Did a dream job become available at your company you’d love to apply for? When throwing your hat in the ring for a job opening at your employer, there’s a good chance you’ll at least get the courtesy of an in-house interview.

Your employer may already have a very good sense of your abilities and experience, but that doesn’t mean you can’t wow them in the interview and get the job.

Incidentally, if you do decide to apply for an internal job posting, you should tell your current manager. He or she will probably find out anyway and informing them first keeps you from looking like you were going behind their back.

Here are a few tips on how you can rise above both other internal candidates and applicants from outside the company.

Go in with the right attitude

Many applicants, and many hiring personnel, don’t take the internal interview seriously enough. Often, they frame it as customary – taking the attitude that all of the facts are already there and these interviews more like performance reviews. Internal applicants often fail to provide good proof of their achievements because they suspect it’s already known by their interviewers.

Furthermore, many internal applicants walk into an interview thinking they have an advantage over outside candidates. While that may be somewhat true, it doesn’t mean you have a guaranteed advantage.

The company might be trying to attract a fresh point of view or abilities nobody in the organization currently has. They also may be affected by recent company history. For instance, if hiring an internal candidate in the past went horribly, the hiring manager may be on the lookout for someone outside the organization this time around.

Do your research

Just as you would for any job interview, find out as much as possible about the job; its pain points and expectations. Without those details, you won’t be capable of doing well in the interview or know if you’re a solid fit for the position. Don’t count on the job description to give you all the information you need. If possible, have a brief chat with the hiring manager ahead of the interview. Talk to people in similar roles or those who have had the job you’re applying for in the past.

Know where you stand in the company

If you’ve worked there long enough, people in your company likely have preconceived notions about you and your abilities. Even a reputation as a good employee can work against you in an internal interview. If people consider you to be technically skilled, they may have a tough time picturing you as a leader.

Prior to the interview, ensure you know what your reputation is at the company, good or bad. Ask someone you can rely on to be honest; a mentor, co-worker or an old colleague.

Once you have a sense or your reputation, figure out ways to reshape any opinions that might work against you. For instance, you could say, “People may think I can’t lead others, but let me tell you what I’ve been focusing on lately.”

It’s important to use a soft touch here and avoid being confrontational or defensive.


At Action Group, we have years of experience helping people take the next step in their careers. Please contact us today if you would like to find out how we can help you.

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