September 30, 2013

The Art of the Internal Job Interview

Girl Waiting In Office For InterviewIn case the name didn’t give it away, an internal job interview is one that you undertake for a position at your current employer. And though internal interviews have a reputation for being “easier” because you already have insider knowledge of your company’s practices and culture, you are still tasked with proving your qualifications and workplace value when choosing to move up the ranks at your company. While you have the distinction of having already been hired by your employer, and have been recognized by your superiors in their willingness to interview you, the interview remains a formal affair and should be approached as such.

If you are not familiar with your interviewer (or even if you are), make sure that you fully understand his or her position at the company so you are able to come armed with appropriate questions. The same goes for the company in general. Even though you probably don’t have to research into your company as much as you would for an interview somewhere else, you still need to demonstrate how your time at the company has contributed to its progress and furthered its mission. Having a reference list of past accomplishments and a well-developed spiel describing what you want to achieve in the new position will make it easier to demonstrate your value.

Of course, in order to know what you plan to achieve, you must first become completely familiar with the position itself. What did the last person who held the position do? What does the job description say? How is it similar or different to your current position? Sure, your company has already shown interest in you as a candidate but that doesn’t mean the interview can be dismissed as a mere formality. The interviewer still wants you to demonstrate that you can do the job, ways you plan to improve upon the position, and he or she wants to hear the new ideas you plan to implement into the jobs’ execution.

As with any company, yours wants to know that you are taking the job seriously and will actively work to make the company better. So, don’t simply take the interview for granted because you are already an employee. By taking the interview seriously and showing the interviewer that you took the initiative to research the position, you demonstrate your professionalism and genuine enthusiasm for the higher position.

After you have completed the interview, treat it as you would any other, despite your already existing relationship with the interviewer. That means to follow up with a thank you not and keep in contact about the hiring decision. Don’t forget that an internal job interview is still a “real” interview that requires you to prove yourself and convince the company that you will bring high value and fresh ideas to the table.


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Joshua Bjerke, from Savannah, Georgia, focuses on articles involving the labor force, economy, and HR topics including new technology and workplace news. Joshua has a B.A. in Political Science with a Minor in International Studies and is currently pursuing his M.A. in International Security.