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10 Internal Interview Questions: [With Sample Answers]

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After a few months or even years, our work within a company speaks for itself, and be it for a promotion or an evaluation, we don’t want to screw up our interview.

We’ve all been there, the date in question approaches and we get nervous by the minute, however, you don’t have to worry.

With proper preparation and even a few practice sessions, we can nail our internal process no matter what the task at hand.

Read on to learn how to better answer your company’s internal interview questions.

10 Common Internal Interview Questions

Whether you want to change departments or move up the career ladder at your company, you will likely have to participate in an internal interview.

  • Why did you decide to apply for this position within the company?
  • Why are you interested in changing to a new position?
  • Would your coworkers recommend you for this role?
  • How would you handle the transition to this new role?
  • Will your ability to perform in your current role be affected if you’re not hired for this job?
  • What’s your greatest success from your time in your current position?
  • What is the first change you would make to the way this position is currently being performed, based on your experience at the company?
  • What sets you apart from other applicants?
  • Can you tell me about a time with the company when you received a special commendation for your work?
  • Have you spoken about the position with your current manager? If so, what did they say?

Remember, even if it’s an informal interview, you’ll want to prepare in advance and have some ideas about how to respond.

What Should I Say in an Internal Interview?

Of all the types of interviews, an internal interview might be the most unusual scenario.

A little practice is okay, but you don’t want to sound like you’re reading a script when you answer questions.

Focus on proactive answers and highlighting your skills and qualities to make a good impression and convey that you’re the right person for the job.

What Skills Are Internal Interviewers Looking for in a Candidate?

Here are some top skills and attributes an interviewer will want to see from an internal candidate.

  • Team Player: Having good relationships with your current and past coworkers and supervisors is a solid indicator that you’re a team player and that you can excel at more than just the position you’re currently holding.
  • Good Communication: Almost any professional job role requires some degree of communication. Communication is a soft skill that you should work hard to demonstrate.
  • Top-Notch Performance: Companies who hire internally rarely only look inward to fill a position. You’ll likely be competing not only with your peers but outside aspiring candidates. If they’re going to hire someone from within the organization, they want an internal candidate with a proven track record of meeting goals and over-delivering in certain instances.
  • Knowledge and Insights: Assuming a new position in a company usually requires different skills than your current position. Having a list of relevant skills prepared before the interview can be helpful.
  • Commitment: If you are seeking to advance your career through an internal role change, internal interviewers want to ensure you are committed to the company’s core values and future goals.

What Traits Are Internal Interviewers Looking To Avoid in a Candidate?

These are traits that interviewers use to identify internal candidates that are not a good choice for an open position.

  • Poor Attitude: Inappropriate clothing, negative words about the company or your team, and an apparent lack of interest can all give the internal interviewer the impression that you don’t care much about the position or the company.
  • Lack of Knowledge: Internal interviewers expect you to know what the position you’re interviewing for is about. It’s completely normal to ask questions, but if they sense you don’t know what this new position requires from you, they can doubt not only your motivation but other skills like your ability to plan.
  • Unclear Motivation: It’s a major red flag if you can’t demonstrate an understanding of the new position or why you think you’re an excellent candidate to take on the role.

Sample Internal Interview Questions and Answers

The questions asked in an interview will heavily depend on the company, open position, and type of interview.

However, we have compiled a list of internal questions, that even if they don’t ask you personally, they’ll serve as a practice on how to answer similar queries and why the interviewers want to know that particular information.

Why Did You Decide to Apply for This Position Within the Company?

Why This Question Is Asked

Interviewers like to use this type of question early on in the internal interview to make the setting familiar, it isn’t a strange question, and it directly asks the candidate the reason why they’re here.

This question is an excellent chance for an internal interviewer to learn about your personality and goals. It’s also a good “icebreaker” style question that quickly leads into more specific internal interview questions.

What To Focus on When Answering This Question

Don’t overcomplicate yourself and straightforwardly answer this. After all, you’re just giving reasons for why you’re at the interview. Explain your motivation for applying to the role.

Frame your answer to highlight how a move into the position would benefit your objectives and further the company’s goals.

What To Avoid When Answering This Question

Don’t be too casual or disinterested when answering this question.

It suggests you aren’t passionate about the company or job role. While it might be a factor, don’t mention money or benefits as a motivation.

Example Answer

“I want to build my career at this company, I believe this position aligns well with the skills I’ve demonstrated in my current position, and it provides me an opportunity to develop some new traits.”

Why Are You Interested in Changing to a New Position?

Why This Question Is Asked

This one is very similar to the previous one, it differs because it is targeted more toward the actual position while the previous one had to do more with personal motivation.

Interviewers use this question to assess what you find interesting about the role. It’s also a chance to learn your feelings about your current position and the company.

What To Focus on When Answering This Question

Focus on the skills you have that the position requires and how your goals for the job will benefit the company.

What To Avoid When Answering This Question

Try to be as specific as possible, you won’t get the role if the interviewer feels you are only taking the job as a temporary position or just for the money.

Example Answer

“I’m interested in the duties of this role and believe I can help the company accomplish [goals] if I’m chosen for the position.”

Would Your Coworkers Recommend You for This Role?

Why This Question Is Asked

It is highly possible an internal interviewer may have already spoken to your coworkers and want to see how your answer compares to theirs.

This question is an excellent chance to understand how you work on a team and your self-perception of your abilities.

What To Focus on When Answering This Question

Focus on being positive about your coworkers and your past experiences. Try to answer with specifics about things you’ve accomplished with the help of others.

What To Avoid When Answering This Question

Don’t voice any negative opinions about yourself. This also isn’t a good time to air any dirty laundry about your current coworkers or supervisors.

Example Answer

“My coworkers would be happy to see me in this position. I enjoy working with my current team, and they’ve helped me develop many of the talents I would use for this new role.”

How Would You Handle the Transition to This New Role?

Why This Question Is Asked

Interviewers may want to be sure you will hit the ground running if the company offers you the new position.

They consider the entire hiring process, including ensuring your current and new positions are set up for success.

It’s also another way to assess your compatibility with the role.

What To Focus on When Answering This Question

Answering this question is a fantastic opportunity to pitch your goals for the job. Frame your response to show how you will help improve the company from day one on the job.

What To Avoid When Answering This Question

You don’t want to come across as unsure or worried about changing environments, so make sure your excitement doesn’t translate to nervousness.

It’s also not advisable to suggest that the transition can be done immediately, after all, it’s a new position and you don’t know all about it.

Example Answer

“I understand that transitioning to a new role may cause some disruptions but I would seek to make the change as straightforward as possible. If I get the job, I want to start contributing to my new team as soon as possible.”

Will Your Ability To Perform in Your Current Role Be Affected if You’re Not Hired for This Job?

Why This Question Is Asked

Interviewers need to know if you intend to continue with the company even if you do not receive the position and especially how you will perform.

A lot of candidates will be disappointed by not getting the new role, internal interviews want to know how this will impact their workflow and attitude.

What To Focus on When Answering This Question

Emphasize how you’re trying the new position only because you think that would be best for the company, and let them know that even if you’re not hired, you’ll keep the same attitude.

If you plan to leave the company if you don’t get the job, professionally tell the interviewer. It may work as extra leverage for getting the position.

What To Avoid When Answering This Question

Don’t complain or threaten to purposely underperform if the company doesn’t give you the job.

Also, don’t act arrogant or overconfident about your chances of getting the role.

Example Answer

“I’m excited about this new role but understand the company may go in a different direction. However, my commitment it’s with the company, and what the best direction is for all of us.”

What’s Your Greatest Success From Your Time in Your Current Position?

Why This Question Is Asked

As with any job interview, Interviewers want to find the best person for the job, and thus, will seek what your peak was at your past role to see how those achievements could translate to the new position.

What To Focus on When Answering This Question

Provide quantifiable evidence from a recent event in your current job. Use this question to show how your past experiences have shaped your ability to perform in the new position.

This question lets you highlight all of your best attributes, and discuss your most significant strengths to the new position.

What To Avoid When Answering This Question

You don’t want to provide vague answers unrelated to the new position. It’s easy to get long-winded while answering this question, but try to keep the response concise and information-driven.

Example Answer

“My greatest recent success was assessing and redesigning the SOP for my team. Once we implemented it, our project tasks were being completed 25% faster than before.”

What Is the First Change You Would Make to the Way This Position Is Currently Being Performed, Based on Your Experience at the Company?

Why This Question Is Asked

Interviewers want to know that you can quickly take positive action in your new role and especially how well you know the position you’re applying for.

Candidates that don’t do their homework and learn about the new position won’t have the ability to give precise answers on the changes to make.

What To Focus on When Answering This Question

Focus on clearly defined goals and actions that you will implement if you get the role.

Focusing on changes that include working with your new team and understanding the company’s needs is a good idea. This question lets you discuss specifics and show that you already know what the role requires.

What To Avoid When Answering This Question

You should avoid discussing long-term goals or personal ambitions, even if they relate to the position. Your answer shouldn’t be too vague, as that might suggest you don’t understand the job role well.

Example Answer

“I understand this position plays an important role in the company’s success. If I am offered the role, I would start by gaining insights from my new team members and changing [specific process/goal] move forward to help the company.”

What Sets You Apart From Other Applicants?

Why This Question Is Asked

This question is common when interviewers look at other internal and external candidates. Internal interviewers have a tough job of assessing and ranking applicants.

This question helps you show the skills or talents that make you uniquely suited to the position over others.

What To Focus on When Answering This Question

Mention any skills or experience directly related to the new position. Listing hard and soft skills is a fantastic idea to show you are a well-rounded candidate.

What To Avoid When Answering This Question

You want to avoid answering this question by putting other applicants down, especially if there are other internal candidates that you may have to work with in the future. Stay positive and talk about your strengths.

Example Answer

“I feel that my combination of skills and experience make me uniquely suited to the role. For the past three years, I have consistently exceeded my performance goals and continued to develop the skills that this important job role requires.”

Can You Tell Me About a Time With the Company Where You Received a Special Commendation for Your Work?

Why This Question Is Asked

Interviewers want to know about your most significant achievements, but those can also be personal.

This question makes sure you talk about achievements the company recognizes and if recognition is a big motivator for you.

What To Focus on When Answering This Question

This one is pretty simple, talk about a recent recognition you received. It’s fantastic to highlight how the task that earned you an award helped the company.

It is also good to mention skills you used or team members who helped you.

What To Avoid When Answering This Question

You don’t want to come across as arrogant or ungrateful for the recognition. If awards aren’t a big motivator, you should still clarify that you appreciated the sentiment.

Example Answer

“As a team leader, it was my responsibility to ensure my team met our goals for the third quarter last year.

After a busy few months in which my team came together and worked hard to exceed expectations, I received a special recognition.

I was honored to receive the award as I worked hard to improve my leadership skills and my team supported me throughout that time.”

Have You Spoken About the Position With Your Current Manager? If So, What Did They Say?

Why This Question Is Asked

Interviewers want to ensure your manager is aware of the possibility of you leaving your current position, but also if you’re someone who communicates their ambitions and projects with other people within the company, especially superiors.

This question is a combination of ensuring you’re keeping your current supervisor in the loop and that a possible transition will be well-handled.

What To Focus on When Answering This Question

Answer honestly whether your supervisor is aware of your interest in changing positions and what they think about the idea.

What To Avoid When Answering This Question

It would be best if you didn’t lie or attempt to obscure the truth. Whether your supervisor is in favor of or against your changing positions, everybody needs to be on the same page.

Example Answer

“I have spoken to my current supervisor. They are concerned about me leaving my current position but understand this situation and support my desire to help the company in a challenging new position.”

Other Questions You Could Be Asked

If you feel unsure about how to answer the previous internal questions, you may want to prepare for other similar interview questions, consider these and learn how to best answer them.

Additional Tips for Internal Interviews

Here are a few more tips for achieving success at an internal interview.

How Do You Prepare for an Internal Interview?

Preparing for an internal interview requires more than just practicing internal interview questions.

  • Research the position, including duties, required skills, and other relevant information.
  • Talk to your current manager before the interview.
  • Prepare documentation to show your past accomplishments.

What Should You Wear to an Internal Interview?

If you have a meeting scheduled to discuss an open internal position, it might feel like an informal interview, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still try to dress to impress.

A suit is the standard advice, but your situation may differ if your company has a defined dress code.

How Should You Introduce Yourself in an Internal Interview?

As the saying goes: The first impression is a lasting one. If you’re going to an internal interview, here are a few tips for introducing yourself.

  • Don’t be too personal or speak too casually.
  • Highlight your skills and experience.
  • Explain why you’re applying.

What Questions Should You Ask at the End of an Internal Interview?

A good interviewer will allow you to ask a few questions during the interview process.

This is a great time to learn valuable information, but it’s essential to recognize that internal interviewers will also judge your worth based on your questions.

Good questions include:

  • What would the transition into this role look like if I’m successful?
  • What is the timeline for choosing a candidate for this role?
  • Would any professional development resources be available to me in this new position?

Wrapping Up

Internal interview questions can feel even more intimidating than when you’re outside of the company.

You already have a reputation and there’s always fear of losing what you have achieved.

With that said, doing the proper research into the most common questions and the best way to answer them is where everybody should start.

Understanding not only how to answer them, but the reason they’re being asked comes a long way from just hoping it all goes well.

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