Preparing for an internal interview requires a unique strategy to leverage several things you have over external candidates:
- An internal understanding of how your organization operates.
- Knowing the products or services your organization provides.
Whether it's being able to participate in conversations about your company and industry or demonstrating that you understand the organizational culture, being on the inside means you have knowledge or insight compared to those external candidates, which is a great advantage want to capitalize on.
Climbing the organizational ladder takes more than a view from the inside, though. You also need to prove you're ready for the next step in your career. You must be able to create the right impression to show you're competent and ready to perform to the challenges that will come with your new role. This article explores 3 essential steps in preparing for an internal interview:
- Improving your inside knowledge;
- Assessing your skills, accomplishments, and values;
- Preparing strong answers to the questions you'll face in the interview.
Improving your inside knowledge
1. Internal interviews:
Sometime you would like to move on within your organization, take advantage of upward mobility opportunities. For example, Jack has been working for a marketing department social media team for 2 years, and lately he's decided to he is ready for more responsibility and opportunity. Instead of moving to another company, Jack is thinking about applying for another position in his company, that will challenge him and offer him the opportunity for more responsibility and the rewards (increased pay, benefits etc) that come with those responsibilities.
As an internal interviewee, you have to convey your familiarity with your organization. For instance, you’re already somewhat familiar with the scope of responsibilities this new position may bring and the challenges you may face. Having this "insider" knowledge allows you to consider how you are going to address these challenges, and prepare your responses for the actual interview. This puts you at a unique advantage compared to someone that is new to the organization.
You’re also able to speak with co-workers or others that have been successfully promoted, and learn from them some of the key points for conducting the interview. These people convey other valuable sources of information that is unavailable for external candidates.
2. Types of information
It’s very important to prepare and leverage your strengths and inside knowledge. There’re 3 steps you can follow to do this:
1) Improve your knowledge of the company
- Skills required in the new role: Observing and talking to others in your organization- especially those on your future team- are good ways to get to know the skills that are required in the new role. A good leader or manager will make the time to know his/her team, to know their strengths and weaknesses, and how to apply their talents to the success of the organization.
- Interviewer’s perspective: Interviewers use their impression of you to help make their selection, so it’s important to understand their perspective and what they want. Understanding their values and priorities and how those relate to those of the organization is especially important.
2) Assess your personal assets
3) Prepare answers to anticipated questions (put yourself in their shoes)
3. Sources of information:
- New assignments and responsibilities: Volunteering to take on new assignments and responsibilities presents you with learning opportunities that expand your skill set. It also broadens your experience of the organization.
- People in your organization: Speak with and observe people in your organization, especially those on what could be your future team. Try to find out how the position you’re applying for impacts the company as a whole, how performance is measured, and what critical functions your coworkers preform.
- Strategic goals of your organization: The strategic goals of your organization are clear statement about what it wants to achieve as a whole. This source of information allows you to understand how your department and your individual role are contributing to achieve these goals. Being aware of these goals allows you to think outside of just your own role too, at a higher level.
There are some distant advantages to being an internal candidate for a position in your organization. You’re already familiar with the business culture and may know some of the key people in the organization. However, these advantages don’t guarantee that you’ll get the job you want.
To be successful in an internal interview, it’s essential that you prepare. The first step of this preparation is to improve your knowledge of the organization. The types of knowledge you consult should broaden your understanding of the requirements of the position, what your interviewers are looking for, and what the organization needs. Types of knowledge will include trends in your field, the strategic goals of your organization, and your interviewers’ perspective.
Sources of these kinds of knowledge include company intranet resources, industry publications, the internet, the job description and speaking with different people in your office.
Assessing your skills, accomplishments, and values
Emphasize your strongest points:
- Determine your personal assets: technical skills, personal skills, interpersonal skills, values, accomplishments and experience
- Assess them:
- List the personal assets required: You can find in “Job Description” and start with that.
- Dissect each asset: Team work, for example: it has 5 key points: Being flexible and open-minded, building trusting relationships, openly sharing information, working with different people, extolling the advantages of cooperation
- Rate yourself on each personal asset
- Justify each of your ratings
- Select your greatest strengths
- Communicate them effectively
Preparing strong answers to the questions you'll face in the interview
1. Your interviewers’ perspective
Well, each interviewer will have unique interests, of course they will all be interested in your skills but also in other sides:
- Skills, values and attitudes:
Interviewers are interested in not only your skills, but your values and attitudes as well. They want to know that you understand and fit into the organization culture. To meet this need, you’ll want to ensure that the organization’s values are reflected in what you say and how you say it.
- Ability and competence:
Interviews want evidence that you can do the job that you’re interviewing for. To meet this need, give specific example of your skills and strengths. If a particular question or response highlights a weakness, prepare to discuss what you’ve done to overcome it.
Interviewers want to know that you’re genuine, that you’re telling the truth, and not just saying what you think they want to hear. To meet this need, avoid canned responses that are over prepared and sound recited from memory. Practice speaking about specific points, but don’t recite an over rehearsed response.
Interviewers want to know that you’re committed, so demonstrate your enthusiasm by explaining why you’re passionate about the position. Do this by speaking about what attracts you to the role.
Not rambling on. When asked a question such as “Tell me about yourself” focus on personal and professional traits that meet the requirements of the job. Select 3 or 4 reasons or strengths to highlight and communicate them succinctly.
2. Interview questions types
There are mainly 3 types of questions:
- Traditional: mainly they will ask about your strength, history, motivation, like “Tell me a little about yourself”, “What is your greatest weakness”, “Why do you want this position”…etc.
- Behavioral: it’s related to how you react and perform in some situations. Your answer should be follow as below: include enough detail, keep examples recent and use professional or educational examples
- Situational: They will ask what you would do in a hypothetical situation
3. Asking questions:
It’s important to prepare for asking intelligent questions because it’s the final opportunity to show your enthusiasm and interest. There’re some guide lines help you prepare for this:
- Avoid questions that focus on your compensation and benefits
- Avoid questions that show you haven’t done your research
- Convey your knowledge
- Demonstrate initiative