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How to Research for Success with Internal

By Debra Wheatman

If you are looking for a new job inside your current employer's organization, don't assume getting that new job will be easy. You are competing against the best external applicants, many of whom have experience doing the job to which you aspire.

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Some of the external applicants will have direct experience with the company's competition or clients. It's crucial that you demonstrate your knowledge of your employer's organization and its markets.

If you are complacent and overly-assured of your knowledge, it will hurt you.

One thing that you can be assured is an outside candidate will have the advantage of a fresh perspective. On top of that, if they are well-prepared for the interview, they will be quite a threat. Don't give away your advantage!

You may not have the outsider's fresh perspective, but you have access to perform better research. Using your insider's knowledge of company politics and systems, you can bring greater value by assessing the company's needs and potential and presenting strategies.

Your research strategy:

1.) Get the basic information.

Review the company website. Obtain a copy of the job description and company policy manual from the Human Resources Department. If available, review recent annual reports, business plans, and marketing plans.

2.) Talk to co-workers.

Look outside your immediate group to be sure to include those in the department you are targeting and also staff members who interface with the position that you seek.

Ask about the role. In particular, you want to understand why this position is so critical to the success of the department and the company.

  • What operations, positions, or clients does this position serve?
  • What are recent successes and challenges of the target department?
  • Are there changes on the horizon, such as new products, clients, transitions to new software, relocations, etc.?
  • What has been the performance of the department (or position) over recent years?

3.) Talk to customers.

When you are interacting with clients/customers, pay attention to what they share about their needs, what they like about the company's products or services.  Look for industry insights.

4.) Research outside the office.

Just as you would for any position, conduct online research to compile comprehensive information about the marketplace, competition, regulatory changes, environmental issues, current affairs that may impact business, and current/prospective clients.

Analyze all of the above information. Determine how in the target role, you can improve performance, leverage opportunities, mitigate risks, and optimize department operations. You have the advantage of knowing what the company values. You may even know the interviewer personally. Now you can tie it all together.

Bottom Line

Like any other interview, use your knowledge and analysis to answer questions with detail. Furthermore, when appropriate you may respectfully offer a suggestion of how you would tackle particular issues or tasks if you were in the position.

For More Information:

Following the above advice, you should have an over-whelming advantage over the competition. For more information on researching a company, review these articles Collecting Company Intelligence: On a Need-to-Know Basis and 4 Steps to Small Business Research and the other articles in the "More About Company Research" column above on the right.


About the author...

Debra Wheatman is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Certified Professional Career Coach (CPCC). She is globally recognized as an expert in advanced career search techniques with more than 18 years' corporate human resource experience. Debra has been featured on Fox Business News, WNYW with Brian Lehrer, and quoted in leading publications, including Forbes.com, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and CNBC. Debra may be reached at debra@careersdonewrite.com, or you may visit her website at CareersDoneWrite.com. You can also circle her on Google+.


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