Internal Interview – “When presented with an open door in your job, drive a Mack truck through it” says none other than battle-tested leader, author, and speaker Miles Anthony Smith. Why not? There are many people who work diligently in the office, even overtime – without get recognized or noticed. So, if opportunity comes knocking at your door, do not hesitate.
Promotion does not typically land on your platter easily, even if you are a well-recognized employee of the company. You may have to go through an internal interview to get the desired position in your workplace.
You have been through the interview when you got hired for the company, right? What is the big deal about doing it all over again now, when you already know the company? If you are thinking on those lines, know that, this is the mistake many employees make when they are facing the internal interview. Since, the interviewer is someone they see around the water cooler or the cafeteria, they do not take the interview seriously, thus jeopardizing a good promotion that would have worked in their favour if their prepared for the interview meticulously.
No matter how familiar or friendly your superiors are, when it comes to interviewing you for a higher position, they can grill you like a first- time applicant for the job. That is what they are hired to do, and they will know their job. The question is, will you be ready for this? Or did you just take this as a routine procedure before you get your promotion letter?
Since your company knows you, the internal interview is going to be different from a job application interview. The judges cannot be taken for a ride since they know your flaws. On the other hand, they cannot be surprised with your skill or talent since they know about that very well too. When you applied for the job they knew you only through the information you provided them through your resume. Now, after your tenure as an employee of the company, you have shown them the value of those certificates, your work ethics and principals, your adaptability, and creative ability to handle issues. Also they are familiar with your temperament and characteristics, hence they already have some predisposition towards you which can either be positive or negative. The challenge is to brand yourself and create a package that can be tempting for anyone to take.
Your advantage is your knowledge of the panel of interviewers who are going to evaluate you for the position. If you are wired to the scoops and rumours running around, you may end up having an idea of what the interview is going to be like. If you give it enough effort, you collect a lot of information about the interview before you are called in for it. If you take your internal interview seriously and prepare well for it beforehand, you will soon be entering the coveted cabin in your office.
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Let us go step by step through the procedure of preparing for an internal interview.
- Consult and seek counselling from your boss
- Ensure you are making a right choice
- Re-do and revamp your resume
- Gather information
- Give it a professional approach
- Prove your competency
- Show your desire and enthusiasm
Step #1 – Consult
Before you decide to consider a new position in the office, evaluate how it is going to affect your present department. Talk this issue with your senior manager and seek advice/ guidance before you embark on your journey for promotion.
Do not burn the bridge you may have to walk back on again. If your current boss got to know from other sources that you are looking for a better position when you are needed by him he/she may not be very happy when you have to go back to work for him if the promotion does not work out for you. Remember, the job is not in your bag yet.
Aiming for a higher position in the same company is completely different from chasing after a job in a new place. Here you are not walking away from your previous colleagues and boss, but you meet them quite often in the workplace. Let your relationship be trusting, cordial and friendly with the previous department.
Step #2 – Be Sure About The Choice
Though an internal interview is going to be something similar to any other interview you attend, the outcome will not have the same impact on your career. Often you have a choice after attending an new job interview in a new organization whether you would prefer to take up the new job or not. When it comes to internal interview, the expectation of the company will be that you will take up the offer once you are selected for the position since you know the job, office culture, travel arrangement and other relevant things already; hence, there is nothing to stop you from taking up the offer once the salary increment is settled. You have to be aware that your company is going to assume you are ready for the job.
Therefore, if you do not desire to spoil the cordial relationship you share with your employers, make sure you really want the position you are applying for before you attend the interview. If you are doubtful, do not go for it. Consider the job perks, challenges, performance demands and expectations before you move ahead. Job descriptions are supposed to lure candidates, not to give real picture of the requirement, hence it is not wise to completely depend on it.
The HR department will be willing to guide you if you approach them with your queries. Set your career path with proper guidance and help.
There are not a lot of worse things you can do that can beat the negative effect of attending an internal interview and rejecting the job after being selected. If you refuse a job after attending an internal interview, it seriously hampers your chances of being considered for a promotion in future.
Step #3 – Re-do Your Internal Interview Resume
Your resume which you submitted when you joined the company needs a serious face lift if you are preparing for the internal interview for a new position.
The position you applied for earlier was different from the one you are being promoted to and time will have changed your profile for better. Moreover, you have gained quite some experience and learned new skills in your career with the company. Customize your resume to fit to the new position you are being considered for. Do not come out as a show-off but add your achievements in your tenure as the employee in the previous position.
If you have any irrelevant or insignificant information which is not considered important for your new position, take if off your resume. The less and more specific data will be easy to relate for the interviewer. Honestly, no one loves overload of information, because it is boring to read through. When skipping some content, there are chances that they may skip some important points as well. Highlight areas that needs attention.
You have to include points that prove you are the best candidate for the position they are considering. Even though it is an internal job interview, do not take your employers for granted and do things half measure. Aim for the job as if you are doing it for the first time. Show your desire and passion through your profile.
Step #4 – Collect Information
Often, you get to hear it from the grapevine before the big announcement for a position is made openly in your office. If you hear about a position in any other department in your office which fits you like a glove, start checking out on it.
Even if it takes 2 or 3 extra coffees or hanging around the water-cooler for longer time, collect information regarding the new position requirement, interview methods and judging panel as much as possible. Find out who the hiring manager is, which team you will be joining with your new position and more important- who was the employee who left the vacant post and why he/she left. There could be a warning or inspiration hidden there for you.
Having access to internal information is where you being the inside person comes in handy and works in your favour.
You should understand that others who are interested in the position are trying to gather information and have an upper hand at the interview as well. Try to be helpful but do not discuss your own preparations, plans or ideas with others.
Your inside information will give you an edge over external candidates, if your company is considering them for interview.
Step #5 – Be Thorough Professional
It is easier said than done. With the familiarity and close relationship you have shared with your colleagues, you cannot have a complete professional approach to the internal interview. Try to be as professional with your approach as possible, including preparing for the interview, creating your resume, dressing up for the occasion and entering the venue.
Do not assume that the interviewer’s panel will know about your achievements in the company. Make sure that you bring it to their notice through your answers or your resume. Make sure you answer every question they throw at you, without making the mistake of saying, “You know that about me”. Give precise, direct and concise answers to the internal interview questions without elaborating on data.
Show them you have it in you what they are looking for. Do not come out as a person who already has assumed to have got the job, because that can work negatively for you.
Also avoid being too casual or friendly in your approach to the panel, but that doesn’t mean you act as though you do not recognize the people in front of you or act too stiff. Also remember that people do not often prefer a ‘Know it all’. Mind your body language, your poise and prove to that you are the right candidate for the job.
Step #6 – Prove Your Competency
You are aware that you have competitors from within your company and outside as well, against whom you will evaluated for your competency, right? Now you have to differentiate yourself from other candidates by showing the judges what you can offer them which others in the competition cannot. Prove that you have an upper hand at the position being offered. Do some self-evaluation to know what can help you in proving your competency for the job.
No one is going to hire you in today’s highly competitive world unless you give them a reason to hire you. Gather all evidence that points to your professional experience, expertise and excellence at the job on hand.
Subtly draw the attention of panellists to your achievements in the present organization as well as the previous professional experiences if you have any. Include evidences in your CV.
In an internal interview it makes sense to mention your weakness, since more often than not the panellists will be aware of it. The idea is to tell them how you plan to overcome your drawbacks or what strategies you have developed to fight your weakness. In the same manner, they will be aware of your strengths as well. All you have do is to point out how you will use your skills and strengths to improve your productivity at the new position.
Step #7 – Show Your desire
Gone are the days of being humble and simple. Today, the world belongs to the people who blow their own trumpet.
Do not shy away from telling the panellists why ‘you’ considered yourself for the job position. Tell them how much you desire the job and why you want the new position. Wear your enthusiasm and passion on your sleeve.
Make sure that the panellists will not assume that you applied for the job for increase in pay or just because it was available to you. Make sure you have enough substantiations of the fact that you really want the job and are very eager to be hired.
Step #8 – Wait
Once you are done with the internal interview, write a ‘Thank You’ note, to your panellists for their time and considering you for the position. Handwritten notes carry more weight, though emails are good enough in the tech era. Make sure to point out some outstanding moments from the interview in your mail.
Do not follow up the results to an extent where the HRD will start avoiding you. You have done your job and results will come to your table sooner or later.
The best way is to continue with your present position with enthusiasm until you have bagged the coveted job.
You sitting on the edge of the chair or looking at your watch too often does not speed up the pace of how things work. Relax and breathe easy.