How to Prepare for an Internal Interview

February 20th, 2012 | Interviewing | No Comments »

How to Prepare for an Internal Interview

Most of the literature out there regarding interviews concerns external interviews; that is, interviews with companies for which you’ve never been an employee. And while that information is valuable to a good number of job seekers around the world, it just doesn’t cut it when you’re faced with an internal interview for a position within your own company.

Interviewing for an internal position can present you with a range of both advantages and disadvantages. Either way, don’t assume that you won’t need to prepare for the interview just because you “feel” like you already know everything about the company and the position. Treat this interview like any other, and take the following points into consideration.

Potential Disadvantages
Just as you have more insight into the company than a fresh-faced job seeker would, the interviewer has more insight into you as a candidate. That includes your job responsibilities, your work habits, your weaknesses and flaws, and even your unique quirks and personality. Make sure you identify ways in which your interviewer may already be biased against you so that you have the opportunity to explain any mistakes or efforts to improve, and ultimately redeem yourself.

Fortunately, just as they may know any negative things about you, they should also know all the good stuff. Refresh their memories by describing the accomplishments, contributions and successes that you’ve achieved in your role with the company.

Do Your Research
Make sure that any knowledge you have of the position you’re applying for isn’t based solely on water cooler gossip or through-the-grapevine news. Conduct some real research into what the position entails, current projects and challenges, and the make-up of the department. Be ready to present realistic solutions and goals you would have if you were to take the position.

Update Your Resume
Prepare an updated resume, and understand how your entire work experience as well as your current responsibilities will relate to and help you in the new position. It may be a while since you’ve looked over your resume, but you should be just as aware of its every detail now as you were when you first joined the organization.

Know Your Competition
A final advantage in your favor is that you probably already know who your competition is. This means you can accurately define exactly what makes you stand apart from the rest. What can you bring to this position that your competition can’t? This knowledge definitely gives you a leg up compared to the scenario of an external interview.

Good luck!
Ultimately, you should prepare for an internal interview as much as if not more than for an external interview. Be aware that there’s a lot more insight on both sides of the table, but good preparation should give you more advantages than disadvantages. Enjoy the confidence that results from these advantages, and don’t forget to look your best!