Interviewing for an Internal Position

I have the opportunity to interview for an internal position at my company. How should I prepare?

Wow, that’s great!  And good for you with being proactive in looking for ways to be prepared. One of the mistakes that many internal job seekers make is being too laid-back when interviewing for an internal position. Depending on the organization, the interview format may involve a formal process or it could feel closer to a casual conversation. Either way, it’s a good idea to be prepared. 

Here are a few key pointers:

Check Your Assumptions:  With an internal position, it might be tempting to think that you will automatically get the job! Unfortunately, this is not always the case.  And do not assume that the hiring manager will automatically know what you do in your current role. Be ready to clearly articulate your accomplishments, experience, and skills.  

Stay Positive:  If you are struggling in your current job due to a negative environment or supervisor, be sure to share about your challenges in a positive way. Communicate how you have learned and developed your skills even in a difficult situation.  As much as it might be tempting, never bad-mouth your current supervisor or manager.  

Do Your Research:  Even with internal positions, it is important to do your research. Try to talk to the hiring manager to get more information or someone who has done this job in the past. Gather information on the company and any upcoming initiatives that could be related to this new position.

Your Approach Matters:  You may already have a relationship with the individuals involved in the hiring process, making it tempting to be casual in your interview.  Try to keep a friendly, professional approach.  By being too casual, you risk not being intentional enough in highlighting how your accomplishments, experience, and skills would be a good fit for the job.  

Find Out What Your Reputation Is:  You are not starting with a blank slate. Hopefully, this is a positive for you. However, it is possible that you have made a few mistakes along the way. Before your interview, take some time to to figure out how you are perceived within the organization and then use your interview to challenge any negative assumptions.

Find a Tactful Follow-Up Strategy:  Like any other job interview, you should send a thank you card or email immediately after your interview. Then be patient.  If a significant amount of time has passed since your interview, it would be appropriate to send a polite follow-up email.

Be Ready to Accept the Job:  If you apply for an internal position, you need to be ready to accept it if it offered to you. You will not endear yourself to the organization if you go through the hiring process only to pull out at the last minute. 

When preparing for your interview, you should be practicing some of the basics such as “Tell me about yourself,” “What are your weaknesses?” or “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?" 

Here are some additional questions that you may also want to prepare:

·         Does your current manager know that you are applying for this position?

·         What interests you about this position?

·         What do you know about our department?

·         How would you describe your relationship with your manager?

·         What made you decide to apply for this position?

·         Why should we hire you for this position?

By taking the initiative to prepare for your interview, you will be more likely to be successful!  Good luck!

If you would like help with preparing for an upcoming interview, Career Story can help. We provide interview preparation coaching and support.  You can contact us at or at 604-614-3155.