Not all career moves mean a move out of your current organisation. There could be the perfect next step for you, right where you are working now. However, many people make the mistake that they think they are a ‘shoe in’ if they apply for a role within their own organisation, just because they work there. This isn’t always accurate, and in most cases you’re likely being compared against external candidates!
Interviewing as an internal candidate should be approached by with the same professionalism you would an external interview, the benefit for you is that you can use your knowledge of working there to your advantage. What’s more, the hiring manager is expecting you to use that knowledge in the interview. Some may believe that they don’t need to put in the effort for an internal interview, but it doesn’t matter that you have been working in the company already, the role is new, and you need to treat it as such. You can start ahead of your competition if you prepare adequately for your internal interview.
Here are a few tips:
As a current employee, you have access to information about who will be sitting in on the interview, who you will be working with and what the scope of the position is. It is important to find out this information, just as it is for an external candidate. Do the work and seek out people who might know this information. Ask for some time with the hiring manager to get a better understanding of the role. Ask for a job description (guaranteed the external candidates will have one!). Talk to colleagues, mentors and your boss. Getting a good understanding of what you can expect in the process will help you prepare well. Don’t underestimate the power of information here.
Prepare…you must ask questions.
This is an absolute must. Just because you think you know the company doesn’t mean you know everything about the role. You need to present with the same professionalism as you would interviewing with an external company. Prepare some well thought out questions that relate to the role and your future in the company. Think about how you can add value to the team and why you want to work for them. You can ask about the team structure, your prospective role in it, the nature of the job, the challenge that it offers and the career potential. You can also ask about the culture of the team.
This interview is as much for you, so you ask some questions that help you determine if it is the right role for you.
Just as you would with any interview, make sure you follow up with your interviewer/s. It’s always polite to send a ‘thank you’ email and to reiterate your interest (if you determined this is the right role for you). If not, thank them for their time.
I have seen so often when internal and external candidates are being interviewed for the same role, that the external is the successful candidate. This is due to the internal candidate really not taking the time and effort to showcase their skills and experience and just not showing that they really want the role. It can be such a disappointment if you go into the process with unrealistic expectations. So take your time, prepare, ask questions, makes sure you showcase your skills. This is your time to shine and really make the most of this opportunity.