Preparing for the Internal Interview By: William I. Brazley Jr., HR Director The position that you have been coveting has finally come open. You have been preparing for it, inquiring about it and monitoring the job board waiting for it to be posted. You have gotten to know the department manager and some of the employees in that area, and they all seem to like you. You are somewhat familiar with the job responsibilities and your coworkers have been encouraging you to apply because you are the perfect candidate. You believe that you are the best internal candidate and an external candidate doesn’t have a chance, right? Wrong! The biggest mistake you can make is having a false sense of security. This results in a lack of preparation and underperforming on the day of the interview. Don’t treat this interview as a formality and think that your accomplishments are well known. You need to prepare for an internal interview just as thoroughly as you would for an external interview, and you need to sell yourself just as hard. Having past successes and good references in your current position is helpful, but they don’t replace performing well in the interview. The first thing you want to do is to do your research. Find out as much as you can about the requirements and the responsibilities of the position. Don’t rely solely on the job description. Reach out to someone who previously held the position or someone who is in a similar position and find out what the real challenges of the position are. Know what others think of you. Ask someone you trust to give you an honest answer if they can perceive you in the role you’re seeking. What do you need to work on? Once you have a good understanding of what the position requires, its challenges and your shortcomings, research the individuals who will be making the hiring decision. What are their expectations of the person who will be hired or promoted? What type of person do they consider the ideal candidate? Find out what impresses the decision makers. Now it’s time to focus on your resume. Your resume should be tailored specifically for the position in which you’re applying. Therefore, it should have a different feel and possibly a different look. Don’t dig up that old resume that you gave to the company when you were first hired. Use the information you found out when you did your research. Include and highlight specific projects and successes you have had during your tenure with the company, as well as the successes you have had with other companies that would be relevant to the position you are seeking. It’s the day of the interview and there is one very important thing that you should remember. Though the interview may be relaxed and informational, you will not be speaking to people who have no idea of who you are as an employee. You will be talking to people who have knowledge of your qualifications, work ethic and other critical areas that have surfaced during your tenure with the company, good or bad. The decision makers will have preconceived opinions about you. You must be prepared to challenge or reshape their opinion if necessary. Dress and act professionally, be on time, be courteous, prepare for potential interview questions and prepare a few questions to ask in return. However, you want to ask the right questions. They can be the same, or similar questions as the ones you asked during your research. Sell yourself during the interview and show that you want it. Talk about the accomplishments and successes you listed on your resume. When the interview is over it is important to know how to follow up without being annoying. Before leaving the interview, ask the interviewers when they think a decision will be made and don’t inquire about the position status until after that date. Send a polite email, or thank you note, thanking the interviewers for their time. Don’t corner a decision maker, or one of the interviewers, every time you cross paths. Confidence and desire goes a long way but preparation is invaluable. Sources: Succeeding at Internal Interviews (a recruitment website for the uk) How to Prepare for an Internal Interview: 8 Tips to Get a Promotion By Charley Mendoza How to Ace an Internal Interview By Amy Gallo 3 Things You Should Do Differently for an Internal Interview Career Attraction (a Career and Job Search Advice website) 3 “You believe that you are the best internal candidate and an external candidate doesn’t have a chance, right? Wrong!”