How to apply and interview for an in-house role

Applying for a promotion or a new in-house role?

Have you thought

  • “Is an in-house interview the same as a regular interview?
  • How should I prepare?
  • Surely they already know me and what I do?”

The First Golden rule for in-house interviews: Don’t assume that they know you!

You may be interviewing or submitting your application to a department that do not know you! Even if they do, in-house interviewers have to judge all candidates on their individual performance so showcase your skills for the role (even if you feel they do already know what you do). There may be both internal and external candidates, so you want to make sure that you leave them with all of the details that they need

After that, the general rules of interview and applications apply:

Demonstrate evidence for the competency. Provide a specific example and tell them about a real situation where you displayed these skills. Even if the person interviewing you was involved, you must explain it from your point of view what your role involved and how you demonstrated the competency.
Use “I” not “we”. When giving your example, be careful not to slip into using ‘We”. Make sure you discuss your role in the task…”I did this….then “I did that” as the interviewer wants to hear your experience. If other colleagues  interviewing also use the term “we did this, we did that” the interviewer will be unable differentiate between the two of you and decide who displays the competency best.

– Find out about the role and utilise your contacts. As you are already in the organisation, you are in the perfect position to speak to colleagues who are already in the role or who have been previously. Ask to meet them for a coffee and find out more about the role – e.g. what do they do in the job on a daily basis? What are the challenges of the role? What type of questions were they asked in the interview?

This way, you might identify an area for further training you might need and be able to find  and enrol on a relevant course. You will be more prepared for interview and show your enthusiasm and knowledge of the role by saying that you have spoken to someone already in the position. And importantly, you can also use this information to decide if the role sounds like it’s even for you!

– Find out who will be interviewing you. You may already know them or work closely with them. It could be a panel, some of whom you do not know. If there is someone that you do not know, find out about them beforehand. This will help you to be more relaxed and prepared when stepping into the interview room, you will know who to expect.

– Review your application. It goes without saying that you will read and re-read your own application before you submit. However, it is always good to get someone else to review for you. Even better, as you are already a part of the organisation, is there a colleague (not someone applying for the same role) that you could ask to review your application? Just speaking with a colleague may jolt your memory of a project with a difficult situation that you had to deal with – great evidence for those competency-based questions!

What if they ask difficult questions??

There are always tricky interview questions, which may become even trickier during an in-house interview when you are sitting in front of your own manager or being asked to comment on your colleagues’ performance. Do as you would do in any other interview :

  • How would you identify if a team member was under performing? What would you do about it?

If you have an example then use it. Don’t mention names but describe a time when you have dealt with a difficult co worker (in a professional manner). You may feel that you are being disloyal to your coworker, however, if you were to get the role and eventually become their manager, you would be expected to evaluate their performance and perhaps engage in difficult conversations as part of your new role. The interviewer will want to see that you have the ability to do this if necessary.

  • What will you do if you do not get this job?

Tell them what they want to hear – be strategic – don’t threaten to leave (even if you do intend to go elsewhere!). Explain that you would welcome feedback to identify areas for improvement to better your chances for next time or other opportunities within the organisation.

You got the job? Congratulations!! If not, request feedback – this can be used to improve your performance for future interviews both in-house, and / or outside of the organisation.

We will work with you to prepare you to  ace your job interview. 

Check out our Interview Preparation YouTube channel for more great job interview tips