Internal Job Interviews

Some months back, one of my junior staff walked up to me and told me that she felt that it was time for her to move from her current position to a higher one.

One of the things I find very impressive is when individuals take this kind of initiative instead of staying in one place until they get comfortable and then complacent. I had worked with this person for some time so I was honest with her. She wasn’t ready yet, from my assessment. As we discussed this with her, I saw that she was very disappointed with my feedback. We however agreed that there were some areas she needed to work on and then we could have this discussion again and have a proper interview. She took my advise very seriously and when we interviewed later on, she did well. But how do you go about internal interviews?

First, you need to understand that simply because you have worked in that company for a while does not guarantee that when you apply for the position, you will be hired. In fact, it’s more difficult for an internal person to get the job than it is for an outsider. And that’s because the company already knows you; your weaknesses and strengths. First impressions are out of the window.

You need to take into consideration the kind of reputation you have build around the company as it could work for or against you. Talk to a few people you trust about this and be conscious of their feedback and criticism.

Research about the position you wish to interview for. Read the job description properly but go the extra mile to find out more about the position. Do not just be driven by the salary package you hope to receive when you get hired.

You may also want to discuss this with your immediate supervisor before you apply for this position. That way, you spare them the surprise and at the same time, they may advise you on how to go about it. Also note that your Supervisor may not be very happy for you especially when your promotion may threaten their job. Accept that and deal with it.

On the day of the interview, show up like it is your first time in that company. Do not assume that you will beat the external candidates simply because you are already a staff. Be open to external competition. Whatever the results are, always know that the fact that you took a chance on yourself is way better than sitting around hoping that your employer will recognise your work and promote you.


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