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Preparing for the Internal Job Interview

August 10th, 2012

You’ve been working your way up through your company’s marketing department for a while now, and as you’ve transitioned from junior associate to senior, you’ve learned all kinds of new things about the art and science of marketing. You’ve also learned something else interesting: You don’t like marketing. At the same time, during your years with this company, your team has worked closely with the team from product development, and every time you meet with your development counterparts, you gain a deeper respect for what they do. You also happen to know they earn more, enjoy more flexible hours, and have more opportunities for growth within the company.

As it happens, a development position has just opened up, and with the support of your boss you’ve decided to apply. Your interviewer will be a senior manager who knows you well. But you won’t just be walking into the position; the other candidates in line all have degrees and years of experience in the field, while you’ll be relying on your winning personality and your existing track record. What can you do during the interview to make sure the odds are in your favor?

The Internal Job Interview: What to Expect and How to Prepare

1. First and most important, take the interview seriously. Follow your interviewer’s lead in terms of tone (there’s no need to pretend you don’t know her or act like a robot), but err on the side of professionalism. Don’t enter the room in a joking and relaxed state of mind as if the job is already yours. Focus on the competition lined up outside the door, not the friendly face across the table from you.

2. Dress for the part. This is a powerful move that’s often overlooked. Remember the old saying and dress for the job you want, not the one you have. Ditch the everyday work clothes and step it up a notch.

3. Be prepared for challenging questions about your reasons for making a departmental transition. Have more to talk about then just the better pay and hours. If you have a real passion for development, be ready to explain why and have something to bring to the table aside from your own interest.

4. Curb any impulse toward negativity. Focus on what you like about development, not what you dislike about marketing. And it goes without saying, but don’t imply or even suggest anything negative or critical about your current boss, your coworkers, or the company as a whole.

An internal interview resembles a regular interview in some ways, but because your interviewer already knows you, you can actually expect tougher questions and a higher level of scrutiny. Be ready, and make sure you have the tools you need. Your local Connecticut staffing firm, Merritt Staffing, can help. Contact us for tips, guidance, mock interviews, and answers to your most important questions.

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