Preparing For an Internal Interview (With Sample Questions)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 22 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Organisations looking to fill new roles typically conduct interviews with qualified candidates that possess the skills and experiences the position requires. These organisations can also interview qualified employees working in the company for these roles. As an employee, it's essential to know the steps to follow in preparing for these interviews and the type of questions to expect as it increases your chances of getting the job. In this article, we share tips for succeeding in an internal interview, discuss steps for preparing for these interviews and give sample interview questions and answers.

What is an internal interview?

An internal interview is an interview for employees in a company for a different job position. It can be in their department or another department. An employer wanting to fill a job position with a team member organises this interview to choose qualified individuals for the role. You can regard an internal interview as a promotional interview as the interview is typically for a more senior job position. Filling these roles with an internal employee can help employers save time and the cost of training external candidates that are new to the company's way of working.

Tips for succeeding in an internal job interview

Explore this list of tips to succeed in an internal job interview:

Make a good impression at work

If you're applying for a higher position in the same department, show your supervisors and colleagues your ability to handle additional responsibilities. You may offer to lead projects to prove your skills. Try to provide solutions to problems and perform your duties with precision to show your leadership skills. If the role is for a job in a different department, demonstrate that you can employ transferrable skills in the new role. Essentially, you want to prove your ability to deliver valuable results in the new position.

Dress appropriately

A business casual attire is the typical dress code for interviews. If your workplace has an informal setting and everyone dresses informally, it may still be safe to dress formally for the interview. Dressing appropriately is necessary, especially when there are also external candidates taking part in the interview. Although your interviewer might be your employer or supervisor, they may likely assess every candidate using the same set of standards.

Related: Job Interview Tips: How to Make a Great Impression

Be professional during the interview

It's advisable to observe professional etiquette during the interview, even if you're familiar with the interviewers. Address them formally and regard the interview process with professionalism. Try to sit straight and maintain eye contact with your interviewer during the interview. You may treat the interview as an external candidate would.

Emphasise your positive traits

It may be beneficial to emphasise your positive traits during the interview, just like an external candidate would. During the interview, talk about the successful projects you handled in the company. If you have received any awards, this might be the time to talk about them, too. Try to highlight your skills and accomplishments over the years you have worked for the company. It's beneficial to show interviewers how you can perform better in the role than an external candidate.

Related: How to Succeed In a Virtual Interview

How to prepare for an internal job interview

The following steps can help you prepare for an internal job interview:

1. Research the job position

Before your interview, research the job position. Try to speak with your colleagues to discover more details about the position. If the job is for a different department, you can speak to your colleagues working there to discover more information about the department's current projects. You may read up on their growth over the years and review past projects to ensure you understand the skills required to handle similar projects.

2. Speak to your supervisor

You can talk to your supervisors to inform them about your intentions. If the role is for a higher position in the same department, they can guide you as you prepare for the interview. This can increase your chances of getting the job. Your supervisors may also be helpful if the role is in a different department, as they're likely to have more experience and can give you some insight to help you succeed at the interview.

3. Update your CV

Before your interview, you can update your CV to match your current qualifications. This is an opportunity to include any achievements and awards you might have received throughout the years you have worked for the company. Update the skills section of your CV to show your ability to handle the responsibilities of the new role. If you have new certifications and licenses, you may also include them in your CV.

4. Review possible interview questions

Reviewing possible interview questions and taking part in a mock interview session can help you prepare for your interview. You can speak to your colleagues and supervisors who have taken part in internal job interviews before for advice. It may be helpful to compile possible questions and provide answers to these questions to boost your confidence and increase your chances of getting the job.

Related: Interview Question: "What Are Your Strengths and Weaknesses?"

3 Internal job interview sample questions and answers

Here are some popular sample interview questions and answers:

1. Why are you applying for a new position within the company?

Interviewers ask this question to assess your confidence, passion and drive for the new position. From the response you give, they make their assessments. You can provide an answer that shows you're confident about your skills and your ability to perform well on the job.

Example: "In my current role as a senior data analyst, I designed and maintained data systems for this company, and led several projects on mining data from primary sources into readable formats. Leading these projects and working diligently over the years has helped me build the skills necessary to succeed as a chief data officer. As I have grown a lot in this field and can attribute this growth to working for this company, it's suitable for me to offer more to the company in a position that allows me to actively work towards its goals and mission.

I have good leadership skills and I think that's evident from the success of the projects I led in the past. My close relationships with my team members also demonstrate my good communication skills. I want to use these skills to propel the company's vision further."

Related: Interview Question: "Why Are You Interested In This Position?"

2. What experience within this company prepared you to assume this role?

Employers ask this question to decide whether you're the right candidate for the position. They may want to confirm if you have the capability to deal with the responsibilities that come with the role. You can give an answer that highlights your experience and assures your employer that you have the skills to handle this new role.

Example: "I had the opportunity to work closely with the former chief data officer who recently transferred to another branch. I executed many projects under his direct supervision, and he gave me a lot of feedback that helped me build a lot of skills and develop my strengths. There was a data visualisation project our team had to work on that involved extracting travel data to visualise top tourist destinations worldwide.

At the time, the former chief data officer was on leave. I reached out to him for guidance and he assured me I could handle the project because he believes in my capabilities. I led the project, and it was a success. This experience proves I have the skills and capabilities essential to thrive in this role."

3. How will it affect your current job if you're not accepted for the job?

One of the employer's concerns regarding interviewing internal candidates is the employee's enthusiasm for their current job if they're not chosen for the role. The employer may worry that hiring an external candidate might affect your job satisfaction and motivation. In your response, try to be honest about your feelings and reassure the interviewer that you intend to continue to carry yourself with professionalism.

Example: "I know the company will choose the right candidate to fill this position. Regardless of the outcome of this interview, I will still perform my duties as efficiently as I can. I will work harder, continue to build my skills and work together with my team to fulfil the company's goals. I intend to prove myself as a valuable professional to the company so that you might consider me for other promotions in the future."

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