Hints and tips on what to think about before an interview for an internal promotion.
Applying for an internal promotion can be a nerve-wracking experience. Not only do you have to undergo the intensive selection process with colleagues or external candidates, but as an existing employee, your employers already have experience of your strengths and weaknesses. This does not need to be perceived as a negative position to be in. Indeed, you may have the edge over external candidates because you work in the organisation so you should have a better understanding of the internal structures and values, as well as the requirements of the new role.
If you feel confident that you can do the job well and you have appropriate experience then you are already half way there. The second step is to ensure that you have prepared thoroughly before you attend your interview. Although it is an internal interview you must treat is as any other job interview because your assessors will need to compare your experience, skill set and attitude with other candidates. So while you may believe that you are the best for the job, do not assume that your employers will, just because you work for them.
Try to find out as much as you can about the job including:
This is where your knowledge of the organisation will be beneficial, as you can talk to others in the relevant department to find out everything you possibly can about the job.
It is also time to patch up any weak areas in your knowledge about the company and its structure and services. Depending on your length of service you may need to ask colleagues about unfamiliar areas of the business or company history so that you maximise the competitive edge you have over other candidates and feel confident going in to your interview.
Try to anticipate the sorts of questions you are likely to be asked by your interviewers and prepare answers carefully. Self assessment will help you to think about why you have been chosen above everybody else. Think of experience and skills that illustrate how you are qualified for your next role. It is essential that you provide information about the impact you have had on the business, and your commitment to achieving longer term aims, since you need to demonstrate how your career has developed within the organisation
Arrive in good time, take time to answer questions and give concise answers. Try to keep relaxed and think positively, end on an optimistic note and deal with the closing moments well. It can be difficult to remember all of these points in an internal interview, especially if you know the interviewer, but try not to be too familiar or tense. Do not assume that the interviewers are aware of the specifics of your role and ensure you highlight your personal strengths clearly.
If you are selected for promotion, you will have new challenges and possibly a different team to work with so make sure you ask relevant questions about the position, for example:
This is your chance to find out as much as you can from the interviewers and their expectations of the role. It is far better to discover the facts of the job before you are appointed and to know exactly what will be required of you.
Finally, if you are not selected for promotion, ask for feedback. Perhaps your interview technique let you down or maybe your employers feel there are some skills gaps. Although disappointing, it is worth having this information so that you can start addressing these areas and hopefully apply for promotion at a later date. Once you can combine appropriate experience with highly developed skills, and present them well in an interview, you are sure to start making your way up the career ladder and in to an exciting, new role.