An internal job interview is an interview for a role within the company where you are currently employed. There are several companies that prefer to make vacancies available its own employees first.

Current employees are given the preference to be promoted.  New blood is therefore recruited for lower level roles. This approach can help boost employee morale.

If this is your company’s standard mode of operation and you are interested in moving up the ranks, identify one or two persons who can shadow your role. This will make it easier for you to move to another role if there is someone who can do your current job.

Let’s take a closer look at several areas which you should master to ace your internal job interview.

Internal Job Interview Preparation

Internal job interviews can be more comfortable and informal as you may already know the interview panel.  Despite this advantage, preparation is still essential.

Research the role

Reach out to team members who may be familiar with the role and ask for pointers in preparation for the interview.

Find internal process guides or internal documents which you can review. These should deepen your understanding of the role.

Research the business

Despite being an internal candidate, consider doing a review of the company’s website, press releases and current projects.

You will be judged more severely than an external candidate if there are parts of the business that comes up in the discussion that you do not know.

Research the interviewer

Due to the nature of the interview, you will have knowledge of who your interview will be held with. 

In the event that you do not work in the same location as the interviewer, then do your background check. Reach out to colleagues who may be able to assist your preparation in this area.

Prepare questions to ask the panel

Reflect and craft questions that you can ask the interviewer or the panel.

Note that the panel will expect you to ask questions that are specific as you have insider knowledge of the business.

I have written an article on questions that you can ask an interviewer. This may be useful for this aspect of your preparation. However, with your knowledge of the business strive to have more tailored questions to the organisation.

Complete a mock interview

Prepare by completing a mock interview to ensure that you are fired up to answer your interview questions.

Enlist the support friends and family members to practice. Rehearse your responses as well in front of the mirror. This will sharpen you up for the big day.

Internal Job Interview Dresscode

Ensure and dress as you would in any form of interview.  Per chance if the dress code of your organisation is more relaxed, then formalise your dressing as you would if you were meeting the employer for the first time.

Internal Job Interview Questions

You should prepare for a mixture of questions about your current role and the specific role that you are interviewing for.

Hereunder are some examples of these:

Internal Interview Questions (Current Role)

  • Tell me about yourself?
  • Tell me more about your current role?
  • If you had to recommend one change in your current role, what would it be and why?
  • What are your strengths?
  • Why do you want to leave your current role?

Internal Interview Questions (Vacant Role)

  • Why are you interested in this role?
  • From your research of the role and knowledge of the business, how do you see yourself adding value to this role?
  • What immediate steps would you take to improve the performance of (an aspect related to vacant role)
  • Where do you see yourself professionally in the next 3 to 5 years?
  • Describe a project that you have managed end to end.
  • Give me an example of a project/ task that you had to achieve under tight deadlines? Were you able to achieve the deadline? What strategies did you put in place to hit achieve this goal.
  • Give me an example of a task/project that you failed at or quit. What mistakes did you make? What were the lessons learnt? Is there action that you would never repeat again?
  • Describe a situation where you disagreed with your manager on a major decision. Explain how you dealt with this incident.

Internal Job Interview Tips

From an etiquette perspective, inform your immediate manager of your plans to apply for an internal vacancy. Obtaining information from a third party that you have applied for an internal role could sour your relationship with your boss.

Furthermore, there is no guarantee that you will get the new role so you need to maintain the quality of your relationship with your immediate manager.

In addition, do confirm the medium to conduct the interview.  If the hiring business is in another area, then the interview may be held over the phone or via Skype.

Alternatively, if the interview is out of town or in another country, then you may need to travel to attend the job interview.

Confirming the medium or the location will help you to be better prepared. As an example travelling for an interview has implications on other important factors that you should consider.

Prepare your elevator pitch as you would do for any other job interview. Your elevator pitch should succinctly sum up who you are and what you do. Remember to follow up on the recruitment as you will do with a new potential employer.

Internal Job Interview Thank You Email

Sending a thank you email is your final opportunity to make a last impression with the interviewer.

It also gives you an opportunity to re-state why you are an excellent candidate for the role. 

A thank you email has the greatest impact when your meeting is fresh in the interviewer’s mind. Therefore, make every effort to send this within 24 hours of the interview.

Hereunder is a sample thank you email that you can use after your internal interview.

Subject: Job Title (Interview on (insert date))

Dear (Mr/Ms. Last Name),

Thank you for the opportunity to discuss the role of (job title).

The information that you shared on the roll out of the new product line is intriguing. I believe with my current skills and experience in the business, I will be able to make an immediate contribution to this project.

I am passionate about growing and contributing more to the business as it expands into new ventures. This role will allow me to accomplish this.

I thank you for your kind consideration. Feel free to contact me should you require any further details or clarification.

I look forward to hearing from you soon on the next steps.

Yours faithfully,


Ms. Jane Doe

Phone Number

LinkedIn URL

There are other articles on this blog that can help you as you prepare for your job interview. Feel free to click on the links below to explore:-

35 Important Things To Do Before, During and After A Job Interview

21 Top Tips and Tricks For Successful Job Interviews

How To Use The Star Interview Technique To Ace Your Job Interview

11 Essential Questions To Ask A Job Interviewer

How To Pass A Written Job Interview

Final Thoughts

Opportunities to be promoted are always exciting so it is critical to prepare for an internal job interview as you would with a brand new company. Hope that the information in this article helps you ace your next internal job interview.

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How To Ace An Internal Job Interview


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