Become an expert at internal interviews

Internal interview
By Eleanor O'Neill, Student Blog

15 April 2019

Are you looking to move up in your organisation at the end of your training contract? Has a position just opened up that you know you would be perfect for? Then it's time to prepare for an internal interview by asking yourself these five key questions.

1. Do you know your interviewer?

It is always a good idea to find out who will be conducting your interview. Whether you expect to face a panel or even just your current manager, understanding what they likely want from you will inform your preparations.

How are they thought of internally? Are they known to be a stickler for detail or more focused on the big picture? Knowing this will help you tailor your responses to the best advantage.

You should also demonstrate your knowledge of the organisation by going beyond just the mission statement and public bio. What has working for the firm taught you about the goals and targets in high priority? Research any earnings reports and use what you know about recent developments or changed priorities to show that you are actively engaged.

2. What have you already done for the company?

Enter the room with a list of achievements and successes that you have influenced or been a part of. As with any performance review, being able to show your growth and contribution as an employee is extremely helpful.

Try using PAR anecdotes (and we don't mean the principles of audit and reporting!). Discuss a particular 'Problem', the 'Action' you took to deal with it and what the 'Result' was.

Using this format and telling a story comes across as more natural and confident than simply stating you know how to do a specific thing or have performed well in certain situations. Additionally, one of the people reviewing your application may have been involved in the same projects and could, therefore, vouch for you.

3. Do you have previous experience?

Review your CV and job application ahead of time to ensure you can talk confidently about your career history and relevant skills. Internal interviewers may not always consider your CV prior to your current organisation without prompting.

Ideally, you should have something detailed to say about each posting. What did you learn? What were your top achievements? Was there a particularly rewarding aspect of it? What can you relate to the role you are interviewing for?

Take a hard copy of documents to the interview, in case they are requested, and a brief set of your notes.

4. How are you perceived by your coworkers?

Personality can be as important as qualifications and chances are that your internal interviewer will either know you or at least know of you.

Sensitive subjects like failed projects, qualifications you are lacking or admitting weaknesses can be difficult to negotiate. Your answers should always be honest but refrain from dwelling on negatives. Try to put a positive spin on them and end on a high note.

Detail what you have learned from bad experiences and discuss the steps you are taking to improve in areas that need it.

5. Why you?

Finally, be sure to show your enthusiasm at the possibility of a new challenge. Even if you seem to be the logical choice from an internal point of view, it is never a given that the job is yours.

What can you bring to this role that no one else can? How does this play into your career development and long term goals? Will this benefit where you want to be in 10 years?

Keep your passion for what you do and what you want to do at the forefront of your and the interviewers' minds.


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