How to Answer Internal Interview Questions With Examples

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Applying for a new position in a company where you already work can be exciting and often requires an internal interview. Although for many it can be an informal process, being prepared will help you communicate well and prove your qualifications. This article shares some common internal interview questions, example responses and tips to help you prepare.

What is an internal interview?

An internal interview, often an interview for a promotion, is an interview that your employer conducts when you are applying for a newly opened vertical position or for an internal promotion within your company. Most questions posed will be standard interview questions, but some will be targeted to your experience in your current role, how you plan to handle your responsibilities within the new position you are applying for and even how you hope to make the transition from one role to the other smoothly.

Examples of internal interview questions

Here are some questions and example responses to help you prepare for an internal interview: 

Tell me about your current position in this company

Hiring managers ask this question or similar ones about your current position to gauge your attitude toward the culture of the company, your understanding of your current responsibilities and how you might respond to the new duties of the position you are applying for. 

When responding to questions dealing with your current position, be sure to remain positive when discussing your current supervisor and coworkers. Even if you indicate some obstacles you have faced in your current role, focus on how the new job fits your unique skills and experiences best. 

Example: ‘My current role has been a great experience in which I have been able to challenge myself and develop my leadership skills more. In working with my peers to meet our deadlines, I have been able to see how well I motivate a group toward a goal. With the help of my leadership and support of my coworkers, we have met 100% of our deadlines for our clients in the past year.’

What attracted you to this new position?

Hiring managers often use questions like this to see how well you understand the requirements and responsibilities of the job you are interviewing for. Be sure you have read the job description completely and understand how your role supports the company’s goals. 

Focus on wanting to challenge yourself professionally while displaying confidence in your skills and abilities to meet the challenges successfully. 

Example: ‘I have always looked for a challenge. This new role will afford me the opportunity to use my leadership skills and organizational strategies to support the employees I will guide. I helped my coworkers organize their workstations to complete their responsibilities more efficiently. We have increased productivity by 10%, and clients are getting their orders fulfilled faster and more accurately than before.’

How would you handle the transition to your new role at this company?

The hiring manager may want to know how you would handle the transition process for your current supervisor, how it would go with your new one and how you see yourself taking on the new responsibilities. 

Be sure to indicate that you have thought out some possible obstacles and how you plan to handle them. Planning ahead and offering solutions for any obstacles will show your initiative.

Example: ‘Right now I am in the middle of two projects with my team. Before moving on to any new positions, I intend to make sure that we complete these projects to the best of our ability. I don’t intend on leaving my team with unfinished work. I think that communicating with both supervisors on the status of any outstanding projects and assuring both that I intend to meet my obligations will help us all work toward making an easy transition.’

Tips for preparing for an internal interview

Here are a few steps you may want to consider to help you prepare for an internal interview:

Talk with your current supervisor 

Consider addressing your intent with your current supervisor before you apply and begin the process. They may be able to offer some insight into the position you are applying for and will likely need to release you from your current duties if you do get a new position. Additionally, because you will be working in the same company and with this individual still, it is a professional courtesy that they will likely appreciate. 

Be prepared 

Because you already hold a position in the company or organization you are applying with, you have an advantage. Pay attention to the hiring process you have seen implemented before, and do some research on the position you seek. If you know people in the department or a similar role, ask them for honest feedback to help you prepare for both the interview and the position. 

Remain focused on your current position 

You are applying for a new position, but the one you hold is still a priority. Be sure to focus on doing a quality job in your current responsibilities to further establish your work ethic. 

Understand the process 

Be sure you have read the job description and requirements and understand them fully. Complete all the required steps and be sure that you are aware of the full process. The rules are there for all who apply, even current employees. 

Dress appropriately

Be sure that your physical and outward appearance communicate full respect for the role you currently have and the role you seek to acquire at your company. Although you are familiar with the company, you should exemplify that you are aware of the importance of the hiring process, that you take it seriously and you respect the people helping you through it.

Use the STAR method

When preparing for your internal interview and formulating your own responses, it can be beneficial to follow the STAR interview response technique. STAR is an acronym that stands for situation, task, action and result. Formulating your responses using this model you can give a comprehensive response to your questions and better indicate your qualifications. Whenever possible, try to indicate your results in quantifiable terms to show the impact of your job well done.