An internal interview can be an exciting opportunity which, when handled correctly can result in new connections, new corporate knowledge and in the best-case scenario, a new job.
Many approach an internal opportunity with high expectations. It is no wonder; if you were to ask any recruiter they would tell you that the internal candidate has an advantage in the interview arena when pitted against an external contender. After all, an internal candidate is a current employee, in good enough standing with their department that they are eligible to apply for job postings, and enough of a cultural fit that they haven’t “jumped ship” on their own accord. Seems simple, an internal interview should be a breeze, a formality, an afterthought, right?
Not so, remember, you already work at this company; they know your good, your bad and your ugly. If you act like you are entitled to the new position because of your success in your current role or if you decide to treat your time with the hiring manager as if “the job is in the bag” you will certainly lose the contest and could tarnish your reputation in the process.
If you want to ace the interview follow these easy tips:
First, polish up your resume before presenting it to the recruiting department. Revise it to reflect your most recent job title, accomplishments and responsibilities. Adjust it to match the job you are applying for! You would be surprised at how many people assume they don’t need to do this for internal applications; those people miss an easy chance to make an excellent impression on the guardians of the first gate.
Next, contact a colleague inside the new department. Explain that you would like to know more about the role which you are applying for, and what working in their department is like. Ask them to describe some of the challenges that they face as a team. When you interview you can use this information to address how you would help the team achieve their goals and resolve their challenges. Be sure to show this colleague enthusiasm about the position, the company and be sure to express gratitude for their assistance; there is a good chance they will speak to the hiring manager about their time with you and you want them speak enthusiastically about the possibility of you joining the team.
Don’t forgot to rehearse how you might address any negatives in your work history. We all have things that we could have done better or mistakes we wish we could erase. Don’t attempt to avoid these types of issues. Be prepared to tell the interviewer what happened, how you resolved the situation and what you learned from the mistake. A good manager values honesty over perfection.
Finally, on the day of the interview come dressed for success. Remember how you presented yourself when you got your very first job inside your company and match that level of professionalism. It worked to get you in the door; it will work to move you up the ladder.