How to Succeed at Internal Interviews

They know you complain about company policies by the water cooler.

They know your “research” on the Internet looks a lot like wasting time on Facebook or bidding on eBay. They know you always swipe the last donut in the break room.

They’re your colleagues, peers and even your supervisors. And when you aim for a higher position in the organization, they’re also your interview panel.


Moving to the upper ranks usually requires more than just a sparkling track record and charming personality; you often have to submit a resume and endure a series of interviews just like a first-time applicant off the street.

Your advantage? The interview panel is well-versed in your qualifications, your successes and how your innovation and hard work have helped move the company forward. Your disadvantage? See paragraph 1.

Package yourself for success

How do you package yourself as the right candidate for the job when the interview panel knows all about your flaws, your weaknesses and your penchant for sugary pastries?

First, you have to know who you’re up against for the job. Do a little digging and find out as much as you can about the competition. How do you measure up? What weaknesses of theirs can you exploit while simultaneously highlighting your strengths in those same areas?

Next, think about the panel itself. How do they like their information? Are they detail-oriented or do they focus on “the big picture”? What kind of relationships have you had with them in the past, and how would that change with this promotion? Use this inside scoop to tailor your answers to their questions, ensuring that you’ll connect with each panel member.

Differentiation and marketing

Create a three-slide presentation that will tell the panel who you are, showcase what an asset you’ll continue to be, and expound on the many benefits of hiring you for this position. Frame everything from the perspective of: what’s in it for them? Wow them with your “100 Day Plan” – tell them what amazing things you are going to do in the first hundred days in this new position.

Leave behind more than just your resume. A “one sheet” of your accomplishments, a statistical analysis of your contributions to the company, or a brief report on a solution to a problem or issue plaguing the organization is an excellent way to demonstrate your capabilities and commitment to this new job.

About the author…

Michelle Yozzo Drake is the author of the book, “From the Kitchen to the Corner Office: Uncovering Mom’s Leadership Secrets.”.

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