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Movin’ on Up: Top Tips to Ace an Internal Job Interview

A great position opens up at the company you currently work for—perfect. This is a chance to continue your climb up the ladder of success. Just don’t make the mistake of thinking that because you already work for them, it’s a sure thing you’ll get the job. This could be a big mistake.

The Harvard Business Review agrees: Make no assumptions that you have any leverage over other applicants. Except in the rare case of a very specific skill set requirement, they will be looking for the best possible candidate, whether that’s from the inside or outside. But there are certain things you can do to increase your chances.

Don’t Keep It a Secret

Tell your supervisor and peers that you are applying for the position. This might put you in a difficult position, but less so than if you try to keep it from people. They will find out and you’ll appear duplicitous. Can you imagine walking into a panel interview and finding your boss in one of the interviewer chairs? Full disclosure is the best course of action.

The Application Process

Whether you are filling out paper applications in the HR office or completing job applications online, be accurate, thorough and professional. Again, don’t assume you have the position nailed or that anyone reviewing your application even knows you.

Where you can make a difference is to note on the application how your knowledge of the company enables you to be successful in the new role. Update your resume to reflect the same things. The question you need to answer in your resume and application is how you are the best fit for the position based on your current knowledge and skills.

The Interview

When preparing for the interview, have a sense of yourself in the new position. Will this be a stretch for you, or are you already doing that job? Know what you’re worth and how you really fit into the position.

It is less common nowadays to be hired for a position because the interviewers think you can learn to do that role. More often, they hire the person that they know can walk in and do the job. That is your goal. So explain, in detail, how you can do the job. For example: “Because I know the supply chain process inside and out, I can identify three areas where we can increase performance and cut costs.”

Ask Questions

Engage the interviewers. Show you are interested in the position and the company. It’s appropriate to display your knowledge, but ask questions to show that you don’t know everything. No one in the room does and the interviewers don’t expect you to.

Stay Focused on the Company, Not the Role

Convey that you will continue to perform professionally in your current position until they make a decision, and after, if you don’t get the new role. This displays a high degree of professionalism that companies want to have in their employees.

You Can’t Be Too Prepared

Research the role, the department, the company and the executives. See yourself as successful in it. Show that you are the best candidate for the role. Make no assumptions, but have confidence in your abilities.

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