How to Interview for an Internal Job
Act as if you don’t know anyone on the interview panel. Internal candidates usually tend to leave out important information. This is especially crucial if you have not worked with everyone on the panel. Assuming all of the interviewers know your work is a huge mistake. Enter the interview and conduct yourself as if you were applying for a position with an outside organization. Don’t act like you are pals with the interviewers, even if you are.
Don’t assume that everyone on the panel knows everything you do. I have interviewed many internal candidates who are interviewing for a position where the current supervisor and I were on the panel. Since the other panel member is their supervisor, the candidate assumes that they don’t have to fully answer the questions about their current position.
Dress appropriately. It may be tempting to come in casual because you’re interviewing on your day off or it may be that you may normally dress casually at work – take a moment to step it up a notch.
Do your homework. It may have sounded like a great position, but how much do you know about it? Do you know how the position fits within the company overall? What about any other departments it may deal with? Don’t apply for a position, just to apply. Have a game plan in mind. Don’t forget you may have been with the organization for ten years, but some companies will put you on probation in the new position.
Don’t enter into the room and the interview with an attitude of entitlement. Internal candidates often automatically assume that they will get the position just because they have been with the company for a certain number of years; as a result they don’t even try to interview well. This is a huge mistake and can turn the interviewer off. Your resume, your interview and your work will make the determination as to whether or not you get the position. We don’t see ourselves as others see us, so while you may think you are the ultimate employee, you may not be.
Internal interviewing is not as easy as you may think. Remember it’s not about you; it’s about the company needs. The best thing you can do is to pretend you are interviewing with an outside company and always put your best foot forward.
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