All You Need to Know to Ace Your Internal Interview


When companies have job vacancies to fill, there is always a possibility that they opt for hiring internally vs hiring externally. If you are in a situation where you would like some mobility within the company, then internal recruitment could be the best option for you. This is why we are currently focusing on the internal interview process, to help you in preparing for an internal interview.

Thus, this article will discuss the internal interview process. It will offer you guidance in preparing for an internal promotion interview, or even in cases of interview for internal position, not necessarily a promotion. We have also prepared a Sample internal candidate interview questions. You can download it below.

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What is an Internal Interview?


An internal interview is a method companies use as part of an internal recruitment process. It refers to companies fills job roles by choosing from one of the existing employees.

An internal interview can be used in a multitude of situations. For example, if you are proposed for a management promotion, or for a team leadership position. Additionally, you yourself might decide to change the path of your career and target working in a different department with new responsibilities and different kinds of tasks from what you are currently performing.  

The internal interview will occur when you apply for a higher or different position within the company you currently work for, and your employer considers you a good match. Hence, you will face an interview in the same company, but for different positions.

If you pass your internal transfer interview, you might have to participate in a crossboarding process. You can read more about crossboarding on our blog HR.


Internal Job Posting’s Meaning for You


An internal job posting’s meaning for your career advancement can be quite major. This kind of opportunity can be a decisive factor for you remaining in a company to begin with. If you are no longer satisfied with your current job, you have to decide if to leave or not. An internal job posting can make you channel your efforts on remaining within the organisation, rather than seeking employment somewhere else.

But what is the best interview process when hiring internally? What are the steps that a company should take before hiring internally?

We thought it might be a good idea to compile a list of best practices for internal recruiting. In this way, you can have a better understanding of the interview process and start preparing yourself if you are about to go through an internal recruitment process.

Internal Hire Interview Insights

An internal job posting’s meaning for your career advancement can be quite major. This kind of opportunity can be a decisive factor for you remaining in a company to begin with.

Prepare for the Internal Job Interview: Internal Job Interview Tips


Even if your company is committed to internal sourcing for a job role, it does not mean that all you have to do is simply express interest and be automatically transferred to a new position. After all, it is not up to you to decide whether or not you are the best fit for that specific position.

Thus, you will have to go through an evaluation process like any candidate. You will undergo an interview process to ensure that this career move will be positive both for yourself and for your employer.

We have compiled a list of internal interview tips for internal promotion, cross-department moves. These tips aim to help you prepare and ace your internal job interview. Be it an internal promotion interview, or simply an interview for an internal position across departments that do not imply a promotion per se, we have you covered.


Internal Interview Tip Nr. 1: Do Your Homework & Research


In order to prove that you are a good fit for the new role, you have to know as much as you can about the new team, department, and the requirements for the role. You are an insider, so you have to use your insider’s advantage. Reach out to coworkers from that team and get a feel of their workflows, their leadership etc. No external candidate can have as much information easily up for grabs as you. 


Internal Interview Tip Nr. 2: Reflect, Reflect, Reflect


Reflect on Your Journey

As an internal candidate you are bringing baggage to a new role. Your history with the organisation will definitely be a talking point of the internal hire interview. So you need to prepare for your internal interview by reflecting on your employee journey to date. Consider not just the timeline of it, but also your key achievements, your experiences with the organisational culture, the relationships you built inside the organisation. 


Reflect on Your Strengths and Key Competences

Moreover, you have to devote time on reviewing your key strengths and competences. It might even be a good idea to consult with your mentor or buddy, or someone you trust in the organisation. Ask them for what they view as your strengths. After all, you can expect the recruitment manager or new team leader to ask your current work mates for feedback. 

Understanding how others perceive you can be a very good exercise when preparing for an internal interview. Self-perception is essential. But so is the way others perceive you, especially since feedback from the current team might contribute to the final decision. 

Internal Hire Interview Insights

Grasping how others perceive you can be a very good exercise when preparing for an internal interview. Self-perception is essential, but so is the way others perceive you.


Internal Interview Tip Nr. 3: Be Prepared with the Right Motivation & Argumentation


Like in any kind of interview, be it for an internal role or for a new role in a new company, you have to have a clear motivation for applying for the position. Additionally, you have to have the arguments ready for why you want to switch jobs. So it is a must for you to be prepared with comprehensive and convincing motivation and arguments.

For example, your reasons could include a wish for career growth, obtaining new skills, a change in interests etc.


Internal Interview Tip Nr. 4: Check-in with Your Current Manager


It is always a good idea to check-in with your current manager or team leader when applying for an internal job posting. After all, it would be extremely awkward for them to find out from external sources. For example, if someone from the new team would ask them for feedback on your performance, they might feel blindsided if no conversation happened a priori. 

Additionally, in case you do not end up getting the job, the situation might be extremely uncomfortable for all parties involved. 

Checking-in with your manager is something that Career coach and Forbes Councils Member, Tammy Homegardner, highlights in her suggestions on how to prepare for an internal interview.

Internal Hire Interview Insights

If word gets out that you are applying for a new role within the company and you haven’t told your immediate supervisor, they may be offended.

—Tammy Homegardner, Forbes Councils Member.

Preparing for an Internal Interview: Examples of Internal Interview Questions


It should be noted right away that participating in an internal interview is not a guarantee that the company will not pursue any exterior candidates. Thus, there is always a chance that the company ends up rejecting internal candidates, if they find someone else outside of the organisation. It could be due to the fact that interviewing internal candidates has revealed that none have a niche skill that the company feels is a prerequisite to have onboard.

However, the better prepared you appear in your internal hire interview, the more compelling of a case will you make for internal recruitment.

So, in our quest to help your preparing for an internal interview, we have put together a comprehensive list of questions with a high probability of coming up during your internal candidate job interview. We have grouped them by general topic. In this way you can have an easier time navigating through them. Additionally, you will acquire a structured approach when preparing for your internal interview.


Current Employment Relationship


Obviously, your history with the organisation can be a starting point to the conversation. So you can prepare yourself by reflecting on your employee journey to date.

1. What are the skills you acquired in this organisation and your current role so far?

2. Have you faced any challenges? Have you overcome them? How?

3. What do you think this company’s top priorities should be in the coming years?

4. What makes this company stand out from its competitors?


Current Role Reflections


Your employer will want to know why you are considering the change. Thus, it is essential for them to fully grasp the reasoning behind your wishes.

You could simply be looking for new responsibilities and upskilling, but you could also be looking for a change because of some issues you are facing in the current role or team. You could be struggling with a manager, you could be feeling unfulfilled in the current role. It is essential for the employer to comprehend your stance on the matter and use the data gathered here as if it were collected during a retention interview.

1. What keeps you engaged with this company?

2. What is the best part of working for this company?

3. What is your ideal career development path?

4. If you could change one thing about your current role, what would it be?

5. Does your manager know you have applied for this job? What is his/ her recommendation and/or feedback?


New Role Motivation


Additionally, you must expect questions into why you would like the change to the new position/ department. Your answers will help the employer assess how you position yourself towards the overall organisation, but also towards your current team and management.

It is essential for the interviewer to grasp whether you getting this particular job will have consequences for your employment within the company or not.

1. What is your motivation for your new role?

2. What skills do you think that recommend you most for the new role?

3. Do you view this type of role as an end goal for your employment tenure within the company?

4. How will you handle it if you don’t get the job?


Training and Upskilling


Often, a key component of a crossboarding process is training and upskilling. This is why you can expect the interviewer to investigate how much training will be required in order for you to be up and running in your new job.

1. Do you feel that there are any skills you might be lacking for being a perfect match for the role?

2. What areas do you think you need to work on most to be effective in the new role?

Prepare for the Internal Job Interview: Internal Interview Questions to Ask the Hiring Manager


You did the research needed for the new role and the new team. Additionally, you have reflected on the time spent in the company to date, and all the development and learning you achieved so far. Furthermore, you have formulated your motivation and your arguments for why you want this new role and this change. Finally, you have consulted with your team leader, and you are ready to sit your internal hire interview.

Since we want you to be successful, we have compiled an additional supporting material, a list of internal interview questions to ask the hiring manager

Asking the right questions at the end of the internal interview, will portray you as interested, engaged and motivated for your future in that new role. 


Sample Internal Interview Questions to Ask Your Hiring Manager


1. What’s your timeline for making a decision? What are the expectations for starting in the new role?

2. What are the expectations of me transitioning into this new role in terms of time to full proficiency?

3. Is there a structured crossboarding process in place to facilitate the transition?

4. Will you provide mentorship during the transition?

5. Are you pursuing any external candidates for the role? What would you say is their competitive advantage?

6. How would you measure my success in the new role? What could I do to exceed your expectations?

7. If hired, what are the three most important things you would like me to accomplish in the first 6 to 12 months in the role?

8. Which part of the transition do you expect to have the steepest learning curve?

9. What do you think will be the biggest challenge of this role?

10. Is there anything we haven’t covered that you think is important to know about this vacancy?


An Internal Interview Should be Handled with Care: Concluding Remarks


To conclude, we firmly believe that internal hire interviews can play a critical role in talent retention. Your feedback and motivation for changing roles is essential. Thus, it is critical for your employer to listen carefully to what you have to say.

Take, for example, the case of having a bad time in your current role after a change of management. If you don’t get the opportunity to change teams, you might become instantly disengaged. Hence, you might start pursuing other employment opportunities right away.


Internal Hire Interview Insights

If the employer does not closely listen to you during the internal interview, they might have to fill in not one, but two empty job positions.

This is the reason why companies should handle internal recruitment with care. Simply put, if the employer does not closely listen to you during the internal interview, they might have to fill in not one, but two empty job positions.

introdus, employee onboarding software, has a mission to support all employees become successful in their new roles. Notwithstanding if you got the job after an internal interview process or an external interview process, introdus is here to provide positive employee experiences.

Ensure a successful transition after acing the internal hire interview by using an effective Crossboading tool.

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