns and operates a vending business. Miksen has written a variety of technical and business articles throughout his writing career. He studied journalism at the Community College of Allegheny County.

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